CHANGE IS HARD. STAGNANCY IS HARDER. 

I’ve been feeling stagnant for about a year now. I’m burned out from working from home, so I’m initiating some drastic changes in my life. No amount of furnishing, nesting, beautifying my space could satiate this amorphous longing. I’m longing to feel alive: the enlivening feeling I get when I’m exploring the unknown.

I’ve been swinging the pendulum between nesting and nomading for almost 3 years. I’m in NYC to try out a trial week as a digital nomad (again) after working from home for over 2 years. I packed all my stuff. I submitted applications on Workaway. I left home with the intention of returning as a visitor, not a resident.

I applied to Workaways because I want to learn, which is one of my core values. It’s not enough for me to travel aimlessly as a full-time tourist. Cultural exchanges are an important part of my travel experience. I also want to explore alternative ways of living. I want to learn how to build, farm and ultimately create a self-sufficient life.

WHAT I DIDN’T EXPECT FROM THE DIGITAL NOMAD LIFE

Living as a digital nomad overseas a few years ago was harder than I expected. I thought I would be the last person on earth to feel homesick until I found myself perusing the aisles of an international supermarket listening to Americans and Koreans speak in languages that I understood. My heart felt closer to home. It’s funny to notice the small things that you take for granted when you are outside of your comfort zone.

I wasn’t prepared for the constant adjustment through new cultures, landscapes, and languages every month I traveled to a new location as a full-time traveler. Not having a life tethered to a location became isolating, when all of the world surrounding you were entrenched in the norm cycles of life, work, love, family, and play. Being a digital nomad felt like an anomaly, like I was an alien, a stranger in a strange land. I felt like a voyeuristic tourist with a laptop until I volunteered at a hostel in Barcelona, which gave me a sense of community and cultural exchange.

I also didn’t expect to be alone as a solo traveler. I was supposed to meet my husband in Prague at the time. We went our separate ways, and I had to own the experience for myself. It was the best decision of my life to continue my journey. I felt liberated. I tapped into new reserves of flow, vitality, and confidence. I was renewed, and I came back home glowing. I needed to come home though. My business took off when I came back, and I immersed myself in a season of grounded growth.

DESIRES, DECISIONS AND UNCERTAINTY

I’ve been sorting out all the possible outcomes, which felt out of alignment with this desire too and why I stalled so long until I had no choice but to surrender to the unknown. I expanded over the last couple of years that the container that was once necessary became painfully small and restrictive. 

Sometimes, there’s no amount of planning that can make you feel more secure about a change. Your body, your animal self can hold on too long, and your spirit pushes you to leap forward. The creative process of becoming can be messy af.

As an adult, you fall into a certain expectation of security and maturity. You proceed with more caution, measuring your potential by what you have accomplished or your past failures instead of a new capacity of potential. Too much safety can be inhibiting, boring and restrictive. 

I don’t think velvet pillows will fix this deep longing for more, even though I have a desire to make my own clothing. Maybe it’s a new space that my spirit is guiding me to. I am filled with so many desires, ideas, and possibilities that I need 9 lives to complete it all. 

FINDING BALANCE AND ALIGNMENT

I don’t know when I started to drift away from my center, or when the stagnancy exactly set in. Maybe, my pain tolerance to please others more than my own needs is lessening (#libraproblems). Or I’ve become more aware of being out of balance as I pursue this journey of awakening, and self-care is becoming an utmost priority.

There isn’t a streamlined answer to how long we should hold onto circumstances or when it’s the ideal time to let go. Or when it’s the right time to follow the plan or thrust yourself into the winds of change. Balance is so elusive and nuanced. Maybe, balance is really about finding alignment. 

Becoming isn’t a linear trajectory. The unfolding is wild and untamed. It’s so uncomfortable and can feel downright risky. It’s a cycle of full circles, and there are seasons of growth.

Trusting the process can feel delicate and vulnerable when you are opening yourself to change. It takes tremendous courage to stand your ground in your authenticity. I’ve been overwhelmed with a myriad of emotions. I know from experience, the more I ground and own the experience, I’ll open up new pathways of possibility. There’s always more.

ENDINGS AND NEW BEGINNINGS

I pulled all of my energy out of my past story. I depersonalized my space where I slept, worked, created. I said my goodbyes. It was harder this time around because my grandfather is 88 years old. He raised me. If I could, I would’ve held longer. I love my family so much.

My friends and family assure me that I am my best when I explore. They know me all too well now that I’m in my mid-30s. We’ve all fed into cultural expectations and illusions to be met with the repercussions of loss, regrets, and self-abandoning that authenticity is the only road. I must live out my truth. You too. 

Since there is no known possibility in my mind that can soothe my discontent, I’m allowing myself to play with a bit of spontaneity, which is a big part of my personality that I tucked away in the closet. I was a change addict in my 20s. I was an escape artist until I was forced to confront my inner demons. This retrograde season has brought me closure on so many levels. 

A chapter has ended as the autumn leaves turn color, and I’ve entered a new season of life and creativity. I have no idea what to expect, and I know that’s where the magic happens. I’ll be officially reporting from the unknown now. 

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