A year and a half ago I began on a journey of personal growth – not on purpose, quite by chance actually: it came as part and parcel of a new business venture I had pursued. Something I read in December 2015 really hit a chord with me – “If you had all the money you needed in order to pay your monthly expenses and you didn’t need to work to earn that money, what would you spend your time doing?” I thought about this….. The answer seemed obvious – I’d be spending plenty time with my family. But doing what? The deeper I went into it the clearer it became that I am an outdoors girl at heart. I always have been. But over the past few years I have let life get in the way of my happy time spent in the countryside, in the wilderness, in the hills.
The timing of that train of thought came with the start of a new year approaching. A time when many make resolutions to change certain aspects of their life in the coming year and beyond. Normally I don’t bother, believing that if you want to change something then just do it, why wait for a new year? But this year was to be different. I found myself doing a lot of soul searching, reviewing what things in my life were going well and what not so well, determining where I wanted this coming year to take me.
I had been juggling my new business venture with being a full time mum for 2 years now, since my youngest son was born. Things weren’t going as well as I had hoped. In fact I was starting to feel stressed and was lacking motivation to take the necessary actions to move things forward. I had to be honest: it didn’t align with my natural talents or the things I was passionate about. It was one of the toughest decisions I have ever made, but in January 2016 I closed the door on my business.
What should I do now? Go out and get a job? That would mean childcare expenses. Would it be worthwhile working part time and paying for childcare? I got clear on what was important to me: “If you could design your ideal life what would that look like right now?” – I realised that I already have my ideal life: I am a full time mum, I get to spend the mornings with my 2 year old doing what ever we want, I get to spend the afternoons after nursery with my 2 sons doing whatever we want. My husband provides the income that we need to sustain this lifestyle and he supports my desire to be with my kids in their early years, as he has supported everything I have ever done. For the first time I felt no sense of guilt in saying “I am a full time mum”. It felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Ok so what do to with these mornings and afternoons that I could now spend guilt free? At first I wasn’t sure so I did the only thing I knew and that was to pack the buggy up in the car and go for a walk. Wow, I felt liberated! I vividly remember how I felt on my very first walk after coming to terms with all of the above: the sun was shining, it was a crisp cold winter morning, a brisk icy wind was blowing on my face, I was beside the sea, I was with Thomas in his buggy, we just walked. Before, I would have felt guilty about taking some time to do this – I should have been somewhere networking, talking to people, growing my connections. But on that day I felt completely at ease, keeping myself to myself and just walking along, enjoying the fresh air and Thomas’ chattering.
And so it was clear: being outdoors was my passion. I loved nothing more than getting out and spending time walking, discovering new paths, new places, new views. I thought back to my childhood and our weekly hikes in the Scottish mountains, our skiing holidays. I wondered how many walks I could manage this year now that I was free to go any day – and that’s when the 100 Walk Challenge was born!
Where this will lead I have no idea. Right now I am just enjoying the walks, , documenting them here and ‘re-learning’ being an outdoors girl! I feel confident that doors will open as the next couple of years progress and I feel excited beyond belief about that! TBC…… 🙂
“That thing that you do, after your day job, in your free time, too early in the morning, too late at night. That thing you read about, write about, think about, in fact fantasize about. That thing you do when you’re all alone and there’s no one to impress, nothing to prove, no money to be made, simply a passion to pursue. That’s it. That’s your thing. That’s your heart, your guide. That’s the thing you must, must do.”