“…by stretching yourself beyond your perceived level of confidence you accelerate your development of competence.” – Michael J. Gelb
I remember wanting a small scale revolution for my grandmother, inside the red brick rambler we called home. I wanted her to be a rebel. I wanted her to take on something outside of the house, outside of the norm and just say, “I am bucking the order of things and I want to do this one thing without permission.” I know now why I wanted that for her, because I constantly want that for myself.
There is something within me that cannot accept a life that is routine and predictable. Something about that feels unnatural and suffocating to the soul. I remember a day way before I believed I would be a mother. Before I believed I would be without my brother (physically). Before I knew that I would be an Aunt. My earliest memory of restlessness is bookended by the memory of wanting a rebellion for my grandmother and wanting more for myself. That day I was sitting on the plastic covered couch in the living-room sweating out my curls, I forget my exact age. The memory brings back feelings of wanting more but not knowing what more meant or how to approach it.
That is how I feel right now, at this very moment (5/27/16 @ 12:25 pm). There have been times in-between the years that I felt this same exact way and what did I do? Well, I did SOMETHING. Restlessness for me is a call for action. A much needed shake-up from the routine. The past experiences have served me well, so why not pull from the past to push myself out of my present state of restlessness? The last time I felt this way, I quit my job. Fortunately, this time around I don’t think that’s necessary. What is necessary at this point is: New Experiences.
Seeking out new experiences have a way of stretching my personal boundaries in an uncomfortable but a “I’m in charge” kind of way. It gives me the wherewithal to rise up when unexpected changes happen in my life. Leaving routine behind if only for a day, warms me up to taking on larger risks and builds my muscle for those unexpected life changes too.
Sometimes all it takes is changing my route to work. Other times may call for an all day yogathon. Then there are times when charity works. The goal is to find a rhythm that your life can dance to, one that works best for you without sacrificing your truth. For you it maybe be a little yoga here, a staycation there, a 30-minute hike, but whatever it is take a chance and shake it up!
I would like to share some real life examples of how I have shaken up my life on various levels and how you can to, push yourself out of restlessness for the sake of living out loud.
Small scale shake-up: Experience a different culture.
My daughter and I do mother-daughter date nights. One date-night she suggested Ethiopian food. I thought, now that’s something different. We found a great little storefront restaurant where we shared a dish and experienced authentic Ethiopian food. This experience was great, the service was top notch, the food was great *especially the fish*!
I encourage you to will yourself out of your comfort zone by taking a bite to eat in a different culture, even if it’s just going in for an appetizer.
Mid-scale shake-up: Do something alone.
Although I am quite comfortable doing things alone there were things that I never would even think about doing alone, like going to the movies or dining out alone. The first time I went to the movies alone was an awkward experience. I wondered, what people would think, what will I say if I saw somebody I knew, and if I should wear a disguise? I caused myself anxiety over this but even still, I went. This experience I have to admit thinking back on it was equivalent to zip lining, once I let go and began my descent, I thought, “I worked myself up for this?” I had more anxiety in the approach then in the doing!
I encourage solitude, a time to focus and spend time catering to your own needs. No matter how that looks to you.
High scale shake-up: Express Yourself.
This brings to mind my first creative writing class in which we were instructed to bring in a short piece of writing. I shared a personal essay about my grandmother, it was raw and it was bold. Having never shared my writing with anyone outside of my family at the time, it felt safe enough in the class to share and be vulnerable in my writing.
I encourage you to be vulnerable and bold in life. Express yourself through your art.