Six years ago today I was a few meters from where I am now.
Each year I come to Assos, a Turkish village on the Aegean, to get away from the heat of Istanbul and relax beside the sea in a small village where, when the sun goes down, you can see thousands of stars and the only sound you hear at night when the village has gone to sleep is a few bells from distant sheep.
When I woke up this morning and the Facebook memories feature showed a photo of me from six years ago where I was sitting literally yards from where I sit now, my first reaction was to smile at how happy I was then to be there and how happy I am now to be here. My second reaction was to think, “Hm. Well I guess I haven’t come very far”.
But I think that second reaction was wrong.
I’m an editor by day, so I spend much of my time thinking about what adds meaning and what doesn’t. My goal is to emphasize and highlight the things that add meaning and ruthlessly cut those that don’t.
I have come far in the last six years. I’ve let go of bad relationships and strengthened good ones. I’ve honed in on the meaning and use I get from my work and just as importantly what I DON’T expect to get from it. I’ve moved out of a stressful and difficult living situation into one more comfortable and with a greater sense of ease. And I keep on coming back to Assos.
We talk a lot about breaking bad habits, but some habits are good. For me, Assos is like the most comfortable pair of broken-in jeans I’ve ever owned. As soon as I come up the hill and see the village my mind resets, I relax, and I step thankfully into the slower, easier, friendlier life of the village.
I wrote last week about how sometimes you need to take a break in the work day to reset your thinking processes. Coming to Assos, for me, is like a complete reboot. I don’t think about work or schedules or deadlines or much more than what time the next ride to the beach is coming. But the wide spaces and complete freedom to do what I want, when I want, and nothing at all if that’s the mood that strikes me, always sends me home with a feeling of anticipation.
Because for me, doing nothing at all is an important precursor to some of the most productive periods in my year.
I go home with new ideas, new energy, and new perspective on what’s important and what’s not. So maybe I shouldn’t say my summer holiday is a reboot: it’s more like the time you wait while new software is loading. When I get home it’s always with a sense of excitement to see where my new tools and renewed focus will take me.
So I won’t be breaking this habit any time soon.
If you’d like to talk about how you can edit your life for renewed purpose, get in touch to set up a complimentary coaching session. My specialty is helping people transform and integrate their work lives and personal lives so they feel more satisfied every day, and I would love to speak with you.