Over the past few weeks, I can’t stop reminiscing about all the places this time off has taken me. I mean, I set out for a 45 day trip in Europe and an out of state move, but I have experienced so much more. There have been some very scary moments wondering if an international trip and move were just too much, I find myself a year and one month later, so eternally grateful for where the year has taken me.
With that in mind, I began to form a list of things I would have NEVER done if it hadn’t been for the way that everything came together this year. There have been these very precise moments in the past year that acted as a map to bring us exactly where we needed to be. It has really strengthened my belief in the spiritual nature of life. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. And when you put down the cell phone and check out from the daily routines that fill time and occupy your mind, you can really connect with that spiritual self.
- I would have never given up on an expedition. Not finishing the Camino de Santiago was a difficult decision and it was something that Michael and I would have NEVER done in the past. We both love goals and love to achieve what we set out to do, but there were so many miserable experiences that all lined up that made us decide to change our trip. There was the flea bite incident, the being treated shitty incidents, the over-crowdedness, my ankle swelling up, and lastly we kept meeting others that were having similar experiences that didn’t have the finances or the time to change their trip. It seemed everything began to resonate with the sentiment that if this were my last trip I wouldn’t spend another minute on the Camino. And that is when Michael and I decided to go to GERMANY!
- Which leads me to the next thing I would have NEVER done, go to Oktoberfest. I know, I know, “but Joella you love beer and lederhosen!” Yes, I do love beer and Oktoberfest did look fun, but I would have never paid the airfare and booked a hotel all just to attend a beer drinking festival. There are too many places to visit in the world. But since we were in Garmisch, a place that Michael and I had always wanted to go together, and Oktoberfest was only an hour away by train, we figured “what the heck? Might as well!” I am so grateful we got to go! It was so much more fun than I had imagined!
- I would have NEVER moved to Bend just to ski. When our marriage and family therapist licenses took 4 months to get approved, we were very disappointed. And the four months of waiting was driving us insane. We both just wanted to practice therapy. The only thing that helped us was skiing multiple times a week. If our licenses had been approved sooner or one of the jobs we had applied for had worked out, I wouldn’t have had the solid 5 months of skiing experience I have now. I have always dreamed of living a life more in tune with the outdoors and now, I have another hobby that helps me do that.
- Which leads me to this statement, I would have NEVER moved to Asheville for real. I always thought about it. It is a really cool place. But the thought of being a full plane ride away from the Northwest is just insane to me. I still have a hard time accepting I am this far away. Not to mention, being so far away from what I call “real mountains,” but things lined up in such a way, that it really seemed like the best idea. Michael’s parents seemed to really need us and it looked like Michael was going to get a kick ass job at University of North Carolina Asheville. On top of that, when it worked out for us to live in Michael’s mom’s extra house, a chance to no longer be “renters” (which is getting increasingly difficult everywhere) it seemed foolish not to move to Asheville.
- I would have NEVER realized how much I love running a private therapy practice. I know it seems on the outside that being your own boss would be nothing short of amazing, but it was really stressful. And when we left for Europe, I felt so burnt out. I just wanted to work for someone else part time. However, over the past year of applying for jobs and doing some inner work, I have come to realize I have always felt burned out at everything I do because of two reasons; 1. I call it “work” instead of my calling/life’s purpose and 2. I had fooled myself into thinking I have control over things I have no control over. In my newbie therapists brain I really believed if I read enough articles, books, and went to enough conferences I would be able to help everyone. But after this past year, I have realized I have control over so little. I mean, really, I have control over my thoughts and actions. Even then, there are so many chemicals and environmental factors…. but I digress. I can’t believe how much responsibility I took on believing it would help people. I am now in a place where I believe in other’s abilities. Client change has very little to do with me.
- I would have NEVER taken a whole year off and spent most of the time working on myself. Sure I would have taken a year off to travel or DO something, but so much of this year has been spent on self reflection and improvement. I got to ski 50+ days and become a confident skier, I have worked on my yoga skills, meditation, writing, reading, journaling, and best of all eating a plant based diet. I don’t think I would have ever had the time to dive into these endeavors but they have shaped me in ways I would have never imagined. Like, really important, deep, spiritual ways that will resonate with me for life. And hopefully help my future clients 🙂