Why hitting rock bottom is the best thing that ever happened to me.
I think we’ve all heard a story like this one before.
I spent most of my adult life chasing after big dreams. I wanted the career, the big office, the husband, kids, dog & a shiny new condo downtown. I was going after all of this with only money on my mind and for the wrong reasons. I desperately wanted to keep up with the Jones’.
I was working around the clock, drinking coffee like a mad woman and had jitters to the point that being hooked up to a coffee IV would have probably felt the same.
When I wasn’t chained to my desk, I was partying all night long, spending my hard earned cash on endless rounds of drinks. Trying to forget it all. I got in with the wrong crowd. We went to underground bars and got into any mischief worth the thrill.
During the day, I was chasing after every new shiny thing because society told me that it’s what I was supposed to do. Consume more. New phone, new laptop, perfectly pressed outfit & friends who complimented me on my expensive haircut or my freshly manicured nails.
I was leading a pretty posh life, but I was unhappy - exhausted really - and it just wasn’t happening.
I wasn’t getting any closer to the life I wanted. It always seemed so far out of reach. To make things worst, between the stress of work, my toxic relationships, hardly ever eating anything & sleeping less than four hours on a good night, I started getting really sick. Until one day it got so bad that I just couldn’t get out of bed anymore.
I spent an entire summer cooped up in my apartment sleeping and just trying my best to stay alive. I was depressed, in physical pain constantly, I didn’t know what to do with myself & I pushed every single person I knew out of my life.
I wanted out.
That’s when I learnt that sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom in order to figure out you’ve been on the wrong path for way too long and you’ve ignored all of life’s flashing neon signs telling you to turn around now.
I’m a go big or go home kind of gal. It’s all or nothing for me. So I figured I would use my stubbornness & resilience towards something that made a little more sense. I started with “if it isn’t super useful or doesn’t make you happy, chuck it”. I used that idea on everything. From my apartment to my things & even some of my so called friends. Everything and everyone who didn’t make my life a little brighter got the boot.
I’m going to be real with you right here and tell you that it’s not an experiment for the faint-hearted. Cutting people out and getting rid of things can be a tough business. However, when your life’s toxic meter is through the roof and it becomes a “them or me” survival situation, you’ve got to learn to make the tough call. So I did.
Once I had a somewhat clean slate, I focused all of my remaining energy on figuring out how to get myself out of my health mess. I was way underweight and kind of looked akin to a Halloween decoration. Ghoulish eyes and stuck out bones are not a cute look on anyone. I had some pretty serious digestive issues and I couldn’t sleep. "Hot mess" didn't even begin to cover how I felt.
Good news is, I was always a bit of a book nerd, so I buried myself in all the health / diet / lifestyle books I could get my hands on.
I replaced my round-the-clock working with learning. I wanted to figure this thing out because I knew that being a zombie was no way to live.
Fast forward a few years
Today my life couldn’t be any more different. I look back at how I was before - malnourished, on edge, freaking out all the time - and relish in how I feel in my body now.
These days, my life is just as full as before, but there are some enormous differences. A new mindset is at the root of it all. I call it, the slow life.
The rules of engagement, if there were to be some, would look something like this.
Take a deep breath. Be present. Grow something. Learn to be more mindful. Tune into your body. Focus on what's essential. Get rooted. Nourish yourself. Cook local, seasonal, plant-based recipes. Live smaller. Love bigger.
Instead of building my days around MORE I build my days around LESS.
I ask myself questions that force me to be more mindful.
An example would be: What are the three things I can do today that would serve my family, my garden, my life & my business best? While keeping in mind the things that bring me the most joy. I try to avoid busy-work with all my might.
I rest when I’m tired. Even if it’s just for two minutes.
I constantly question things that I buy. Do I really need this? Will I keep it for a really long time? Will it truly serve me?
I look around me. At nature. At the seasons and wonder how I can get in sync with it. I try to get up with the sun. I cook things that grow now, out of respect for the earth & in support of my local community, their farms, their families.
I have come to realize that I am an infinitely small piece in the puzzle that is life, but that by aligning myself with the natural order of the universe I can achieve mighty things. And you can too.