Notes on Having Something to Look Forward To

golden-ears-provincial-park-bc
One of summer 2017’s highlights: a weekend of camping in British Columbia.

It’s been a pretty dry summer. I mean that literally–a nearly monthlong stretch of 90-plus degree days, anyone?–and figuratively. Usually at this point in the year, I’ve been on a couple of trips, with another trip or two lined up in the coming months, invariably spending my time vacillating between giddiness and anticipation.

This year, however, was different.

Now that I’ve achieved a certain level in my career, it’s become more challenging than ever to take time away from the office. In addition, the expenses around my dad’s sudden passing late last year put a significant dent in my savings. So with little free time or discretionary funds available for travel, I found myself feeling grounded and uninspired heading into autumn.

Please don’t get me wrong: I truly enjoy what I have right now. I’m blessed with a career I love, great friends, and a fantastic life here in Seattle. However, I’m also always on the lookout for something new and exciting and different to do or experience. The repetitive journey between work and home day after day has worn a deep rut into the path of my life, and I needed something to come along and shake me loose from the well-worn treads of routine that seemed to get deeper every day. It’s been way too easy for me to get trapped by habit.

Welp, things unexpectedly took a turn for the better last week.

It happened in the form of a work colleague who invited me to be part of an experience I’d been fantasizing about for years.

There was a moderate expense involved–one I hadn’t planned or budgeted for–but I knew that if I didn’t say yes, I’d regret it.

So, I did it. I took the plunge, booked the experience, and just like that, life feels reinvigorated. Refreshed. Vibrant. In that moment, I realized how much I’d been needing something to look forward to.

Habits and routines are useful things; they provide structure for us to build our lives around. But spending day after day doing the same thing over and over, knowing exactly how each day would proceed, was making me feel stale and if I’m being honest, a bit empty. Now that I’ve signed up for something that will essentially fulfill one of my life goals, I can’t wait for not-too-distant the future.

As a notorious planner, I could have focused on all the ways this unplanned and unanticipated experience could disrupt my immediate future, but you know what? I feel happier than I have in months. If that’s not a good thing, I don’t know what is.

So what is this life-altering experience I’ve signed up for? I’m not telling…yet. You’ll just have to look forward to finding out.

What (else) are you looking forward to?