I’ve got these long legs, and I remember as a kid my growing pains were quite painful. Sometimes they would wake me up at night, or keep me from falling asleep. I would try to stretch my feet out as far as they would go before falling asleep, because I was afraid when I woke up, my heels would still be in the same place but my legs would be all bunched up where they had grown overnight. I had a bit of an active imagination.
It’s these lessons we learn as kids that we need to remind ourselves of in our adult lives. We were shown when we are children on a visceral level that only through pain, can we grow. It is no different with the growing pains of our minds, or our souls. We should not shy from pain, but develop a relationship with it if we ever want to grow. I am currently going through these growing pains, as I stay up long hours into the night learning how to run a nonprofit, how to be a tax specialist, a businesswoman, a salesman, as well a boat captain travelling internationally and everything that entails. I look much different now than when I got off the water in October. My skin is sallow and white, I have big bags under my eyes, and am so stressed I have more zits on my face than I’ve ever had in my entire life. Yes, these growing pains are, like the ones from my childhood, keeping me up at night. But I try to stretch out a little before I go to sleep, to leave room to grow overnight.
I’ve been a flight instructor for five years and have watched hundreds of people go through the learning process. I can recognize the stages, and see them in myself whenever I am learning something new. Currently in my expedition planning, I am in what I informally call “The Overwhelmed Stage.” This is past The Point of No Return, where you have put in enough time, energy, and money that you are fully committed to learning the new thing, but know enough about the new thing now that you suddenly realize how much you still have yet to learn. This can be perhaps the most depressing stage, other than the infamous “Learning Plateau,” which comes much after the Overwhelmed Stage. I currently have a flight student in the Overwhelmed Stage. My antidote is to remind the student how much they’ve already learned. “Remember just a month ago? You couldn’t even taxi to the runway! Now you’re doing it with no problem.”
I think back to a year ago in my life. I imagine my trip planning like a loading bar, and realize how much of the loading bar is already filled compared to a year ago. I own ¼ of an ocean rowboat now. I have a registered nonprofit. I have a work email, website, merchandise almost ready, podcast features, media mentions. I have so much now that I didn’t have a year ago. Things as big as this don’t happen overnight. A year ago, I started this – and I’ve progressed significantly. I still have very far to go before I can even wet my oars in salt water – but I am progressing. It is painful, but because of that pain, I am growing.
There was a day where I just started doing it. I woke up one day and decided I would do it, and started moving my body through space to make it happen. I started, and I can look behind me now and see how far I’ve come – all I had to do was start, and all I need to do now is keep going.
If I can inspire you to do one thing today, it’s start. Start learning, start reading, start moving your body through space. Start doing the thing you’ve always wanted to do, but don’t look too far ahead, or you’ll get overwhelmed and won’t start. Just take that first little baby step. Just start. Don’t try to plan the whole plan. Just start doing things. It’s your time to be on this planet. Use it – every moment you’re alive in this body is incomprehensible if you take three seconds to think about it. Trip yourself out. Be here on purpose. Be here for a purpose. You are more free than you think.
A lot of times, it starts with something as simple as a Google search: How to row across an ocean.
Just take that first step, and the next step will follow.
Every effort moves you forward.
Good luck readers.
“Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor
You put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door
You never will get where you’re going
If ya never get up on your feet
Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowin’
A fast walking man is hard to beat
If you want to change your direction
If your time of life is at hand
Well, don’t be the rule; Be the exception
A good way to start is to stand!”