2022, another year come and gone. Now, we’re already almost heading into month two of 2023.
Last year, I had several overwhelming, chaotic, and stressful times that felt all-consuming in the moment, but I also had an abundance of amazing memories that will stick with me for a lifetime. As a whole, 2022 was a pretty incredible year for me, those tough moments were just a blip in the grand scheme of things.
As far as life lessons go, I learned a lot this year. Two of my biggest takeaways this year are:
2022 Was a Busy Year
I took a lot of leaps this year. I returned back to school, started a new job that I applied to on a whim thinking that I was underqualified, hiked the West Highland Way, and Chris and I got married just the two of us in Scotland.
All of these moments were spurred by persistent nagging feelings or ideas—a pull in my mind that I couldn’t explain. Call it intuition, call it whatever you want, but I think when your thoughts naturally gravitate towards something (without overthinking to get there), the universe is probably trying to tell you something.
To follow that gut feeling often involves taking a leap. Leaps can be scary, especially if you’re like me and can be apprehensive about big changes. However, I think not taking the leap can be more damaging in the long run.
Now I’ll tell you about some of my personal leaps and experiences from last year in the hopes that it will motivate you to do some listening and leaping of your own in 2023.
After six months of unemployment and a seasonal job, I was becoming disenchanted with the job search/interview process after some promising offers that weren’t successful due to the time I’d need off for my wedding. I’m also not a strong interviewer and found it so draining to put on that interview persona time and time again. I was feeling down and discouraged.
When I saw the posting for my current role, I saved it with no initial intention of applying. Despite my applicable degree, I had no experience in this type of role and my months of searching had me feeling like I’d get nowhere without years of job experience under my belt. Still, I kept coming back to it and something told me to apply anyways.
It ended up being the perfect scenario where I applied at just the right time. The previous buyer was leaving in a week and they wanted someone to train as soon as possible. If I waited or ignored the gut feeling telling me to apply, I probably wouldn’t have landed the role. In turn, my upcoming travel plans and wedding would have been harder to achieve without extreme stress.
The West Highland Way
One of the biggest leaps and moments of following something I was drawn to was my decision to hike the West Highland Way. From the first moment I heard about it, it remained a nagging thought in my head. I thought it was crazy and, at first, I didn’t think I could do it, but I took the leap. I realized that if I waited for someone to go with me, I could end up waiting forever.
It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.
It helped me slow down, gain more confidence in my abilities, and learn that I don’t need to wait on others to do the things I want to do in life. Had I listened to those who doubted and ignored my gut instinct, I’d be in a worse headspace than I am now. The adventure shifted my perspective. I didn’t have to live plagued by the “what if” thoughts that would haunt me if I was too scared to go.
I’d gone back and forth about wedding ideas but always came back to the same things. I wanted it to be outside somewhere beautiful, as stress-free as possible, not cost an obscene amount of money/put us into debt, and most importantly, be a special day just about Chris and me.
I bounced around the idea of having family join us. However, I knew it would make the day more stressful, potentially create conflict, require more planning, and ultimately take focus from what the day was all about: us as a couple.
I didn’t want to worry about accommodating and organizing others but also worried we’d feel guilty or miss their presence. I worried Chris secretly wanted a more traditional wedding, but in the end, it was Chris’s voice of reason that said to have the day just be us.
So I took the leap and booked with a planner, just the two of us. There were many moments our planner offered other amenities, but my gut said to keep it as simple as possible.
Taking the leap on a non-traditional wedding ended up being the best thing for us. We were able to slow down and enjoy the day and experience together, which made it all the more special. We were both more relaxed than we would be otherwise, despite some hiccups early on in the day.
To me, traditional weddings feel more about other people and the event itself. Our day felt like enjoying and celebrating us in the simplest form. Our reception back home went by in such a blur. It was easy to be preoccupied with other people and wanting everything to run smoothly. I think I would have felt disappointed if the wedding itself went that way. Had I given in to societal expectations and guilt, I might look back on our wedding day much differently than I do.
Going Back to School
This leap was fueled by a book I was reading about overthinking. I’d toyed with the idea of returning to school for a few years at this point, yet couldn’t calm my worries about the idea.
“I don’t need more student debt”
“I can’t juggle school with full-time work”
“What if I still can’t find the type of work I want?”
“What if I regret it?”
“It will take too much time”
Eventually, I decided I couldn’t live with the what-ifs. If it felt like I needed a change, I wasn’t likely to get it by doing nothing. So, in January I started back at school online.
It’s been stressful and challenging, but rewarding to be working towards something and using my mind again. I realized that teaching myself independently is not how I learn and this was how I’d progress forward. I don’t know where it will take me but I’m glad I started.
Take the Leap
Is there something that keeps entering your thoughts and doesn’t seem to want to leave? Stop and pay attention to it. If an idea sticks with you, it’s probably trying to tell you something.
Perhaps, like me, you already know deep down what you want to do, but are too scared to start. Don’t be.
I’m sure you’ve already overanalyzed every possible negative outcome, but did you think about all the positive ones?
If you’ve been feeling stuck, these persistent thoughts are trying to open the door to the change you need. While sometimes these things seem impossible, if you believe you can make it happen, you will. There were many obstacles thrown my way, and at times, I wasn’t sure if I could make things happen. However, if you make it a priority, you’ll be amazed at how things click together.
In 2023, take the leap.