Finding Inspiration Within Transition

Or, “Go Surfing, Don’t Get Old.”

Recently, I’ve been experiencing my fair share of life transitions and milestones. Origin turned 10; my son is graduating from college; my daughter got engaged; a close friend died; and my mom is experiencing a serious health diagnosis. 2018 has been what we’ll call “eventful” so far.

In the midst of all this joy, sorrow and uncertainty, I happened to have a pre-scheduled trip to Surf Camp in Mexico (my Origin Inspiration Trip). I almost cancelled it. I felt like I needed to be home acting like a grown-up. Thank goodness I didn’t! This trip was tremendously rejuvenating and enlightening. I truly believe it has helped me be better in all my roles as caregiver, party planner, partner, career counselor and business owner.

Surf Camp. Every single time I say or think these words, I get a goofy little smile on my face.

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Photo by Camilla Fuchs (camillafuchsphotography.com)

I attended Las Olas Surf Camp for Women, which took place in an adorable little town in Mexico. Their motto is “we make girls out of women,” which is an absolutely perfect encapsulation of the week. There’s a purity and joy in floating on the water, reading the ocean, popping up, and riding the force of the wave in to shore.

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Photo by Camilla Fuchs (camillafuchsphotography.com)

There’s also an energy that comes from connecting with a group of amazing, impressive, bad-ass women who have excelled in their various professional fields and are now coming together with strangers to learn a new skill. I went outside of my comfort zone in traveling alone to the camp (I travel alone for work all the time, but had never before vacationed alone) and in taking on a new physical challenge. Both risks paid off. I left with no fewer than 10 new friends, a new hobby, and a renewed sense of confidence and possibility. After a whole week that was filled with interesting and deep conversations, largely without social media, I also left with a commitment to think a bit more deeply and thoroughly about topics and to fight the intellectual laziness that often comes with virtual connections.

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There are a million cheesy surfing metaphors I could use to describe my surf camp experience (all apt), but I’ll resist them and end with some career lessons that I took away from my week there. These may be most helpful for those of us moving into the second half (or even last third) of our careers­­­­:

  • Make time for yourself a priority. Take the trip; give your bucket list some love; learn something new. When you plug back in, you’ll be a better caretaker, partner, parent, friend, etc. Everyone needs self-care, even if it’s just a couple hours at a painting class or on a hammock with a good book.
  • Keep stretching your body and your mind. Do things that make you uncomfortable. That’s the way to grow and stay young.
  • Reach out to new people. Old friends are phenomenal, but we can get too set in familiar patterns and old stories. New friends let us create some new synapses and might get us thinking in new ways.
  • Talk to people who look at the world very differently from you. Make sure there’s diversity in your various communities.
  • Set regular challenge goals for yourself. Whether they’re physical (like doing a Tough Mudder or doing the Grand Canyon’s Rim-to-Rim hike) or mental (like learning a new language), give yourself something to work toward.

So now I need my next challenge! Any ideas?

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Graduation Diploma by Bev Sanders (celebratory tequila shot not pictured)

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About Julie Wood