Old Dog, New Tricks


I'm not a fan of New Year's Resolutions – I think they rather set one up for failure. However, this past couple of years have been chock full of new things for me; being off work, a major career shift, going sober, going vegan, really embracing yoga and meditation, writing these articles, taking online nutrition courses. It's funny, I complain about being busy and I complain about all the learning I'm doing and how tired I am; but really it's been fabulous and so mind opening, and eye opening and life opening.

Many of us get into our routine, our way of doing things, and it's comfortable – boring but comfortable. Often the older we get the more we shy from major changes, from taking a leap and embracing something new. Fear gets hold of people and it can be such a difficult thing to conquer. It's easier to take a step back into the familiar, into the routine, into the rut and just continue along on the journey of life.



Rather than make huge changes, I've been focusing more on looking at each small thing. For example, when I first looked into veganism, I seriously thought I could never do this because it was too much – too much learning, too much reading labels, too much figuring out meals – it's overwhelming (as so many things often are) and so for a little while I took a step back. It kept bugging me though, so I watched a few documentaries, and I read a little about it, and I made a few vegan meals here and there. For the first while, I didn't even tell anyone so I didn't feel any pressure to succeed, I just carried on quietly seeing how it went. After a few weeks, it became easier and easier and now it's something I don't even think about. It's just who I am.

This new job has been really difficult – it's a line of work I've never done before and the overwhelm has been pretty bad some days. What I'm finding is, that if I just go to work and do each thing without getting myself all in a tizzy about all the other stuff coming up next, my tension level isn't nearly as high. It's much easier to put everything into little “compartments” and focus on one at a time. And now, a couple months in, tasks that seemed insurmountable are sliding into place and things that confused the heck out of me are making sense. It's a wonderful feeling to be in a new career, working with new people, and finding my place there.



I've made a point over the last couple of years to listen to audio books when I'm walking the dog. I alternate; I listen to a good fiction book, and then the next book has to be “educational”; I've listened to some on veganism, some on money, health etc. I always said I didn't have time to read all the books I want to read, but I have to walk the dog regardless and I find this is a good way to get some learning into my not so young brain. Instead of having this monstrous list of educational books I want to read and talk myself out of because I'm too busy, I download one at a time and then reward myself with some good fiction in between.

I've decided to take this practice into all areas of my life. Rather than stay in my safe rut, I'm going to tackle new things a little bit at a time, without putting undue pressure and unrealistic goals on myself. I'm going to learn. Change is good for the brain, and “leaping” can be done in little jumps rather than one huge leap. Getting out of your comfort zone is sometimes easier when you step out of it gently, while still embracing the unknown.

Gwen

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