Design a Life You Don’t Need to Escape From

If you tolerated my vacation photos clogging your newsfeed follow me on Instagram, you probably saw that Kyle and I took a niiice little vaca to Mexico last week (Tulum, to be exact).

If you haven’t been to Tulum yet, I highly recommend booking a trip, stat. It’s pretty close to what I’d imagine heaven to be like.

The vibe is eco-conscious and sustainably-minded, almost every restaurant offers an array of incredible cold-pressed juices (at all times of the day), fresh fruits and veggies galore, the most gorgeous beaches, the perfect breeze, and yoga classes, wellness workshops, and shamans (sweat lodge, anyone?!) abound.

It’s one of those places that immediately forces you to get present and just drool all over mother nature.

After a pretty yang (outward-facing, action-oriented, masculine energy) beginning to 2017 it was the perfect yin (inward-facing, nurturing, feminine energy) time to slip riiight back into my sweet spot of balance.  Once we landed in Mexico my mind went from chock-full of thoughts to spacious in a matter of minutes.

Think of it like transitioning from being a hoarder to a minimalist with the flip of a switch. #magic

As we were lounging on the beach about halfway through the week, Kyle mentioned something about home – and the weirdest thing happened – I had absolutely no negative reaction to the thought of our vaca coming to an end and heading back to the “real world”.

For some, this may not be a strange occurrence – but for me, it was monumental.

You see, through most of my adult life I literally lived for days that I didn’t have to work. And whenever I had personal time – whether that be a full-blown vacation, or even just a weekend – the mere thought of heading back to the office was enough to make me feel like I got punched in the stomach – just filled to the brim with anxiety and dread.

I kept flashing back to a trip we took with my fam to St. Barth’s a few years ago – picturing the near anxiety attacks that had a chokehold on me for the last few days we were there, leaving me in tears and fully pulling me out of the (ridiculously beautiful) present moment – all because every fiber of my being was screaming at me that the job I had wasn’t aligned with who I really was.

I used to take vacations to “escape” from my life, to run from the career that I chose, and the life that I personally, willingly designed. How freaking bonkers is that?

I thought having days off work would allow me to temporarily forget about my own personal choices and reality that I had created for myself – almost as if that was the only solution to my blatant misalignment in my career.  And that “solution” only lasted as long as I was physically “off work” (or until I started thinking about going back to the office).

I was allowing the idea of maintaining the status quo to determine my max level of joy, freedom, and abundance – and my soul was yelling at the top of its lungs to get my attention.  That’s what negative emotions stem from, after all – a clear misalignment of your thoughts and your truth – but I didn’t consciously realize that back then.

I was allowing the path that had been laid out to me in my years of schooling to confine me in a box of things I was “supposed to do” to be “successful” and “secure” in life.

I thought it was normal to feel unfulfilled and under-appreciated in my job, to come home complaining and/or crying about things that happened during the day, to always deal with some level of anxiety, and to live for my lunch hour and days I didn’t have to be in the office.

In short, I thought it was normal to be miserable.

That above sentence sounds so insane to me now – but I know so. many. people. who still hold this unconscious belief for themselves.

The minute I stepped back and realized that my life is completely up for me to create and that it’s totally normal – and, actually, imperative to follow the path that lights me up instead of the path that others advised me to take – things started shifting for me.  I kept slowly but surely moving towards the things that made me feel good, and away from the things that made me feel bad.

I used my emotions as a sort of internal GPS (which is actually the reason we have them in the first place), and my life became, and continues to become, more joyful, free, and abundant.  It’s so simple that it’s almost hard to believe.

We’re so used to hearing that having a fulfilling life comes from lots of “hard work”.  The truth is, work is only “hard” if it’s not in alignment with who you are at your core – because that creates an internal conflict and moves you further away from your true purpose.

If you’re aligned with your work, it can’t be hard – sure, it can be challenging – but you come out on the other end of a challenge stronger, wiser, and more resilient because it’s fulfilling for you personally – and that’s the difference.

While I was in Tulum, I was enjoying the hell out of the present moment, and happily making some space to declutter my brain – but every time I thought about getting back to work and connecting with my team and clients, I felt a sense of joy and eagerness wash over me.

And I knew deep down that this is what life is supposed to feel like.

When you consciously design a life that reflects your truth (by following the things that bring you joy), you’ll never feel like you need to escape again. And from that space, vacation is obviously still incredible, but it’s even sweeter knowing that you’ve built a life that you’re psyched to get back to.

P.S. The I took the photo above on the plane ride home from Tulum – riiight during the sweet AF transition from vaca-mode to real life.

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