I’m in the midst of planning out setting intentions for 2018, as a part of my Annual Review process. You can read that article for the full details on what an annual review is and how to conduct one yourself, but today I wanted to address something that came up while I was looking back at 2017 as a part of this process.
When I first started reflecting on 2017, it seemed like a pretty ‘blah’ year.
There were highlights, like my first backpacking trip (it was epic), getting good enough at poi to attend a high-end retreat in British Columbia, finally launching a YouTube channel, making new RVing friends, and spending a lot of time with my family over the summer. When I lay my accomplishments in a list like this, I can see that while at times it felt like I was spinning my wheels (RVer humor), I did get plenty accomplished.
But overall there was less passion than in previous years on the road. Some people measure a successful year by the amount of money they make, or the amount of prestige they garner. I’ve never been that person. I gauge a successful year by how fulfilled I am. And in 2017 I didn’t feel as fulfilled. In fact, much of the year I felt this undercurrent of uneasiness.
I found this distressing, and frequently asked myself over the course of the year why this was happening and more importantly: how I could fix it.
We’re so close to our own problems that sometimes it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Towards the end of the year I finally started figuring it out. This was a call for change.
For me, the need for a big change doesn’t arrive all in one moment, it builds over months. It starts as a sort of restlessness, as my subconscious (you could also substitute the word ‘heart’ here) realizes that something isn’t working. But for whatever reason my subconscious self (heart) can’t just inform my conscious self (brain) in plain words…. I guess if it could it wouldn’t be your subconscious, huh? Anyway, the feeling of ‘something isn’t right’ increases until I finally acknowledge it.
Once I recognize that restlessness for what it is, it moves into phase two: a jittery sort of tension that builds as my conscious and subconscious (brain and heart) pinpoint exactly what the problem is, and then work on solutions.
I came to realize there have been a lot of parallels between 2017, and the second half of 2010/first half of 2011, when I was feeling a general dissatisfaction with the way things were and decided to go full-timing.
At first I thought this need for change was all tied to the desire to switch rigs and try a different form of RVing, but the jittery feeling has continued after I placed my order for the Hiker Trailer in October. Placing that order was the right thing to do, it’s that the call for change is greater than just switching rigs.
We’d all like our lives (and blog posts) to be as neat as a story with steady progression divided into clear chapters. But life seldom works that way. As I work on goals and intentions for 2018, my inner compass is telling me I’m on the right track and I’m feeling a stirring of the passion that got me on the road in the first place. But the unsettled feeling is still there, so I’m not completely out of the woods yet.
But at least looking back at 2017 now with a little perspective, I can appreciate it for what it was: that somewhat awkward lull between the ending of one plotline and the start of the next. Here’s to 2018!