As this year is coming to an end, there are several good things to remember. At this time, I like to look back and consolidate the lessons learned from the years’ ongoings. I feel stronger, have more confidence in myself, a clearer direction as to where I am headed and also feel much lighter, as every end is a new beginning!
Having done my inner “end of year review”, I’d like to share with you the most important life lessons I’ve learnt in the past year.
I want to take things lightly
I’ve been struggling to be perfect most of my life. I’ve spent a large portion of my youth and early adulthood obsessing about essays and projects I had to hand in to my University / Masters’ / windsurfing / personal training course professors and tutors and I have literally lost hours of my life in the quest to make something “perfect”. Trying to be perfect in several things at a time – studies, relationships, career, training, you name it – made my life, ehhhmmm, exhausting! I am now comfortable with “doing well” most of the time, which is 80-90% of the time. Doing well for me is, still, performing at quite high standards, minus all the stress from trying to be “perfect”. To put all this in one sentence, I now prefer doing well pursuing multiple projects, areas or goals in my life instead of obsessing over how to achieve perfection in two or three.
Trust the universe
Trust life itself. I must confess that whenever I was faced with a decision that involved any sort of “risk”, I tried to control the outcome by any means possible. Like, when I knew I just needed to “dive in the water” and see what’s on the bottom of the sea, instead of just plunging in, I would consider the approach of “taking diving lessons” in order to a) delay taking the plunge, b) still feel like I was doing something towards fulfilling my need or goal. This year I have learnt to just get on with it or – in the opposite extreme- do nothing to force something to happen. The valuable lesson I’ve learnt is that’s how the universe actually works. Of course you need to work towards your goals and needs, but how about the times when you just need to not do anything? Now, there are times when I just think to myself “Evi, how about not making anything happen for the next days”? Then, whilst doing nothing about a goal or need, something just kicks my butt out of nowhere and I fall in exactly the situation where I need to be in order to move forward with it! After having a few of this revelations (and trust me, sometimes it takes months to be kicked in the butt by the universe) I can allow myself to flow with the experiences and coincidences without controlling life. Whenever I realise I am trying to force something, I make myself stop. Likewise, whenever I realise I just need to take the plunge, I just do it.
Time is the most valuable thing I own
In the past, I used to chain myself down and feel imprisoned by others’ needs, wants or expectations. I used to base my self worth on how much I did for other people, how supportive I was, or how useful I was to their well-being. Nowadays, working as a windsurfing instructor and personal trainer means I need to devote a lot of time to taking good care of my clients. I need to have energy to be not only physically but also mentally present for them, I need to be able to understand and take care of their needs and I also need to be able to motivate them. Parallel to that, I need energy for my own evolution, goals and commitments, which involve my career, relationships, training and my general well-being. Because of that, I have taken responsibility to only do what I want and to invest my time and energy in what I think is right. I don’t seek for other peoples’ opinion, nor do I need anyone to guide me or confirm to me that I am headed in the right direction. I have learnt how to tell the truth about what I can or can’t do, or make a polite excuse when I can’t tell all the truth.
Encouraging my childlike self to come out and play
What was your childhood like? Whilst growing up, I remember myself thinking I was too “serious” about life. I wasn’t as carefree as I wanted and it seemed to me like I was growing up too fast. If you haven’t met me in person, I look serious and -until you get to know me better- you will most likely receive a neutral face expression when you interact with me. This year I’ve learnt that giving the little Evi free rein instead of stopping her all the time helps me tap into the power and the glory of life. It gets me closer to other people and it takes me to places that were not even on the map before. Now, whenever I get in my car to drive to the beach for a windsurfing session I sing out loud, when I land a nice move or ride a nice wave in the water I scream “woo-hoo” several times or when I am alone or with a friend I just let myself be silly or ridiculous just for the pure enjoyment of setting myself free. I used to have this absurd belief that life is always about being serious, that I need to be responsible and that it is my duty to make things happen all the time. Now I am less afraid to make my face look crooked in order to express how I am feeling or to make a joke to someone. There is so much freedom in letting my body do what it wants instead of controlling it all the time for fear of looking stupid.
I will never stop learning
Ever! My Bsc was in Business Administration, then did an MBA with specialisation in technology, then became a windsurfing instructor, then a personal trainer. Education never stops if I want to be a serious professional and if I want to keep evolving. Nowadays, working as a personal trainer, I realise that I haven’t even scratched the surface of knowledge and experience around the human body. Despite being in the windsurfing world for over 15 years now, I still have much more to learn in order to help my students evolve and experience new things and sensations on the water. For the last couple of years I’ve spent a lot of time reading around subjects which have to do with training and nutrition and the more I read, the more I realise how much information is out there. Helping my clients is so much more than designing and delivering a training session or filling their head with the details of a windsurfing technique before they hit the water.
Life is about having fun
The purpose of my life used to be “achieving things”. Getting something done and then moving to the next thing. And getting that done, too. I was evolving at the speed of light on the outside yet feeling unfulfilled inside. This year I have learnt how to reduce speed and take time to appreciate what I am creating, how I am evolving, how I am feeling, the people I have around me, as well as life itself. I want to live my life as fully as possible. After all, we only spend our life once. I want to make it a good life!
May the coming year provide a platform for you to shine in all that you love and do! And remember, what’s great about the beginning of a new year is the chance to start over!
Bring on 2017