Last week on a white water rafting trip with my family, I asked one of our guides what he did in the off-season.
His name was Chris and without skipping a beat, he told me that for the past five years he has spent his summers rafting all over the West, then heads down to South America guiding trips throughout the winter – with a few stops in between, including skiing in Colorado and teaching classes in Costa Rica where his girlfriend runs Yoga retreats. Oh, there’s also the crowd-funding campaign and documentary he’s working with some friends to raise awareness and environmental support for a neglected river in Mexico.
Wait, you do what?!
Thankfully he didn’t ask me what I did, or I would have had to reply that I spend most of my time working in front of a computer except, of course, when I’m in an SUV driving my kids around surburbia-ville.
I soon found myself in serious “grass is greener” territory, totally envious of Chris’ free-spirited lifestyle. I wondered how fast I could sell all of our possessions so we could spend the next few years traveling all over the world — where there are no carpools, mortgage bills, or unlimited data plans.
Yoga in Costa Rica, here I come!
Then reality hit, not like a bolt of lightning but like a cold, refreshing waterfall nourishing the river below.
The reality was that I could…but that I am choosing not to.
To varying degrees, we are all blessed with an abundance of choices all around us: from where we want to live, to what kind of career we want, to who we choose to have in our lives and, most importantly, how we react to the present circumstances before us.
Yet sometimes it’s easy to forget that. It’s easy to fall into the mentality of “have to’s” and should’s” rather than recognize all the micro- and macro- choices we make that create our current reality. It’s easy to say “whoa, is me,” rather than take action to create more of the life we want.
So, if you find yourself hit with a pang of envy, like I did for a fleeting moment on the Salmon River, the first thing you should do is ask yourself why.
For me, as much as I sometimes hate to admit it, I kinda like the comforts of surburbia-ville. Yet there’s also part of me that craves being outside and the spontaneity and freedom of traveling that our free-spirited river guide seemed to enjoy on a regular basis. Hence, the envy.
The next step is ask yourself what you are going to do about it.
I know, easier said than done. But you have a choice. You can continue to keep company with that green-eyed monster, or you can start taking some action to move toward what you want– even if the steps you take are teeny, tiny baby steps.
In my case, I’m not ready to drop everything for a life on the road (or raft). But since our trip, I changed my schedule to include more mini-breaks when I am not tethered to a computer or phone 24/7. I also re-did next year’s budget to include more spontaneous travel and less material possessions, useless cable stations, and activities that don’t light us up, as well as ways I can grow my income.
Easy, peasy – and I didn’t have to move to Costa Rica to do it!
~Jennifer Faherty is a Certified Life Coach, specializing in helping women find their passion and develop a healthy relationship with money. She can be found at www.jenniferfaherty.com or on Twitter @jenniferfaherty.