Did you ever have a learning experience after a major change in your life that made you realize you could have learned that same lesson without having gone through the major change?
Obviously the change was a necessary catalyst for the lesson, but it still gives you the opportunity to slap yourself in the forehead and say, “I could have learned this years ago!”.
After moving to Port Orange, FL this past weekend, I’ve had several of those moments. In an effort to keep you from needing to bop yourself in the head over similar lessons, I’ll share what I have learned over the past few days.
1) You don’t realize how much your surroundings are a part of your state of mind until you experience the contrast of going through your daily routine in a strange environment.
There were a lot of things about my previous daily routine that were not “ideal,” and as I got ready to move, I certainly looked forward to making some positive changes in that regard. However, when it came down to unloading the last box and saying a final goodbye to my previous lifestyle, I was suddenly very aware of the fact that I was all alone in a brand-new world.
Logistically I was prepared for that, but this was the first time in many years that I was going to be geographically cut off from the environment and the people that I had grown so accustomed to having as part of my life. It was a bit scary, to be honest, and more than just a little sad.
The Lesson: Don’t take your surroundings and your circle of influence for granted. If you don’t enjoy certain aspects of your life, then get out of your comfort zone for awhile so you can experience the contrast of what your life looks like from a different point of view. Make a list of everything and everyone that is part of your daily routine, and then take 2 or 3 days and remove it all. Leave town if you have to. While trying not to have any ties to your “previous life,” you might be surprised how much your normal surroundings and the people around you were part of your security and comfort level.
2) Try being healthy in a way that you normally wouldn’t – you might like it!
I used to be a personal trainer, so I am certainly familiar with the ins and outs of proper diet and exercise habits. Whenever I am doing something healthy or unhealthy, I am always acutely aware of it.
Nonetheless, like anyone else, I have certain routines that I tend to stick to, even if they aren’t the most healthy habits in the world. Two of my vices are coffee and diet soda. I don’t take the sugared version of either one, but instead opt for using flavored creamer and Splenda for my coffee, and whatever chemically-stuffed ingredients are in the diet soda that I buy. I know those habits aren’t good for me, but I do them anyway.
Well, grocery shopping still hasn’t happened since the move, so although I have coffee and coffee creamer, I do not have any Splenda or any diet soda yet. Imagine my surprise when I realized that my coffee was just as good with only the creamer in it, and in less than 3 days of drinking water, I have almost completely curbed my desire to drink soda of any kind.
The Lesson: Healthy habits don’t just look good on paper! Even if you may have resistance to healthy habits as part of your normal routine, just give yourself a few days of doing things in a manner different than what you are used to. Who knows? You might even end up with radically fewer chemicals in your system every day like I did!
3) If you push yourself to the limit, no matter how much it hurts, you’ll be glad you did it.
One of the reasons why I moved to Port Orange is because of its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. I love the beach and the energy that is always available at the water’s edge, so getting over to the coast was one of the first things that I did once the boxes were all unloaded.
There is a causeway that separates the “mainland” from the peninsula where the actual coastline is, and that causeway is about a mile and a half from my house. It was a beautiful, sunny day, so I hopped on my bike and away I went.
Well, in addition to being beautiful and sunny, it was also very windy, and the causeway itself is a fairly steep incline – probably at least 30-degrees up or more, and about a quarter of a mile from the bottom to the top. Now, between the recent launching of PDP, and the administrative issues of finding and securing the house that I moved into, it has been about 3 weeks since I have gotten any consistent cardiovascular exercise. Let me tell you that getting up that causeway was literally the hardest physical thing that I can remember doing in years!
I wasn’t wearing my heart rate monitor, so I don’t know what my beats per minute were, but I can tell you that I was well outside of the safety zone! However, in addition to the incredible view of the ocean and the beach that I had as soon as I got to the top of the causeway, the sense of accomplishment that I felt was unbelievable. I felt like I was on top of the world, and that it was all downhill from there!
The Lesson: Don’t wait until you find yourself in an unexpectedly difficult situation to push yourself to the limits. Find ways to take it to the max – every day if you can. Not only will you feel wonderful for having made the effort, but your confidence in what you are capable of will grow by leaps and bounds!
4) You really don’t need all of that junk
This move for me was to a location that was only about 90 minutes south of where I was before, so the physical part of the move was actually done in chunks. In fact, some of my stuff is still back where I used to live because it just wasn’t a priority to get it moved right away.
During the process of moving everything that I own over the course of several different trips, I had to make some hard decisions about what needed to stay or go on any given trip, and what could be left behind for the final low priority trip later on.
Imagine my surprise when I realized that almost 90% of the things that I owned were really not that important to me!
With the exception of my computer, my clothes, the minimum necessary furnishings, and a few other necessary or high priority items, almost everything I own is not used on a daily basis.
Sure, I like having a TV, I would cry if something happened to my iPod, and there are many things that have sentimental value for me. However, most of my belongings are just things that I use because they are there. I have very little attachment to them, nor a strong desire to keep them close to me. Even as I type this, there are things in the garage that I could bring into the house, but I’m simply not in a very big hurry to do so!
The Lesson: Don’t be too attached to the material possessions in your life. Ask yourself how many of the things that you own are actually important to you. If they aren’t, then why not clear out the physical and the mental clutter by getting rid of them?
5) True friendship will show itself when needed.
I saved this one for last because I felt it was the most important thought for you to be left with.
As I went through the process of planning for and preparing for this move, to say that my life was chaotic would not even begin to cover it. Between the work that I do o
nline, and the logistics that went into this entire process, I have been running crazy for months.
Through it all, there was one person who bent over backwards for me on every occasion, although at the same time she maintained her own integrity by not bending so far that she didn’t tend to her own needs in the process.
I am an active social person, and I have a lot of friends from all over the U.S., most of whom I see at least semi-frequently during annual get-togethers that we have planned. However, I could count the people who would do for me what this person did on less than one hand.
The person in question knows who she is, so I won’t call her out by name, except of course to say Thank You for all that you did! I’m quite sure I haven’t expressed that sentiment as much as I should have.
The Lesson: You may have an address book full of names, a contact list a mile long, or even a database of the hundreds of people that you know all over the world, and that is a wonderful thing. However, how many fingers and toes would it take for you to count the number of people who would truly jump through fire for you? Once you have that figure, pick up the phone and call them right now just to say “Thanks for being my friend”.
As I indicated at the beginning of this post, each of these lessons can be learned without having to actually go through major changes in your life. Just stop the presses long enough to actually look around and take stock of your life. Then start doing whatever it takes to live your life to the fullest, constantly pushing yourself to achieve bigger and better levels of success, happiness, and fulfillment!