I must admit, during the past months I have felt like I have been failing instead of growing. Like I have given up on all that is important, everything I strived so hard for, everything I worked so hard for during the last four years only to return to the same spot where I left years ago.
Except it’s not the same, not even close, but it was not the future I imagined myself having either. At least not the future I imagined when at the end of 2013 I quit my job after 1.5 years of retraining and coaching, and sat in a plane with a one-way ticket to the Philippines.
Sure, I am happy with my current state of affairs. I received everything I asked from the Universe, yet again. A year ago I made a list of the things I wanted: to live in Europe (close to Amsterdam preferably), to work for someone else for a change so that my creative side could take a break, to earn a decent salary while remaining flexible and not stressed out, and to work with fun people. I have all of this now, all of it. Even the exact amount on my account every month as I wrote on my yellow post-it while sitting on the front steps of my ocean side bungalow a year ago.
So why the feeling of failure?
First Attempt In Learning
It seemed like I had forgotten all of the reasons I wanted to come back to Europe, and all of the reasons why I wanted to settle down for a moment. For years I had been striving and pushing forward on my own, being the first bird on the flock flying thousands of miles in a short period of time. I needed to rest, my creative juices were dangerously low and because of that I wanted to lay low. After one of the grandest adventures of my life so far, I was simply craving rest.
Why did I forget the age old saying: If you are tired, learn how to rest, not how to quit. Somehow I was afraid that my resting was synonymous for quitting. And that made me sad.
Lucky for me my employer has provided me with a year long training focusing on personal development (love!), which includes four private coaching sessions. During my previous coaching session I had one clear goal. I needed to figure out a new plan for myself. A new direction, something to dream of, something to strive towards, since clearly without a plan and dream I don’t function well.
Over a hot cup of tea and few too many biscuits my coach reassured me. F.A.I.L. was just First Attempt In Learning. She made me write down all of the things I love and am passionate about, and we gave the project a name, Future 2.0. I let out a sigh while giving this name to my project, and sheepishly said “because I have to do it all over again.” Meaning, I already once did this, I struggled with my job, figured out something else to do, quit my job, swore never to return while setting off into the sunset, yet here I am, back to START.
“Do you think life is constant growth and success?” asked the coach. “People try out things, do different steps, you go two steps forward and one step beck. Nothing that you have done is lost, and nothing in your future is locked. Everything is possible, and doing it all again is not failure, it’s simply a chance to do better.”
So there I sat. Looking at the fat cats in the garden, and continuing to draw more inspirational words on the large paper on my lap. Yes, if I have done it once, I can do it again. The familiar energy and excitement started to bubble within. I wanted to jump up in joy and excitement. I felt the fire, I was back on track!
After an hour session I sat with changed energy. I was grounded, my breath was deeper and I felt excited. Confident and excited. I have time. At this moment my new project is just a large piece of white paper with words on it I need to connect into a concept. It includes the simple goals I need from my new life – flexibility, creativity, passion, good income and collaboration with fun people.
And I do what I do best. I start slowly to manifest this together with the Universe. Back at home I taped the paper on the back of the bedroom door and decided to dedicate that entire door to my Future 2.0. A simple Vision Board is not enough, I need a Vision Door. I look at it daily, I look at all of the things I love doing and the things that inspire me, and I let it brew. I give myself few years, there is time, although it is difficult not to jump into action just now. But first things first, brewing.
Growth, not failure
I now understand that everything I did in the last four years was just growth. It was playful learning. I dabbled in coaching, yoga, webdesign, concept creation, writing, meditation and other creative pursuits. I learned from all of them and now I need to take it a level further. Kindergarten is over, it’s time to dig deeper, to allow myself to focus. But before that, there is rest. Reboot.
Yesterday I walked along the forest paths and sides of corn fields in the Eastern part of the Netherlands. During the late afternoon I wondered when the corn would be planted, because seeing the tall and proud corn fields was always one of my favorite sights. But now I saw simple grass growing on the fields where corn usually grew, so I asked about it from my in-laws. “Sometimes before the winter grass is planted onto the corn fields. They let it grow, and then mix it up with the soil as natural fertilizer before planting the corn.”
And it all made sense to me. My favorite fields remain, although something else, something much less prominent and magnificent is growing there now. It turns out that nature too needs to take a break, to do something else in between big pursuits. It, too, needs to rest, recuperate and gather strength.
It’s spring and I follow nature. What is one year, or two? I remain true to my purpose, it’s written in my soil.
Originally published on Life as we think we know it in 2018.