I quickly pat my pockets. Then look up in horror.
No. Oh god no.
I feel a surge of adrenaline. Panic sets in.
My camera. It’s gone.
It is circa 2010. And I’ve just gotten off the skytrain in Vancouver. My friends and I are on our way to watch…..the motha fucking Olympics. And somehow. My camera was left behind. On the very train that is now making a B-line down the track. Like a bat outta hell.
Wait a minute.
This is the last stop. Which means the train I was JUST on should be heading in the other direction….mere seconds from now.
I dash over to the opposite side of the station. And what do you know. The bitch is pulling up.
I was in the very last car on the way here. Which means….fuck….what does it mean? The train hits the end of the line, then reverses.
With any luck, my camera should be….in the first car.
The train comes to a complete stop. The doors open. And I sprint into the car like a mad woman.
And there, sitting on the floor, is my camera.
I grab hold of it, not sure whether to scold it, or embrace it….like a child who’s wandered away.
Oh thank god.
What a relief.
The push towards life’s biggest milestones
It is moments like this one, that make you realize…..just how quickly you can take action, when need be.
Typically….we la-di-da our way through decisions.
But when we NEED decisiveness? It’s there for us.
And THIS? Is what plagues us during adulthood.
Because SO MUCH of our lives up until we’re “grown ups” is time sensitive. Getting a degree. Getting a job. Getting married. Having kids.
These are all things that weigh on us. Like a big ominous check-list…..with a socially prescribed “best before” date.
When you’re dating it’s…..when are you getting married?
When you’re married it’s…..when are you having kids?
And at some point, you do all the things. And then low and behold. No one is asking you any more questions.
And if I had to guess…..I’d say….THAT is the moment. The point in life, when many people become dangerously unhappy.
Hell, I became dangerously unhappy.
Because all of a sudden, we are no longer being called upon to “get ‘er done.”
You’ve “made it.”
And that feeling? Will either make you want to kick your feet up, and sink into the la-z-boy of life. OR, it will force you to dig deep, and reach for more.
Feeling “stuck” at the top of the mountain
But the tricky part is? So many of us feel backed into a corner, at this stage of life.
I can’t possibly quit my ho-hum job in order to follow my passion. I’ve got a mortgage to pay. And children to feed.
We trap ourselves in our own excuses. And we tell ourselves….this is the end game. I can’t possibly jump ship.
And so, we try to convince ourselves….I’m happy. This is happiness. I should be happy. Be. Happy.
But I think deep down, all of us desire growth.
And in order to feel fulfilled, we need to keep peeling back the layers of who we are, and take a peak at our own untapped potential.
I think we feel this sense of….obligation…..to be who we said we were….5 years ago, 1 year ago, 10 minutes ago.
And yet. That is the very thing that prevents us from evolving into ourselves.
The lies we tell ourselves…..“I can’t possibly….”
There are days when I look at my kids and wonder…..what would life be like, if I had made a different decision? What if I chose not to have kids?
Are they holding me back from my dreams? Are they tying me down?
And although, there are moments that I resent my role as a mother (oh the demands)…..I have now discovered that my kids? Are the GREATEST source of INSPIRATION for my own growth.
And any stories I have about….."I can’t possibly…..I have kids….” is an excuse. An excuse to keep playing small. And to avoid the discomfort of change.
One of the BIGGEST red flags for me, in the dating world? The guy who complains about how much he hates his job.
(That, and the guy who says he’s obsessed with “Call of Duty.” You’re 37!? Really?!?)
Because this guy? The job hater? Is playing the victim.
And if you hate your job? You shouldn’t be DOING that job. Quit. Do something else. Make a change.
I look at my kiddos, who literally jump into discomfort all the damn time (see “source of inspiration comment above”), and I wonder how adults become so…..averse to it.
My kids beat me into the water, every damn time, when we go to the beach. There I am. Slowly wading in, one inch a time, cringing at the coolness….as they run in, full tilt, creating fire-works with their careless splashing. They count me down….”come on, mom!! 5,4,3,2….”
And forget about over-committing to an identity. Last week? My daughter Clara devoured a plate full of broccoli. Literally a plate full. Today? “I don’t like broccoli.”
Life does not get better by chance
The next level of your life? Always demands a different version of you. But at some point, when it seems as though all the levels have been conquered? We need to start getting creative, and demanding more of ourselves.
We need to start inventing our own levels. And defining our own version of success.
We need to remind ourselves that life does not get better by chance. And that change is not as impossible as we make it out to be.
Uncomfortable? Yes. Impossible? No.
Even for us adults, who “have it all.”