After a 30+ hour travel itinerary from the other side of the world, I finally arrived home. Like I mentioned in my post about Bali, I think I was traveling for more days than is good for the introvert for me, so honestly, I was SO relieved to finally be around some familiar routine again. The only downside is that food poisoning hit me a few hours after I reached to my parents’ place. But talk about some luck, right? Praise the travel gods that I wasn’t a sickly wreck on each of the plane rides home!

Also, I was kind of glad I got mega-ill and had to sleep my fever away upstairs during my time at home because my entire extended family was downstairs celebrating a holiday together and I wanted to avoid that interaction anyway. I had been unproductive towards dream-pursuing my entire time in Bali and my momentum from right before the trip was straight up gone. The truth is that by the end of my trip, I was trying to figure out how I’d field each of the following questions from my family members when I returned to the states:

  1. How are you?
  2. What are you doing now that you have no job?
  3. What have you gotten done so far?
  4. What deadlines have you set for yourself?
  5. What are your goals?

All things I hadn’t really defined for myself. And in terms of “how are you”, well… do you know how loaded that question is?! Long story short, I feel like crap because I haven’t done anywhere near as much as I feel like I should have yet.

I didn’t want to face them and have to deal with that shame. So, The Universe, I guess, granted me some help navigating this by making me way too ill to go downstairs.

But the worst part of dealing with sickness when your momentum is already at a low, is that, because you don’t have a manager to hold you accountable or any real deadlines, you use it as an excuse to keep from getting back into your dream-following groove. You know?

I’m still recovering so I don’t have to start working on the important stuff again.

The honeymoon phase had officially ended, people. Oh, how it has ended.

I still didn’t regret quitting because I left a really horrible situation, but I did keep wondering what the hell I was thinking when I took this huge leap of faith in myself. Seriously, Annie, you’re not cut out for this. You don’t even know where to start.

Yes – my domain was set up with hosting, but I had no idea how to install WordPress. I had no idea how to go down the theme choosing route. I had no idea how to USE WordPress. I compiled some pieces of writing, but not enough. I had so much I still needed to write, but I had no inspiration – none. I had Writer’s Block, I guess. All I saw ahead of me was a long road of things I needed to figure out and unlike a child learning how to walk, I couldn’t even manage a first step. I was too overwhelmed with everything in my line of sight – everything that I didn’t know how to do. And I simply didn’t believe in my ability anymore to deal with any of the things I originally had planned.

So I stayed home at my parents’ and just wallowed. Annie, you suck at being a self-starter. Also, how the heck do you have so much stuff?! I put all my Bali clothes in the wash and took absolutely forever to fold them. I also had two extra duffle bags worth of stuff that I didn’t take with me to Bali, but now had to sort through. And I had tons of stuff to return.

I kept thinking that if I don’t leave and go back to my own apartment, I’ll never get anything done, but it wasn’t enough to tell myself that… because I was in such a funk. My parents knew I was struggling and at some point, offered to come with me on the drive home to my place. If you asked me even a year ago, I would have hated needing my family – or anyone really. I used to completely hate myself if I was unable to overcome my struggles alone. But this time, I allowed it. I really did need the help. I needed the push to get me back to my routine after losing all my momentum while I was gone.

When I finally got home to my apartment, I didn’t try to work on my “dreams” again yet. I needed to mend this cracked foundation that I felt existed within my soul. So, I focused on small things (the literal smallest things) to build momentum again – to build confidence in myself again. For the next several days, I unpacked, organized my place room-by-room, went grocery shopping, cooked, did some really time-consuming planning for my friend’s upcoming wedding, oh, and somehow managed to make myself meditate.

It helped that, prior to quitting, the Universe had set me in alignment somehow for a workshop with Andy Dooley (freakin’ awesome brother of Mike Dooley, the face of Notes from the Universe). Andy’s workshop led me to one of his tribes called the Daily Activation Club (DAC), an accountability group that was complete with multiple life coaches to keep you on track; you decided what your “Wildly Important Goal” was for the length of the club (write a book, start a business, lose 10 pounds), signed on and wrote in every day on this cool online tool for progress checks, and had a crew of people who followed along on your journey. I decided to spend the money on this long before I actually quit – before I even knew I was going to quit. And it honestly felt like divine timing that this program started not only right after I quit my job, but was still going on during my post-Bali funk.

There were a lot of things that blew my mind at that initial workshop with Andy (which we practiced throughout the course of the DAC) but three things that really stood out to me and even seriously helped me with habit building were:

  • The reward system, but with a twist: Put your phone on airplane mode at night and don’t take it off airplane mode in the morning until you’ve accomplished whatever habit you’re trying to build for yourself. For me, it was meditating and reading. If I did that, I could treat myself to my addiction: the cellular device.
  • The 15-minute rule: If you don’t want to do something, just tell yourself you’re going to do 15 minutes at least. 15 minutes doesn’t sound like much time at all. Which means psychologically, 15 minutes feels totally possible to our minds. You don’t want to workout? Ok, how about just go to the gym for 15 minutes. That’s all. Just 15 minutes. Not feeling inspired to write? No problem, just set a timer for 15 minutes and that’s all you gotta do. That’s it. We don’t realize it but 15 minutes is actually a lot of time to get things done. And it’s a great way to build the habit of DOing and avoiding the feeling of overwhelm.
  • The accountability check: Not a check, like a list, but a check like an actual physical check that you put dollar amounts on. Take one, scribe an obscene amount of money on it, and write it out to an organization you dislike intensely. Then give it to a friend and with the following request, “If I do not complete X (my Wildly Important Goal) by MM/DD/YYYY, please put this check in the mail for me.” In other words, you light a fire under your ass to accomplish your goal without making excuses for yourself, because otherwise, you’re sending money to The Trump Foundation. AND GOD FORBID THAT HAPPENS. (If I just lost some readers, sorry….)

Now after spending a lot of my savings in Bali and without an income at that, I realized that I have a pretty horrible relationship with money, at least when it comes to spending on myself. The illusion of making wrong decisions when it comes to spending money or rather, I guess, the illusion of not having enough money scares the hell out of me. It controls me. And what I’d love is a life where I look at money, not as a hinderance, not as a block, not as an anchor holding me down, but rather as a means to follow my dreams. I’d like to look at it as a blessing. I want this so bad! Any suggestions, guys?

Anyway, so I bought a few books, through recommendations from the folks in the DAC, to work through that. I highly recommend You Are at Badass at Making Money. (If you click that link, I might get a little bit of money from Amazon at no extra charge to you! Which would be so cool!!) About the book – I love it so far, but I’ll definitely let you know what I think when I’m through with it. I definitely think it deserves its own post.

Anyway, the honeymoon phase is over, people. And with this honeymoon phase? No one else is involved. It’s a relationship with myself that is turning out to be really difficult. Everything I’ve kept buried my entire life is coming to surface. Every. Single. Thing. All of my self-doubts. All of my insecurities. And after so many years of distracting myself by not following my dreams… after so many years of instead, going the Corporate America route, I am finally having to face each and every one of them. The honeymoon phase is over. It really is. Let us commence lots of therapy, journaling, and healing as my ego and soul fight it out – as I work really hard to try to reconcile who I have been and who I’ve always wanted to be.

Stay tuned.

With Love,

Loneliness Hits Hard (and how to help)
The Ultimate Bali Travel Guide