jen spencer coaches

Everyone’s Stuck Somewhere
08 03 15, 9:53 am
Filed under: Growth + Development, Thought-Provoking

I was standing in the Rome train station renting a car for our Italian adventure when I heard what I thought was an Italian speaking eloquent English.  “I thought you were Italian!” I said.

“No, I’m from California, but I’ve lived here for 5 years.  And I really wish we could go home.  But we are stuck here right now.” This woman was in what most people consider one of the most magnificent cities in the world.  And she wanted to go home.

We had been planning this trip to Italy for almost 2 years.  A month some place far away.  I love Austin, but if I don’t leave it, I feel trapped.  Must be the gypsy in me. So my husband and I had been negotiating how this would happen for years when we finally decided to start planning it.

I had taken a month off before, but it was a bigger deal for him.  He had never taken that long of a vacation in his adult life.  And he’s a Group Creative Director and a team player, so leaving for that long was definitely a conversation.  But he had the support of his boss, so he took the time off.

Oh, and we have a 2.5 year old.  Yes, we are adventurous and crazy.

Like most of the people we know (and America, in general), we both work hard.  Really hard.

At one point in the planning I remember thinking we should just push the trip out a year, but in my heart I knew if we didn’t get out of the country, the reset and refill as well as family connection I needed wouldn’t be able to happen.

Traveling through Italy and Sicily was amazing … and challenging, with some really positive experiences and some great confrontations.  We glamorize, romanticize and create false assumptions about travel and then we are confronted with the reality, there in the moment.  You’re in this fabulous place with all of these amazing sensory moments – beautiful sites, great food, beaches, medieval towns, cathedrals that would make even an agnostic stare in awe.  The incredible wine.  Did I mention the amazing food?  And that beauty of the passion you experience by being in a place that’s main priority isn’t about making money.

And there are some maddening elements that go along with that.  Not speaking the language, the inefficiency of how the country operates, and staying in 6 places where dinner doesn’t start till 8pm while traveling with a toddler.

I expected to have great insights and creative sparks while we were there.  I read 3 books, wrote in a journal several times a week, slept soundly most nights.  But the perspective shift came after we arrived home.

The first day back, I walked to get milk in a jet-lagged haze down the street, and I looked around.  Austin didn’t feel quite the same to me.  I didn’t feel quite the same.

Four weeks into re-entry, I’m clearer about the things that matter to me in my work and life.  I’m clearer about what I need to say yes and no to.  I have such a heightened awareness about the stress I allow and create in my life.  I have a greater awareness of what my child, husband, and my self needs.

It’s still a “work-in-progress” as I navigate the realities of life at home.  But I’m grateful for our experience to be able to see my strengths, gaps, and values differently.

And it made me realize, like that woman in the train station, everyone is stuck somewhereTweet

But even when you are stuck, knowing what matters most and understanding who are – your truth – can always help you get through to the other side.

That’s the life journey – to get unstuck, over and over and over and over again. Tweet

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