I don’t live by the predictions of a daily horoscope. In truth, I’ve only looked at my zodiac sign description, maybe a dozen times in my whole life. But, every time I do, some of the words are burned into my mind. Especially the ones that ring true. All the rest, are quickly and easily forgotten, of course.
I also take comfort in the common characteristics that seem to run through my family and I attribute this to the closeness of our dates of birth. My Dad and I are born on the same day, my Mom 6 days later and my sister, 7 days further on. The only odd birthday in our house was my youngest sister born a full 2 months ahead of the rest of us. The upshot for her is a completely solo and special birthday celebration. We never combined her day with another family member.
The downside to believing the horoscope words that ring true is, they mostly describe negative or less desirable traits about me. The very parts of my personality that I am trying to change! Compounding this problem is the commonality with my other family members. After all, how can I possibly see myself objectively? I think we only see ourselves reflected in the mirror of others, particularly those we love and trust.
Possibly some of the areas I most strongly identify with, are not as ‘bad’ as I might think. I know for certain, I didn’t always want to turn away from these descriptors, in fact I wore them proudly. As my husband likes to point out, they are also the roots of my success thus far in life. Running away from this, might be as difficult as trying to change my Myers-Briggs assessment. However, my daughter, the extremely literal personality in our house, shrugs all of this off as being unscientific. She thinks no-one, through psychological based questions or consulting your date of birth, can predict what you are actually like, what you believe or how you think and act. In that verdict, she may be right.
Oh to be young and so certain of life! I was once like my daughter. Sure of myself, confident in the next step. I still portray that sense, (or try to), but I don’t always feel it. That could be a natural part of getting older and wiser. Maybe a consequence of having children to look out for and being in a loving marriage. You would think these relationships only bring joy to my life. But, there is also an undercurrent of fear and protection, I feel for the people I love.
There it is, the nut of my horoscope, the Myers-Briggs assessment and any other personality tests I’ve taken over the years – my deep-seated need for certainty. This is what drives me to plan every little part of my life. I am overly scheduled, controlled and researched. I want to know every possible outcome and have a plan in place to counteract any bit of possible discomfort. No wonder I feel exhausted.
As we arrived in Cambodia yesterday, it was raining and a bit glum. The airport terminal is a gorgeous local building, but my kids hadn’t really eaten anything all morning, so they were grumpy. Then we had some formalities with getting a VISA on arrival. Overall, a very quick process, considering. But the mood in my family continued to darken. We checked into our hotel and it was not as posh and nice as what we had just left in Bangkok. At half the price, it was expected, for me. But I have had my head in all these details for months and months. I am living through each decision way in advance. Nothing is really surprising me.
Then we made the fatal decision to not get SIM cards at the airport. 2 hungry teenagers without access to the internet is a very bad thing. They will endure a fair amount of discomfort and uncertainty with good humour, but food and data are king. Understandably, their first review of our hotel was not very kind. Added to the realization; the length of our 3 week stay and I feared a mutiny. This level of uncertainty was extremely unsettling to me and my mood.
Luckily, we checked in, got some air conditioning going and realized the wifi is surprisingly fast. Three times quicker than what we had in Bangkok. OK, so that was a good sign. Then we made a trek into the heart of Siem Reap for SIM cards. Finally we were cooking with gas! Our last stop was an early dinner at a menagerie of Italian wood fired pizza, local Khmer and French bistro, (leftover from colonization). The food was excellent and because we were there so early, we got a 25% happy hour discount on the whole thing. A quick pit stop for snacks, home in a tuk-tuk and back to our rooms.
Nothing from yesterday was planned to a tee, yet we managed to all get what we needed, eventually. On one hand, this is the very skill I was hoping my teens would acquire, as we continue to travel. The ability to roll with it, take whatever comes. Maybe that is also something, I am going to become better at. I need to. Otherwise, this is going to be a long number of weeks remaining before I can restore certainty to my life, back home in Canada.
I spent a lot of years trying to outrun or outsmart vulnerability by making things certain and definite, black and white, good and bad. My inability to lean into the discomfort of vulnerability limited the fullness of those important experiences that are wrought with uncertainty: Love, belonging, trust, joy, and creativity to name a few. -Brene Brown
In moments like yesterday, it is extremely important for me to lean into my discomfort. That might mean, what I feel on behalf of my husband and my children, but also to honour my own emotions, whatever they might be at the moment.
It is not easy being a Taurus. Particularly one in transition. On one hand I am trying to embody more of the positive traits described above. On the other hand, I agree wholeheartedly with the statement about not liking sudden changes, criticism or feelings of guilt. To put it another way, the negative side of my character traits can be, I am resistant to change, will be angered at criticism and hold onto guilt unnecessarily. I suppose I am also, quite dependable and doggedly determined to see a project through to conclusion, no matter the complexity or timeframe. When you are at the helm of a year-long travel project, these qualities are a good thing!
As with anything else in life it is all a balance. Being able to lean into discomfort and uncertainty with bravery. That is my challenge, while I am travelling or at any other time. Seeing all the beautiful shades of grey and staying flexible. For the richness of life is only experienced by being vulnerable, something I have always shied away from.
Now it is time to take a dip in the lovely pool, just steps away from my computer. It is important to remind myself to live in the moment and be grateful for my wonderful life!
Join me in this creative journey. I think it will be worth your time. I look forward to hearing from you! Use any form of communication which feels comfortable. Email, social media or even, if you want to give me a call, I can reached at cwestermark on Skype. Together, let us see where we can take this.
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: : “Fruitless at 40: Rediscovering My Creative Power”
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Our travel year:
: : We are a Canadian family, on a year-long trip, planning on 32 cities, 18 countries over 4 continents.
: : Dad is working in Europe and Asia, Teens are doing distance education for grades 11 and 9, Mom is keeping it all together, writing, taking photos and making videos.
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