Perhaps the greatest thrill of being alive for me is the element of surprise.
I did not always know this.
I spent most of my life trying to control everything so that each day resembled the day before. Routine was my modus operandi. Wake up, exercise, eat breakfast (the same thing each day), work, maybe work out again, eat lunch (the same thing each day), work, eat dinner (with a small bit of variety). My thoughts did not vary much either. Mostly, they revolved around body image, food, and making sure that I followed the routine.
Please do not get me wrong—in many ways I lived a fantastic, sweet life. I had an amazing, loving husband, I was financially stable, I lived in a beautiful environment. I appreciated all of these things. It was that secondary layer, my inner world that was in so much pain that created an unconscious need to order and control everything.
I was accustomed to make sudden career changes, that kept life interesting. But the daily, inner life never really changed.
As most of my stories go, four years ago everything changed. In a single instant, I ended the life I knew. It involved very little thought. The whole thing came from some sort of intuition from my heart.
And with that, the regularity, stability, and need to control everything in my life ended in a sudden halt.
With this sudden shift, which included the end of my marriage, I began to live a much freer life. I can only see this now in retrospect.
Suddenly life became much more interesting. I did not need to control my inner world as much.
It was here that everything shifted from rigid, control to flexibility. In this new way, life is not planned. It allows for surprise. It allows for everything—difficult, uncomfortable times are also accepted. I no longer try to make everything simple and comfortable. And suddenly my inner world is free.
It is where I can find joy and also deep inner strength. And I need that strength because the life I have chosen is not always suitable or comfortable for those that love me.
What drives me now is the element of surprise. Good and bad. It keeps things fun. Different. No matter how bad things get, I know it will work out somehow and there such a great freedom in that. Plus, it is the hard times that are the most memorable. They make the best stories. They remind me how strong I really am.
I am constantly surprising myself. Every day, week, month, year. I surprise myself by what I can do, by what I choose to do, by new ways of thinking. By freeing myself, I open myself to all possibilities.
It is a choice. I choose to live by the element of surprise. It is not the easiest way to live, but it is certainly the most rewarding. I learn more about myself, I grow, I become stronger, I become a better lover, partner, friend, and parent.
This is something that I want to show my 12 year old son. We are walking the Oregon Coast Trail together—400+ miles in approximately 28 days.
We are not exactly clear how to get to the trailhead. We have no idea what each day will bring us. We have not planned anything except that we will walk about 18-25 miles each day. We also do not know how we will get back to LA—where we will separate.
We know that we can camp each night. We know that there is resupply every 20 miles (which is lovely). We have a map, compass, tent, and sleeping bags.
We will need to rely on others. We might get lost. We might get wet. We might get cold. There may be moments of discomfort.
We will figure it out. We are a team. We will persevere.
There will be surprises because we have no expectations (except for surprise).
I cannot wait to share this journey with my hilarious, willful, clever son.