Lesson #20: don’t be afraid to throw your list out the window

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Before I wrote about the importance of taking a big risk once and awhile, well two months later and the message still rings true, so here are some more thoughts on embracing change and letting old ideas go! 

Living in a big city means that there are plenty of ways to get distracted. There are people to be met, baked good to be devoured, museums to be perused, mountains to be climbed, bands to be appreciated, trinkets to be purchased, temples to be photographed, drinks to be drunk, karaoke to be sung, monks to be waied, trivia nights to be won, experiences to be documented, massages to be had, dance clubs to be frequented, articles to be written, children to be taught, conversations to be enjoyed, essentially a whole tangled web of things to get lost in, consumed by, blissfully distracted by. Pulling me away from my initial idea of what I thought I would do with my time here. Because, believe me I came with a plan-a master plan of the artist I would become, the people I would meet, the ways I would spend my nights, the number of massages I would get, the dedication with which I would attack my job.  Yes, I came with plans, but at this point they are as distant as home.

So, instead of following some preconceived checklist, I’m following what interests me, what feels good in the moment. Everything has changed since I moved to Chiang Mai and the picture that I had of what this experience would be like has been totally erased. Where I work, where I live, what I do with my free time (wait read that list again, it might be short but it’s weighty). It has been wiped clear, but here’s the catch everything that has replaced it is better than I would have thought. Yes, better than I thought.  Sometimes holding on too fiercely to what you pictured does not leave you open to change that might just take things in a new, even more fulfilling, direction.

The other day I woke up with a complete picture of how my day would go; work, write a blog post, yoga, grab some dinner, home. A list, a short working outline that had the potential to dictate my entire day. I did go to work, but afterwards ended up on the back of a motorbike in search of a cave said to be graced with a print of the buddhas hand. We didn’t make it, instead we encountered a 10 foot snake, turned around in fear, got caught in a rainstorm, took refuge in a mans house on the side of the mountain, ate broad beans, sung karaoke, and over enthusiastically tried to teach the YMCA dance.

Plans are good, they keep us motivated, on track, and help us determine what truly matters. However, let them be flammable. Whether it is something as simple as what you will do with your day or something as permanent as where you will live – don’t be afraid to toss it into the rubbish bin, dose it in oil, and set that bad boy ablaze.

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