I don’t think it’ll really be real until I see a voicemail from my parents’ number and it no longer says:
expectation to be crushed
But what’s been most crushing is the expectation that I should be crushed. It’s like the world expects me to fall apart with guts hanging out, expects me to implode into total darkness, expects me to drift into unconsciousness, and/or expects me to completely lose my shit.
People, I can’t live up to your expectations!!! Of course, I was deeply shocked. Still kinda am. Of course, I was sad. Of course, I cried. A lot. But I coached my clients better than ever. One client even said she got her money’s worth and we’re only at week 6 of 18. I got a shit load of logistics and paperwork done post-funeral. My brothers and I pumped up the music and purged the house of mountains of mountains of random things. And I hoped back on a plane to continue my Exquisite Freedom tour.
What's with this odd expectation that I should be crushed? I'm not. I'm saddened by it all. It hurts when I think about it, but I'm not crushed.
Can you imagine what it’s even like?
To me, death is the ultimate freedom. I’ve gone against so many grains, I’ve broken so many rules, and I’ve yanked off so many shackles (very painful, not gonna lie). I’m not afraid of death. Death is the sweetest freedom there ever could be because I have NO regrets.
Can you image what that’s even like? To not have a single regret? Not a single one? If I died tomorrow, there’s nothing I would have or could have done differently. There’s nothing I wanted to be that I am not already. There’s no quality I wanted that I haven’t cultivated.
There’s no residue of guilt. No residue of should have, could have, would have. No residue of FOMO. No residue of inadequacy. No residue of comparison. No residue of societal, cultural or parental expectations.
Of course I have big dreams. But even if none of them ever come to fruition, I know I am the person I’ve always wanted to be. And if I’m given another day, another week, another month or another several decades, I will continue to be me-er than me. <fist bump Dr. Seuss>
Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong
Though I post fun photos of my adventures, just know that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Flights have been cancelled, causing domino mayhem with non-refundable hotels and non-refundable local transport. My luggage was lost. Then thankfully it was found. The uncertainty of it was tough. Flights have been majorly delayed. Homestays have been un-findable. My dad died suddenly. So what? I just curl up in a ball and call it quits? Hell, no!
My entire 13-country trip was $5,500 in flights. And this one last-minute trip from Bali to Vancouver to attend my dad’s funeral was $3,000. It just doesn’t seem right to me.
I was so, so, so triggered by this financial “injustice.” And anger is always a mask for shame… shame that I wasn’t the rich eldest doctor sole-provider retirement-account son my dad wanted, shame that I didn’t earn more to give to the family, shame that when I did earn lots more I set titanium boundaries around no longer being the family provider and “money tree” (ie, you shake it and money falls out).
<deep sigh> So. Much. Shame.
I was swimming with turtles off the islands of Gili Air and Gili Meno, East of Bali. And it was like swimming with dad: they’re both old, wrinkly, brown, slow and putz around.
And the most eerie experience is that with every passing day, I just feel fibers of pain, fear, and scarcity dissipate from my body. It’s like when my dad died, so much of that pain, fear, and scarcity died with him.
3 Daily questions toward exquisite freedom
So what, I just stop traveling? I just give up my adventures. I just give up on who I am because things got all topsy-turvy in my life, beyond my control? Hell, no!
What keeps me grounded are these 3 daily questions I ask myself:
- Am I further along today than I was yesterday. The answer is magically always YES, even if I got “nothing” done today.
- Have I chosen courage over fear? The answer is not always YES, but at least it’s way more often YES than it is no.
- Can I re-purpose the thing that I’m working on? If YES, proceed. If no, work on something else.
What’s the ONE thing that made you successful?
Along my travels, someone asked me what’s the ONE thing that has contributed most greatly to my success and freedom.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And my answer is: there is NO one thing. I could give you a list of 100, maybe even 1000 things around self-improvement, forgiveness, love, leadership, wealth mastery, mindset, marketing, relationships, resilience, habit, etc., etc., etc.
But she insisted on one thing. And in the moment, all that came out as the greatest contributor to my success is a silent promise I made to my non-existent child (if I ever chose to have any) that I would never for a single moment look at them and think, “I once had a dream, and then I had you, and there went my dreams.” Not ever. Not for a single moment.
If it means I need to be financially free and the kind of mom who can and will hire a nanny, a cook, a chauffeur, and a pear tree full time, I will. Without the side dish of guilt. Without the side dish of regret.
You just don’t break soul promises. Period.