You know that feeling you get when you’re coming to the end of a really big goal you’ve been working towards and looking forward to reaching?
Well, I got that feeling last week. It wasn’t quite the feeling I had expected.
I guess there are lots of different types of goals, and they probably produce different emotions in different people.
As I neared the end of my high school career, I was full of pure excitement. I loved those summer holidays. I looked forward to starting university in a couple months time. I looked forward.
As I neared the end of my university degree, I was pretty lost at what I actually wanted to do with it. Alas, I submitted my last assessments with pleasure and looked forward to my wedding. I looked forward.
When my wedding neared, my excitement grew but also my nerves. Committing the rest of my life to someone was a huge step forward. A little scary. I didn’t expect to feel nervous, but I did. I looked forward to moving in together, going on our New Zealand Honeymoon, our first year of marriage already full with my expectations and ideas of how it would be. I looked forward.
And now, I’ve just completed the hardest two years of my life. I know I haven’t lived that long, so I don’t have heaps to compare it to, but it truly pushed me past my limits. I’ve been doing the Teach for Australia course, whereby I train as a teacher through a Masters degree and teach in a low socio-economic school concurrently. I just submitted my final assessment and I was surprised at where I found myself.
I did what I always did – I looked forward. Into my next day of starting Term 4 as a teacher. I cringed a little bit. Not because I don’t love teaching, I do – most days. I find myself leaving work not feeling like I’ve been at work. It doesn’t feel like a chore being there. But it is really challenging and draining.
I cringed because I didn’t know what my step forward was. Is becoming a teacher my end goal? I’m not sure. For now though, it’s great.
Does anyone else feel like this? Is this what it’s like becoming an adult? Eventually all the things you had “to do” come to a finish? Like, get a degree, get a job, get married, get a house,.. What’s the next step? Babies?? Ha! Not yet, not for me.
I don’t want to just blaze through life always looking forward. I want to be grounded in the now. But I also want to be flying high on new ideas, dreams, creations.
I’ve realised I’m pretty darn tired. And as a teacher, I still have a pile of work to get done. So I’ve set myself three baby steps to help allow myself to calm down from the storm. When a long-distance athlete finishes a race, they have strategies in place to help their bodies recover.
I’ve put these three strategies in place for myself, because I’m not in the best condition to be off running a whole new race just yet.
What to do once you’ve achieved a big goal
1. Don’t make any big decisions for a couple of months
The day I finished my assessments, I may have taken my husband out to home opens to see the house of my dreams. Was it beautiful? Yes. Could we afford it? No. Was I broken hearted? Yes. That’s probably a good thing. I’d be heading for a breakdown if I were suddenly trying to get my house on the market. Let’s put that dream aside until next year…
2. Learn to move slower
Let’s just say, I’ve become very good at rushing everywhere, making deadlines right on time (or a little late), and never having a moment to breathe, relax, or tidy up. So I’m retraining myself to be in the moment, start a task AND clean up after it. It sounds simple enough, but it’s going to take some getting used to. I don’t want to add more into my life, I want to do the things I’m doing, well. Maybe even ahead of time!
3. Refocus on your health
When you’re tired, stressed, and over-worked, it’s hard to really know what it feels like to be full of energy. So I’m slowing down and focusing on the main three: a regular bed time, eating food that will give my body the nutrition it needs, and getting more movement into my week. If I ever do decide to take on a next big goal, then I’ll be wanting to start fully charged.
Right now I’m probably running on 5% battery. I need to acknowledge that. I need to recover before I expect myself to be bouncing off the walls.
And so, I’ve found finishing my degree has left me with relief and tiredness.
It’s time to live in the now, and stop looking forward, waiting for that next step.
Just me, being me.
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