There’s this nagging question that’s been coming up over and over again in my head lately. What do I really want? For years, I’ve been following this meticulously carved path that I created myself. Start my own business, check. Make money, check. Buy a house, check. Do all of these other various “important” things, check. But is it what I really want? Maybe. Maybe not. I know this all sounds pretty vague and possibly dramatic (ha), but change is inevitable in this little thing called life. For all of us. I mean, don’t get me wrong … I absolutely LOVE my job and am grateful that I get to help other creatives tell their own unique stories. But sometimes, the very path that I carefully laid out myself, and the push for “success,” wears me out a little too much. And that’s the part that has me looking around + longing for some sort of shift.
In January, I told myself that this year was going to be different. Truthfully, I was ready to just be. To embrace the little things that make me unique instead of molding myself into somebody I’m not. Then, at just the right time, I discovered the motto “good for you, not for me” in Amy Poehler’s new book and thought to myself “YES PLEASE.” It became clear that in order to just be, I needed to do the very thing that scared me the most: slow down. For the past year, back pain dictated what I could and could not do. Most days, I wasn’t able to work for more than 30 minutes without feeling a terrible surge shoot down from my neck to my upper back. I feared that slowing my pace would set my business back, so I kept going. But that was a dumb idea. Turns out, working through pain is definitely not sustainable.
So I slowed down. At first, it was the worst. Social media was constantly showing me the cool things others were doing. Person A was collaborating with so and so. Person B was moving into a cool studio downtown. Person C was traveling the globe and getting paid to do it. In our highly visual world, it’s easy to feel as if we need to do all of the things. But we don’t. I found myself repeating the motto “good for you, not for me” and continued to focus on slowing down. And it felt amazing!! Being yourself is the best medicine.
In my extra time, I’ve started practicing yoga everyday. I feel more awake, creatively driven, and most importantly — healthy, both physically and mentally. I’ve realized that success, to me, is inner peace. It comes from staying true to who you are and what you love. It’s natural, beautiful, and very much contagious. I have a long way to go and some bad habits to break, but if slowing down has taught me one thing, it’s that doing is easy and being is hard. I think I’ll let the latter be my guide.
We all have goals. And dreams. And places we want to see. There’s the people we want to meet. The life we want to live. And the plans we have to make it all happen. But time after time, many of us find excuses or get stuck in comfortable routines, so much so that our intricate plans are set aside for another day. Or no day at all. Sadly, this is the way many of us live, myself included. Three months ago, I was faced with terrible back pain, piles of stress, and the harsh realization that my work driven lifestyle was taking a toll on my body. All at once, it became painfully clear that I couldn’t keep up with my own self defined pace for much longer.
It was obvious that some sort of change needed to happen, but alas, old habits die hard. As most would, I asked myself many “what if” questions. What if I took on less work? What if I bought a spur of the moment plane ticket to Hawaii and just relaxed for 7 straight days? What if I ate healthier? Each question was promptly answered with some sort of excuse and simply forgotten about the next day. The idea of change, however, kept coming back to me and weighed heavily on my mind ( and my back ) for some time. So finally, I decided to break routine. Because really, if something isn’t working … maybe it’s time to try a different approach.