Here’s a question for you.
Hands up. Who else has highlighted their lives where they have gone traveling to deal with emotional or stressful situations in life?
Both hands up for me!
I am realizing, especially as we are zooming through 2021, and another year of no international travel rolls around that I have used this as a crutch to help support my mental health.
No, I am not lying around in luxurious resorts, sipping cocktails when I escape on my overseas adventures, though a few cocktails are involved. But I am immersing myself in the NOW and living in the moment. Which is something I do not normally do, though I know I should. It just seems to come easier and more naturally when I am traveling, along with a more relaxed self.
It has also in the past, given me something to look forward to. To get off the normal hamster wheel of life: go to work, go home, pay bills, wait for the weekend, and then repeat. Or some would even view it as avoiding life’s uncomfortable realities. But hey, if it makes me feel mentally at my best and a better person why not do it?
As this year looms again with no international adventures, it also marks a real big milestone for me, my 50th! OMG yep, I just said it the “F” word. It also marks ten years ago since I literally ran away for my 40th. Which was a massive turning point in my life.
It was also a time when I discovered my tribe.
I never felt like I fitted in, and to some extent in daily life I still feel that way. That sense of not fitting in had been with me right from childhood. But with traveling I found like-minded people, I felt like I belonged finally.
Maybe be fitting in isn’t the right term to use as I’ve never been one to follow the “norm” but I do think a feeling of belonging is something we are all striving for in some form.
The people I met did not care about my age, if I was single or with anyone, if I had kids or my job/financial status. They just were happy to hang out, chat about the world, cultures and explore what ever country we were in. Some of these people are now my best friends.
I am at this rip “young” age (I say tongue in cheek) also realizing I deal with anxiety. The events of the past year have highlighted this, as I think for many people. I am learning how to recognize it and handle it in a positive way and redirect my energy, well I am trying too. It is something I am good at giving advice and support to others about but something I need to put in practice for myself.
I want to head into my 50th year full of excitement for the adventures to come, the new people I will meet and experiences I will have. To remember to live more in the NOW and appreciate every second.
The last 10 years since my last milestone have flown by so quickly and the impressions of that first big adventure for my 40th is still so fresh in my mind. I want to keep that energy and buzz I get from those experiences, why do I need it to slip into some distant memory?
It’s only my body that keeps reminding me of my age, not my mind! And it is our minds we need to keep young, vibrant, and sharp. Keeping engaged and connected is an important part of mind health as we age.
So, remember keep doing what you love, and don’t let others tell you you’re now too old to try something new, or follow a passion.
Go for it!