I read a quote recently that said “to mature is to go on changing endlessly”. I easily see that maturation process happening in my sons lives. Eventually they will reach a stage where they are considered ‘mature’. So does that imply that they no longer need to ‘go on changing endlessly?” Rhetorical question.
I think when we grow through our teen years, we are acquiring new skills at an incredible rate. In the next stage we settle into acquiring only the necessary skills to get by. In the stage that follows that, we actually resist acquiring skills. We get comfortable and capable in our own environment.
Most people, around 50 years old, start to recognize a vague ennui that starts as a slow eruption from the core of your soul. Easy to ignore at first. Maybe not so easy to ignore as the years roll by. It becomes a fairly urgent call, and eventually requires that you take some action. But what action do we take? What to do with this mellifluous murmur from your heart.
When you feel your life has lost its vibrancy.
When you have nothing to challenge you.
When the things that do challenge you are distasteful.
When you have not felt the exhilaration of taking on a challenge and growing as a result of that challenge.
When the days roll by without real engagement. Just a repetitive day-to-day mediocrity.
That feels just okay but there is no excitement, nothing new, nothing that creates growth and vibrancy.
Trying new things each day was the start of an amazing journey out of my comfort zone. Every day for a year, I was committed to trying something new. Big or small. Fast forward five years and I am no longer working, I am travelling extensively and I am feeling the absolute vibrancy in my own life. The small things led to bigger things and the confidence that comes from trying and succeeding at the new things can be exhilarating and self-propagating.
I, who have carefully planned every minute of my life, am travelling with an open agenda. So I can enjoy the places that call me and move with the people who inspire me.
On this trip I have been to England, Croatia, Bali, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam….so far. When I leave Vietnam, I will go to the islands off the coast of Thailand, I think.
It seems though, that I am not alone in this desire to taste what the world has to offer. There are numerous amazing, vibrant women out here travelling, many solo, some with a friend, but all of them responding to the call of something that might wake up their soul. Travel could be a catalyst to move into the next stage of our growth. (There are other ways to make this happen but travel was the choice of these women.)
And we seem to find each other easily and everywhere. I have met amazing women in the place I stayed in Bali (Australian and Canadian living in China)…. on the flight from Bangkok to Cambodia (Canadian)….. on a Floating Market tour in Bangkok (Brazilian) and more. Maybe because we are older and maybe more vulnerable as solo travelers, we remain open and ‘real’, with none of the accoutrements of our life to date, that identify or classify us. Relationships are stripped of all the posturing and they become intensely rewarding connections with people who live the same but different lives.
It is life changing and rewarding.
Exciting and real.
P.S. An inspiring addendum. Don’t miss this.
It would be unforgivable not to mention a group of Yorkshire (U.K.) men, about my son’s ages, who inspired me to reach past my limitations on this trip also. At Angkor Thom in Cambodia, I was climbing the temple and had reached the final level. I wished to go to the top, but was quite intimidated by the fact that the stairs were very narrow and slanted and there was nobody going there. I handed my camera to one of the boys and asked him to take a photo for me at the level we were on. He invited me to come to the top with them and take the photo there. In a spontaneous moment (that ignored the limits of my health insurance), I started to climb. And I have the photos to prove it!
It was an inspirational moment where I clearly limited myself and then went past that limit. Afterwards, I thanked them for inviting me along and going past my own fears. And the tatted 20 year old from Yorkshire said to me….”you should do something like that every day”. Amazing.