Make stuff happen!

I had a conversation with someone I've recently met. As we're getting to know each other, he asked if I travel often. "Never have unless you count Quebec City and Montreal. I don't even own a passport yet. But I'm planning on taking my first trip during Christmas break."

Then we discussed summer plans. I told him about the stuff I want to do this summer. Mostly tourist type activities around town. Walking tours. Boat tours. Bus tours. Air tours. Hiking. Road trips. We live in such a beautiful area and I barely even know it even though I've lived here all my life!

"Where do you hike? Gatineau Park?" he asked. "I haven't hiked in years, but yes, that's where I'm planning to go. See, you've caught me at an exciting time for me. I'm finally going through with many of my fantasy plans. No more waiting for things to happen. I'm making them happen!"

"What pushed you to make stuff happen?" Good question! Let me try to figure that out...

The early years
I remember being a child (probably around 8 years old) trying to figure out what the purpose of life was. I would actually worry at night thinking about it all. It caused me great anxiety. I'd fall asleep exhausted from over-thinking. So from an early age, I've been trying to figure it out. How to live it well.

My teenage years
As a teen, I wanted to be an artist. Painter. Sculptor. Singer. Writer. But I didn't have much to say at that time. Or maybe I didn't know how to say it. Regardless, the drive was there, but the expression wasn't. After about a month of visual art courses in Cegep (about the equivalent of college), I quit and decided that I would work and be an artist on my own time. I didn't need school to tell me how to hold a paintbrush or how to mix my colours. But I soon found out that 40 plus hours a week working in retail drained most of my inspiration and creativity.

My twenties
Working became all about the pay check. Don't get me wrong, I'd do my job well. I wanted to contribute to whoever my employer was at any given time. But I was so focused on getting to a point where I was making more than minimum wage, more than what I needed to get by, that I didn't notice the years passing by. Also with my daughter's birth when I was 25 years old, I needed to be a responsible parent making sure that I met all of her needs. Keeping my nose to the grindstone. Earning a living. Retail and call centers.

My thirties
When I finally landed a job with the federal government, I was then able to stop and look around me a bit more. Not that I wasn't working. I was and still am. But the hours are way better than in the service industry. The health and retirement benefits are better also. So it gave me time to breathe and reflect. However, the more I reflected, the more I realized that this isn't the life I want. I can't keep up this pace of work-home-work-home until I retire. There has to be more to life than this!

Forty
As I've mentioned, my dad passed away on October 11, 2014. That was a devastating loss! I'm still trying to come to terms with it. Just yesterday I caught myself thinking that I should go visit him while I was in Aylmer. My heart sunk when I realized that I couldn't.

Dad worked hard all of his life only to be forced into early retirement because of his COPD. That just reinforced this feeling of something missing. I wasn't living a fulfilling life.

Driving to work, looking at the people in neighbouring cars stuck in traffic with me. The same look of discontent and fatigue in their eyes. What are we all doing? Why are we all doing it? I can't go on like this. It's absurd! I need to make stuff happen!

So this is what I started this year. I'm trying things I've never tried before, but always wanted to try. And why not? I can!

I don't think there's any one thing that pushed me to make stuff happen. I think it's a series of events and realizations. There have been many contributing things. Deaths. Heartbreaks. My daughter. Meeting interesting people. Realizing that people are more interesting than they may seem at first. Letting go of my ideals. Learning to accept the things I can't change. Changing what I can. Getting out of my comfort zone and seeing that it's actually not that bad and can be quite enjoyable.

Nothing lasts forever. Not the good. Not the bad. Our time on earth is limited. There's so much to see, do and learn! Don't you want to make the most of it? I know I do! What have you always wanted to do? Why haven't you done it? Is that a good reason or is it a fake obstacle you've created? Make stuff happen!

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