"Are you really living your life? Or just getting by..."
This is a question I asked myself back in 2013 when I was still living in Louisiana, miserably unhealthy and unsatisfied with my life trajectory. Up until then, I figured maybe this was what “adulting” was all about. You pick a job, work hard to afford a bunch of stuff, live for the weekend, and go through life without much of a purpose beyond getting through the day to day, right? But the thing is, I had a nagging suspicion there HAD to be more out there…. I mean, I knew a small handful of other people who had moved on and found a life that looked pretty fun to me! I so admired them for their bravery and desperately wished for years that I had the guts to do that too...
Even as a kid, I remember fantasizing about being one of those badass ladies who overcame the odds and created a life for herself that was bold and purposeful! However this wasn’t a model I grew up with in a small-ish, deeply religious town in the South and I had zero concept of how to actually make it happen for myself. So when women ask me how in the hell I moved across the country alone with no real plan, I don’t have an answer beyond that I woke up one day with a level of courage I hadn’t seen in a while and had an overwhelming sense that I just “HAD TO.” Making that choice feels easy in comparison to the many choices I’ve made since, however I’ve found a way to manufacture that sense of bravery again and pull from it often, both in my personal life and with my awesome clients.
I call it my “Adventure Tank...”
Now before you roll your eyes thinking I’m just another West Coaster raving about #wanderlust, hear me out for a minute. In this context, an Adventure Tank is so much more than just going on a bunch of hikes and traveling across the country in an old Airstream, although if that’s your jam, get after it, girl!
In my own life and in my coaching practice, an Adventure Tank is a reservoir within yourself that’s replenished by doing things that excite, inspire, and move you in a way that brings you real joy! These activities also need to be 100% beneficial for you and something that truly fills you up, versus being catered to anyone else. Your Adventure Tank should bring you out of your comfort zone sometimes, challenge you in a new way, and provide a safe space for you to work some things out in your own head, as all of this leads to reconnecting you with that badass lady within!
I realize this may feel impossible to accomplish. How can I fill my Adventure Tank when I’m already so BUSY?! As women, we’re practically programmed from birth to think we need to take care of everyone before we get to ourselves and oftentimes, we just run out of gas. I mean, if you’re handling everyone else’s life besides your own, do you really have the bandwidth to tackle your own stuff too?
But that’s honestly when you need your Adventure Tank most... It may be the only safe space you have to take care of just you and listen to your own thoughts, feelings, and desires! When we’re overly busy, not only do we not have the brain space to take care of ourselves, we also barely have the brain space to listen to what’s going on between our ears. Sure, it’s easy to hear the super loud, overly critical thoughts all the time, but what about those quieter thoughts? The ones that tell us what we actually want for our lives, what we really want to be doing with our careers, and how we really want to be treated in our relationships?
There's so much happening in our brains; if we truly stop to LISTEN, it's incredible what comes up!
I remember being terrified when I first started filling up my own Adventure Tank, which was shortly after I moved to Seattle and didn’t know anyone but my own dog. Although my newfound alone-time may have started out of necessity, I quickly realized why I’d been avoiding listening to my thoughts for so many years! They were painful, cruel, dysfunctional, and depressing… Up until then, I was the Queen of binging on the couch, both on Netflix and food; however that version of alone time was vastly different than what I was doing now. By removing those old coping mechanisms and forcing myself to be out in the world at least once a day, I no longer had the safety net of constant distraction, which turned out to be incredibly eye opening!
I filled my Adventure Tank by going on day trips anywhere and everywhere, taking myself out to lunch or dinner, checking out a museum or tourist attraction, and even sitting in the park to read a book just so I was outside in public. I did all sorts of things, and although it felt super awkward and uncomfortable at first, I can say without a doubt it was the most beneficial and powerful thing I’ve ever done for myself in my life. For the first time ever, I learned how to become comfortable spending time alone and also learned how to be SEEN again! It was like I slowly started to unravel a lifetime of hiding from the world, where my weight and “story” was my armor. Filling my Adventure Tank also helped me get to know myself again, because I was actually listening to what I wanted and needed. That translated into being more comfortable in my skin and respecting my judgement when it came to decisions.
Who freaking knew a solo day trip or lunch date would do all of that?!
But the thing is, when is the last time you did anything just for you? Tried something new? Had some damned fun?! It’s so easy to get caught in the daily grind and I validate that. However you NEED this, sister! You need to hear yourself, listen to what you want, do something just for you, and push yourself out of the nest sometimes. It’s time to start filling your own Adventure Tank with whatever you need to feel strong, capable, independent, empowered, inspired, and joyful again. No matter where you live or what your bank account looks like, there’s always something you can go and do.
So think thoughts, start marinating on the concept and I’ll be back with Part 2 soon. We’ll brainstorm some ideas for filling up your Adventure Tank and I’ll share some ridiculous mishaps in my own process too! I can't wait and look forward to helping you push yourself out and into the world again too! 🙂