Ditch the Road Map

I have recently been thinking about the idea of goals. We are taught from a young age that goals are good. Goals are how you get ahead in life and become successful, but what if having a detailed roadmap of your life is just getting in the way? Having specific goals can be limiting, especially when we are subconsciously influenced by our past, society, and social norms. My new theory (assisted by authors Martha Beck and Wayne Dyer) is that life becomes more peaceful, more “on-purpose” and more efficient when we let go, trust the universe (or God, or whatever you relate to) and follow our instincts.

Never in a million years would I have come up with the goal: “Move to Tunisia.” It’s not something I always wanted to do. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever really heard of that country and I definitely wouldn’t have been able to find it on a map!

But that’s where I’m going and I couldn’t be more excited. It just feels right. Sometimes it’s fun to think about how I got there- the emotional, spiritual journey that lead me to where I am now. (A journey that by no means is complete or ever will be!)

I spent months reflecting, looking inward, and pursuing whatever “felt right.” I sometimes wished I had a crystal ball. I would get frustrated at the far-away, haziness of my future. I knew I needed to make a change, but I had no clue what it was. I looked down many avenues, applied to many jobs, and ended up with many dead-ends. I could never put my finger on a specific goal but I just kept telling myself, “If it’s meant to be, it will be.” Although it was discouraging at times, every rejection just narrowed down my path. I continued to put my trust in the universe and my instincts.

Anything that sounded interesting or fun- I’d explore it. And that wasn’t just in the narrow scope of careers. I auditioned for plays, took dance classes, read books, went on a retreat, and more. I was opening myself up to the universe. I never quite felt in charge- more of a collaborator in my life. I learned to relax and listen and let myself be guided.

The times I tried to be logical and strategic- tried to force my brain into “figuring out” my life- was always unsuccessful. Meditating, sitting in silence, talking with people I love, and trying my best to live in the moment brought me more break-throughs than cold-hard logic ever did. When I followed my gut and made decisions based on how I felt, making an effort to say yes to life as much as possible, I started getting somewhere. I had no idea where I’d end up, but little by little, the haziness started to subside and my future started to fall into place.

My “change” bracelet. A nice little daily reminder that “change is good!”

So I’m going to teach in Tunisia and meet new people and travel and say yes to life, even when it’s scary. If it feels “shackles off”- feels like fun and freedom, I’m doing it! I am ready to live my life to the fullest.

When people ask me how many years we will stay in Tunis, I just smile because I have no idea and a year ago that would have stressed me out, but now it doesn’t. I don’t need or want specific goals. I’m ditching the detailed road map in exchange for going with the flow and waiting to see where the universe takes me. As Wayne Dyer wrote, “You don’t have to know where you are going to get there.” If I’ve learned anything, the universe has grander, more interesting plans than anything I could come up with.

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