I awoke from my dream with that very distinct message. It had been nothing spectacular; I had been scheduled to sing and had to choose what to wear on stage. In typical teenage style I had tried on a few outfits at the last moment, dreams can be amazingly visceral as I felt the tight curves of the corset and the firm grip of the fishnets.
Yet, no longer a teenager, and hampering no desires to become a budding Madonna, instead I had the dreamy thought that life has become comfortable and perhaps it’s time for a different tact.
Recently I had read a book to the kids about a young 8-year old who feels very safe and comfortable in her world, and her mum and dad take a year off from their regular life and they all go driving around Aussie in a large campervan.
As I was reading the book, I could see how my kids – who are a bit younger - will also benefit from the new experiences our own travel plans will bring this year. It’s as if we have all been in an incubator for a while and, although there is still the need for a cosy family cocoon, it’s becoming more mobile.
I used to think I wanted to be a full time parent, then I had kids and felt the relief of handing them off at a young age so I could return to being (a corporate version of) me for a while each day. But that took its toll and, as the kids emerged more into themselves and the world around them, it became evident that mum and home were deeply desired aspects of life.
Trying to do more was too exhausting for all of us. So we convalesced a while, breathing deeply into the relaxed world we were creating, pulling back from the conventional and occasionally testing the limits of it with the more social and mandatory aspects that kindergarten and school machines bring.
Life is not perfect, it would require more flexibility of the machine to get nearer to that, but we have found our happy medium, a more contented place than the one we were in a few years back living crazy frenetic lives. There is more to be had from the machine, more playdates, more activities, but that is not it, we do not want to join that momentum, it’s exhausting.
There is more to life, yet when ‘more’ feels wearing that is your sign it is not the more you are seeking. Travel beckons to begin; it is more, and it gives more, not draining but filling our cup which seems somehow empty right now. This is a good sign, when space is created the ‘more’ that you have been in search of can come, so we shall see where that takes us.
Another thought popped up in my dream, in that semiconscious haze between sleep and awake, as I smiled in realization and relief that it was not a secretly harboured desire to become an aging popstar that it was conveying, but the memory of another dream.
In the other dream, too confusing to convey, I had a moment of clarity as I thought about this body that I am in. In my forties it’s not quite the same as the body I had in my teens that could carry off corsets and fishnets in the various guises of 80’s and 90’s fashion, but I’m fairly certain that as the years progress I will remember this body as it is now and wonder at why I did not celebrate it more.
In those teenage years, there were many hours spent experimenting with hairstyles and make up, clothing and accessories, fascination with the different looks that could be created in line with the differing moods that prevailed. In the years of the corporate chase, make up and such clothing became part of the uniform, yet still it was a reflection of the mood of the day.
I’m not the type to want to apply makeup or get dressed up to simply be at home, nor do I care much for socializing, I like comfortable. Yet, here is my dream, prodding me with memories of the fun in experimenting with new looks, heralding whatever transformation in our lives is in the process of unfolding.
While it’s fascinating to open up to the messages we give ourselves night after night, they are like riddles if you are not used to reading your own signals. There is no book that can give you your personal interpretation, though some can help inspire the answers you are looking for.
This comfort zone I am breaking out of is well known to me. Yet I cannot point and show you where this journey is leading and neither am I bound to any image of what that might be. I simply trust that life is unfolding in exactly the way I want it to, with all the myriad of things I have wished for (in the rejection of things not wanted) coming to fruition.
It doesn’t matter whether you know specifically what you want, or whether – like me – you can only describe aspects of it and how you want to feel when you have it. Either way, you need to create space in your life for new experiences.
Breaking out of your comfort zone is a natural part of life’s cycles of growth. The trick is to push yourself in areas that inspire rather than drain you. Take your inspiration wherever you can find it, in your dreams, in a magazine, or in a fleeting conversation while waiting in line for a coffee, or a deep and meaningful catch up with a friend; that is what will lead you to your best life.
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