I once saw this meme on Facebook that said “Build a life you don’t need a vacation from.”
It got me thinking that it is true, that so many of us seem to be just waiting for days and weeks to go by until we can take a break from life and go on vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I love going on vacation; I am a traveller by nature, I thrive in novel and stimulating environments.
But it’s one thing to enjoy taking vacations, and it’s an entirely different thing to feel like you need to take a vacation in order to feel alive.
I don’t want to spend my adulthood feeling like my average day is a task that has to get done, just so I can escape two weeks out of the year on vacation. That’s the kind mentality that has you putting off living until retirement; and with current life expectancy, I probably won’t retire until sometime in my 70’s.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait until I’m 70 to enjoy my day-to-day, and I don’t want to spend most of a year toiling away waiting for holidays, vacations and weekends. Do you?
Is it even possible to have a life you don’t need a vacation from?
DEFINITELY. Why wouldn’t it be? Do you think you need to win the lottery to enjoy life, or somehow be someone else than who you are? If so, you’re wrong.
What does a life you don’t need a vacation from look like? Based on my experience both as a psychologist, coach and as a human who interacts with other humans, it needs to be challenging enough to keep you stimulated, yet comfortable enough to not feel constantly stressed out. It has to have a sense of purpose and meaning, to get you excited to wake up in the morning, but there has to be some idle downtime to just be, without having to do. It would have to be a life that incorporates things you love to do on a daily basis, but being realistic there would also be other things that just have to get done. That doesn’t seem impossible to me, nor should it to you.
A life you don’t need a vacation from:
- Has you excited to face your day (most days at least).
- Contains purpose and meaning on a daily basis.
- Allows you to do what you love and love what you do (much of the time).
Can you picture what that would look like for you? We’re not talking about hitting the jackpot or living a life of leisure here. I’m talking about understanding what you need to feel fulfilled, knowing what your values are, making sure they are expressed in the things you do, and making choices daily that reflect and fulfill those two aspects of yourself.
If it’s so simple why are so many of us still just living for vacations?
Why do we choose to put off building these simple things into our day? Why do we procrastinate on life and assume that our day to day is just something to get through? I don’t know. Or rather, I can’t answer that question for everyone. What I do know is that the people who come and see me for coaching tend to be stuck for one of three reason.
- THEY NEED INSIGHT: They have a sense that things could be better, but they have no idea what it looks like. They think that ‘this’ or ‘that’ should make them happy, but somehow those things aren’t cutting it anymore. Somewhere along the way they’ve lost touch with what fulfills them, and they struggle to tell me what they need or why.This is the very vast majority of people whom I work with. Together we build their capacity for insight, so that by the end of our time together they can easily name what they need to be happy and make choices to create a life that is right for them.
- THEY ARE STUCK: The second category of people who seek me out tend to have a decent sense of what they need. At the very least they have some goals they have been trying to move forward with. Somehow, they get stuck. They find themselves not moving forward, not acting on what they say they need to feel happier and more fulfilled. They have roadblocks that they can’t yet overcome.I’ll be honest, we usually do insight work with these folks too, just to make sure that they goals their working towards are right for them, but the biggest service I can provide them with is helping them identify every roadblock that stands in their way. We’re talking logistics, sure, but mostly fears, assumptions and beliefs that hold them back.
- THEY NEED THE RIGHT PLAN: These folks know what they want, they have a sense of some of the barriers that stand in their way. What they really need is a plan of action, and not just some generic stepwise approach to breaking down a goal. They need a plan that takes into account all the things that make them them. They need a plan that targets their needs, overcomes their roadblocks, and works with the realities of their day to day life.
I know that “Build a life…” meme is super popular, and there’s reason for that, too many of us recognize that we are the kind of people who somehow got caught-up living a life that we need to take a vacation from.
Do you find yourself just counting days till the weekend, or constantly dreaming about the next time you can take off from life? If you do, chances are you fall in one of the three categories I just mentioned.
Check out this neat infographic find out which person you are (click on the image to see a larger version). Click on the resources at the bottom of the infographic to get some tools that will help you move forward with that kick-ass life you’ve been meaning to live.
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