I’m currently having a crisis that is a first world problem at it’s very finest. I’m sharing my conundrum with you because I’m curious to know if others ever feel this way.. My current life crisis is exactly this: life’s too easy.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my life and I enjoy it. However I have this unsettling feeling, it lingers in the pit of my stomach and is always lurking in the back of my mind. It’s the unsettling, uneasy feeling that life is simply passing me by. This year in particular is going so fast, I feel like I blink and a whole week has passed. I’ve found myself in a lovely cycle of work, play, coffee dates, friends and all those lovely things. You may be confused, believe me, I am too. Why is it that I am losing sleep over? I was recently having a good old think and finally the penny dropped.
It’s because of that one seemingly innocent word. Easy.
- achieved without great effort; presenting few difficulties.
My life is too easy. Shouldn’t I be happy about that, glad to be worry free and just get on and enjoy myself? You’d think so wouldn’t you? Only my brain doesn’t work quite like that. I’m feeling very uneasy about my easy life. My work is enjoyable but unchallenging, I could do it with my eyes closed. I spend my spare time doing fun recreational activities by myself, with friends and lovers. It’s all very nice but there’s something missing.
- a task or situation that tests someone’s abilities.
- a call to prove or justify something.
Challenge is the thing missing from my life. There is currently nothing in my life that is challenging for me and I don’t like it one bit. I need challenge in my life to make me feel alive, to stoke the fire in my belly. My most cherished memories are always of the times I truly challenged my own mental and physical abilities. I looked adversity in the face and I conquered my fears, demons and my own self limiting beliefs. I set out to do things I that I wasn’t sure I were even possible for me to achieve. Each time I surpassed my own expectations, rode the highs and gritted my teeth and battled through the lows. I truly love to test myself, push my limits, do things that scare me, experience heightened emotions and see what I can achieve. It makes me feel so goddamn alive.
I’ll share with you my two most favourite memories from the last few years;
- My absolute favourite memory from my time at university was when I challenged myself to the Bogle. A 55 mile journey in which I hiked the first 29 miles with my hiking club buddies, then waved goodbye as I ran the last 26 miles alone. I definitely had low moments like the time I phoned my dad telling him I couldn’t run another step and his advice was, ‘Errr… just keep running!’ I seem to have forgotten most of the hard times as I mostly remember feeling like a total badass as I ran the cold, wet, dark streets of Manchester alone, with a bag full of motivational snickers and an iPod full of cheesy tunes!
- Offa’s Dyke – I really needed this challenge. I had spent a few months feeling as useful as a chocolate teapot after my shoulder operation and I was bursting at the seams with energy after my time spent being very motionless. If you know me in real life you’ll know I’m not really one for sitting still. I’d never camped alone nor been backpacking before so I can safely say that I was utterly shitting my pants in the days preceding my trip, and super excited of course. I had the best time and I felt a huge personal accomplishment as I walked down the high street of Prestatyn at the other end. I didn’t even stop to collect my certificate as I knew I would never forget my first adventure.
The reason these memories and may others are so special to me is because I truly didn’t know whether I was capable of completing the challenges. I remember being very excited before any challenge but also shit scared of all of my preconceived fears about life. Since I’ve become somewhat of an adventurous person I can truly say that most of our fears of the world are completely unfounded. I’ve dispelled many of my own myths about the world in the last couple of years and I have come to realise that the world is a good place filled with great people. Most of our (my) biggest fears are of other people. The first few nights camping alone I got very little sleep as I was convinced I was going to be raped and bludgeoned in the night. I have since come to realise that this is a totally irrational fear and now I can sleep soundly in my sleeping bag.
Most (all) of my biggest challenges I have faced alone. I think that is quite significant for me because I tend to push myself a lot harder and further when I am alone than when I am with company. If I am having a hard time I allow myself a pity party for a maximum of 10 minutes then I literally smack myself around my face and tell myself to get a grip! I have a little chat with myself and remind myself that I have chosen to be in said situation and I ask myself if I’d rather go home and my answer is always a big fat ‘NO!’ I find that if other people are involved in my challenges and I vocalise my sufferings they can often take pity and tell me I don’t have to do the hard thing that I set out to achieve. I need to be in the presence of people that hold me to high standards. People who know what I am capable of and won’t accept anything less from me. For example when I ran the Greater Manchester Marathon with my friend, I was running, crying (yes!) and so cold and wet that I was so sure I would get hypothermia. I told my friend my plans to quit at the next aid station. He entertained my moaning for a little while and then when he had heard quite enough he simply turned around and said, ‘Fucking shut up and run.’ You might think that was harsh but it was exactly what I needed. It snapped me out of my moaning and self pitying and we ran to the finish. He also peed on me but that was an accident. Apparently.
I really need another challenge in my life to get excited about. I need something to put the sparkle back in my eyes and a rosy glow on my cheeks. I want a challenge that will make me feel the highest highs and the lowest lows. I need to try new things, do things that scare me a little and challenge my body and mind. Something that isn’t easy. I never value the things that come easily to me as much as those that take work, patience and determination. The things that are seemingly unobtainable are the things I treasure the most when they finally come into my grasp. I need to leap outside of my comfort zone in order to grow as an individual. Outside of our comfort zone is where the magic happens, isn’t that what ‘they’ say? I want to explore the world, meet new people and satiate my curiosity. Just for a while at least. Curiosity is the thing that keeps us young isn’t it?
So what will I do..? What will my next challenge be? I have been so inspired by the adventures of Elise Downing – Run the Coast and Anna McNuff recently. I’ve been living vicariously through Elise’s adventures since last November and I don’t quite know what I’ll do with myself once she finishes her adventure in the next couple of weeks. I guess I’ll have to go out adventuring for myself! I am currently toying with a few adventure ideas, I’ll be sure to let you know once I’ve made up my mind.I’m thinking of starting with a small adventure, and dreaming of an adventure of epic proportions. Even the beginning stages of planning an adventure are easing my sense of melancholy over my easy life.
Questions for you…
- Are you planning any adventures (big or small)?
- When have you achieved something you weren’t sure was possible?
- What has been your favourite adventure?