Chaos and the Unknown vs the Mundane and Predictable

A constant tension in my life is summed up by Allison Vesterfelt in her book Packing Light, “As scared as  I was of chaos and the unknown, I was equally scared of the mundane and predictable.” Since about half way through college, I have had serious fears when looking  into my future. One of the principal fears is the fear of boredom. I do not want to live a life with a routine that does not excite me. I have always been afraid of being stuck in front of the television each night watching sitcoms or sports. I am afraid of doing the same thing every day. Afraid of not exploring the world, and missing the chance to truly live. At the same time that I find myself wrapped up in fears of not having a life that I enjoyed, I want nothing more than to be comfortable in a predictable world with a nice house, a nice job, a nice salary, and no stress.
In college I was not sure what I needed to do to find a way to live a life that fell in them middle of my two fears.  As a sophomore I was active with coaching cross country and some basketball, and I was getting great grades in school, but I was not a complete person, and I was not sure what direction I wanted my life to move in.  I began to question my desires, and worry about the importance of material things, especially if I did not have real relationships and fun people to share my imagined success with.  I eventually began to take more chances and I got involved with clubs and organizations. I started as a member of the Spanish Club and eventually grew to start my own podcast where I interviewed student leaders to highlight the cool things that students at the University of Nevada did beyond the classroom. This taught me about how important it was to take chances and put yourself in situations that are new and scary. All of the guests of my podcast found a way to go beyond the comfortable success they wanted in college to do things that were difficult, not always clear, and so often rich with relationships and new connections.
As I have moved forwards in life, graduating from college and entering the world of the 40 hour work week, I am still working on understanding how to live a life that balances the chaos of the unknown with the mundane and familiar.  I have turned to podcasts to help me explore new areas, and have put myself in positions that will provide me with opportunities to explore. The real lesson that I have learned is that it is ok to allow myself to build a safe place and a home that can be predictable, so that when I do begin to branch out and explore,  there is a safe place I can return to, allowing the world to slow down around me.
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Chaos and the Unknown vs the Mundane and Predictable

A constant tension in my life is summed up by Allison Vesterfelt in her book Packing Light, “As scared as I was of chaos and the unknown, I was equally scared of the mundane and predictable.” By the time I was half way through college I began to feel a serious angst when looking forwards to my future. The fear I was developing was the fear of boredom. I did not want to live a life with a routine that did not excite me. I was afraid of being stuck in front of the television each night watching sitcoms or sports. I was afraid of doing the same thing every day. I was afraid of not exploring the world, and missing the chance to truly live. At the same time that I was wrapped up in fears of not having a life that I enjoyed, I wanted nothing more than the security of the predictable; to be comfortable in a nice house with a nice job, a nice salary, and no stress.
I was not sure what I needed to do to find a way to live a life that fell in the middle of my two fears.  As a sophomore in college I was active with coaching cross country and some basketball, and I was getting great grades in school, but I was not a complete person, and I was not sure what direction I wanted my life to move in.  I began to question my desires, and worry about the importance of material things in the absence of real relationships and fun people to share my imagined success with.  I eventually began to take more chances and I got involved with clubs and organizations. I started as a member of the Spanish Club and eventually grew to start my own podcast where I interviewed student leaders to highlight the cool things that students at the University of Nevada were active in beyond the classroom. This taught me about how important it was to take chances and put yourself in situations that are new and scary. All of the guests of my podcast found a way to go beyond the comfortable success they wanted in college to do things that were difficult, not always clear, and so often rich with relationships and new connections.
As I have moved forwards graduating from college and entering the world of the 40 hour work week, I am still working on understanding how to live a life that balances the chaos of the unknown with the mundane and familiar.  I have turned to podcasts to help me explore new areas, and have put myself in positions that will provide me with opportunities to explore. The real lesson that I have learned is that it is ok to allow myself to build a safe place and a home that can be predictable, so that when I do begin to branch out and explore, I have a place to return to, allowing the world to slow down around me.

Fear & Goals

“After all, we’re all scared of wanting something.” I think this quote from Allison Vesterfelt is a good place for us to base our views of ourselves and others.  Too often I find that it is easy for me to look at other people and ignore the fact that they want something, an object, a promotion, to be in better shape, or to be more confident, and think of them as self content bubbles without goals or motivation. I think that it is important for us to look at the things that scare us, and ask why we are afraid of those things. Are they things we desire but are not sure how to take the first step towards action? Are they things we desire but are afraid to tell others we want? Are they things we desire but we fear that they do not fit in with the identity that we have created for ourselves?
Understanding your own fear of attaining something, and identifying the ways in which that fear lacks a true base can help you overcome it. You may find that the fear does not go away, but that you find a new way to be confident about your goals because you know that the fear you bring with you is irrational and can be overcome.
This quote also helps me see other people in better ways. I try hard to look at someone and see that they have interests in certain areas and goals and desires related to those interests. Perhaps once one masters that, they begin to be the person who can help connect people with the paths towards their goals and desires, I do not know because I am not at that point.  For me, understanding the fear that I have and how it affects me, helps me to remember that other people may face the same or greater fears, and once I understand the base of my fear I can better see that the fear that other people have may be based on something more concrete than the anxious worries of my fear.

Starting Something & Feeling Overwhelmed

It is so perfect that this quote resurfaces for me right now. Just six pages after I made the highlight which I discussed in my previous post I highlighted a section from Allison Vesterfelt’s book Packing Light which read, “It’s just one little baby step at a time,” she continued. “If you try to figure out how to do everything, all at once, you’ll get overwhelmed.” in this passage she is referring to her friend who convinced her to go on a life altering road trip and explore her writing talents. Leading up to the trip Allison was very nervous, and not sure where to start, what to say goodbye to in order to go on the trip, and what she expected from the trip. This quote really works perfectly for me because I feel as though I have so many expectations for success, my life, and the person I want to be, that at times I become overwhelmed. I want to be a successful runner, a consistent podcaster, and a good boyfriend all while working full time. This is an incredible undertaking for someone who has just graduated, and I think I need to hear this message more often.
For me another powerful piece of advice has been simply to allow things to take longer. My running coach recently said to me after an achilles tendon injury, “You’re not going to the Olympics, so you have no reason not to take some time off and let things recover.” That piece of advice has combined with others in my head from other books and podcasts, to help me understand that I need to remove the pressure to be great immediately. I can allow everything to be a process, and allow myself to have times where I start back at square one to build a solid base and foundation in areas of my life that I want to be complete.
Allison explained this advice as a way to help you take the first step, avoid the fear of the unknown and starting something different, and try doing something new in your life. I think what I have combined with this advice is that your action can be small, and even seem inconsequential at first, if you understand that one day it will be a building block to your own pyramid, tower, or peak of what you want.