Being caught in the rinse and repeat demands of life – work, school, commutes, activities, housework, homework and the nitty gritty details that pull it all together – too often, at the end of it all, I went to bed wondering where the hell did the day go?! On the daily, I used to spend hours in turtle-paced traffic jams commuting to and from work to rushing to pick up the girls’ from school to chauffeuring to sports, dance classes, and school events to homework, dinner, laundry, producing a clean apartment, to finishing tasks left over from work to emails, phone calls, and just catching up with life. Yes, it’s a run-on sentence almost equally exhausting to write and that’s with leaving out a whole bunch of stuff and my husband who partakes in the action.
Quite simply, it seemed I was running an infinite marathon and had not mastered the techniques to keep me from running out of air. I was aware that this unbalanced hustle, where I doled out more of myself than I took in, was not mentally sustainable and definitely not the right combination of ingredients for a purposeful life, yet it still took me a while to spring free from it.
As draining as it was day in and day out, I came to realize that I was comfortable with the way my life was set-up. Did I like it? No, but comfort zones, while not always the enemy, can become weights holding you hostage in an unfulfilling place.
Shortage of Purpose and Joy
In my particular zone, my twenty-four hours escaped me because they were not infused with purpose and joy. They were filled with the stuff that I had to do and not enough of the things I wanted to do. In truth, I really did not have to do any of those things. However, I had leaned into both my doubts and the noise regarding what success should look like for me rather than following what I wanted to do in life: wake up to work I love, dive into my passions, walk towards my dreams, enjoy my children sans exhaustion, and slow down in the moment without rushing to finish the next thing. Instead, I chose unhappiness in my corporate career and chugged along, despite being uninterested in continuing my ascension up that ladder, because of the lifestyle it afforded me. I adapted to parenting through exhaustion because my daughters meant the world to me. I became accustomed to half-showing up to my relationships with half-myself for the sake of being there. I kept spinning in this cycle with limited room for myself because I learned to master survival mode. But it was not the narrative I wanted for my life. Tired of this watered-down version, I decided to dismantle my comfort zone.
‘You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.’Roy T. Bennett
In lieu of orchestrating a complete upheaval of my life, as the first step towards crafting the vision I had for my life, I chose to make room for self-love and include myself in my daily schedule. With a glass of whiskey with three ice cubes and the sun piercing through the condensation on my window, I sat down and made a list of the things that bring me joy.
I stopped at the first ten things that came to my mind so that I could start with a manageable amount to introduce into my purpose-deprived groove. I made short notes on why I loved it or how it made me feel to go with each item. I also scheduled them as non-cancellable appointments in my planner. In a short amount of time, my days started to feel longer and not a monotonous rhythm of stuff. I felt lighter and actively present in life not merely wading through it. Ultimately, this simple act of self-love became the foundation from which I gained the courage to step out of my comfort zone. It helped me take hold of my own well-being and happiness and enabled me to pivot to carving an intentional life.
What About You?
Have you ever felt like your days escape you? What do you do to sprinkle yourself with love?
Grab your journal and write ten things (or more!) that you love – don’t think too much about it. Just write! See what you come up with and how you can incorporate those things into your life. You can begin slowly – it doesn’t matter, as long as you start ❤️