My whole life I aspired to work in corporate America, make 6-figures, and live out the American Dream. I worked hard to achieve that goal. I neglected my creative passions of writing and singing for fear of failure and hope for fulfillment the corporate way, I opted out of time with family and friends for studying and getting good grades. Everything I did was so I could achieve that vision for myself. Right out of college, I moved from Canada to Houston and quickly continued checking things off my mental to-do list that I was so sure would lead me to a fulfilled life. Move to a big city, check! Land the 6-figure job, check! Pay off my student loans, check! Go on lavish vacations, check! I did everything I was supposed to do, so why, I thought, was I so unhappy?
American 'Dream'? It felt more like I was living a nightmare. I had this big gaping hole of unfulfillment, but it was even worse than before because the hope I had for a better future evaporated once I checked off all the boxes and was still unhappy. On top of that, I had no clear path on how to start filling that void. I couldn't believe how much I had sacrificed to get to the end of this journey and still not be happy. But rather than explore that discontentment, I just looked around and did what everyone else was doing. I went to happy hours during the week to have something to look forward to during the long waning hours of the work day, and I lived for 5 o'clock on Fridays when I could check out for a few days.
Looking back on it now, it's funny because once the weekend came, it was never as fulfilling as I anticipated it to be. I wasn't rushing to a weekend filled with joy and excitement and aliveness. I was rushing to not feel much at all. I would numb myself with food and alcohol because I was trying to escape the dense feelings of dissatisfaction I had built up during my weekdays, and of the inevitable dread that was coming my way Sunday afternoon. This is precisely when I came down with the terrible illness no one warned me about: the 'Sunday Scaries', or what I like to call the 7-day cycle of suck. Spending the whole week building excitement for Friday, only to quickly replace that excitement with increasing dread as the 48 hours of the weekend quickly slipped through my fingers.
As I looked around, it was as if everyone had thrown their hands up and accepted this reality. It became a way to connect with one another, we all felt the intense rollercoaster of emotions week in and week out and we bonded because of it. So I threw my hands up too and played the game for several years, ignoring the feelings I had deep down that: that there had to be another way. There was this little voice telling me, "there is more to life", but at the time I was so wrapped up in my unhappiness with life and my numbing cycle that I couldn't see the way out. I was in a job I hated, 60 pounds heavier than I was in college, unfulfilled, but with no clue why.
That is...until the Universe gifted me with my first wakeup call: getting laid off in 2017. That's when everything started to change. I was catapulted out of the 7 day cycle of suck and into the world of the unknown. Into the land of endless possibilities. The world was finally my oyster! Okay..it didn't really feel like that at the time. It felt overwhelming and scary and hard. There was a part of me that wanted to just get a job and go back into the familiar cycle I had grown accustomed to. But in the quiet of my day that used to be spent unconsciously fulfilling my duties as a steward of the American Dream, the voice inside my head that said "there has to be another way" became louder and louder. It guided me to slow down and question the way I had been approaching life.
This part of me really started to take center stage after I read the book 'Miracle Morning' by Hal Elrod. This was when I started to cultivate my own morning practice where I would have the space to listen to the whispers of my heart. In the past, those moments would only come a couple times a year, maybe on my birthday and on New Years Eve. But even with my good intentions and my goals laid out, I would inevitably fall back into old patterns because I had no system in place to put those visions for myself into practice. But once I started to devote every single morning to living out a life I was in love with, slowly I started to make changes and life became so much more sweet. In the quiet of the morning, it was suddenly so much easier to hear the voice inside that craved a new way of living. In the pages of my journal is where I started to cultivate awareness of myself, I started to explore who I was, who I knew I was meant to be, and how I could live more in alignment. And I am happy to report that I am cured of the Sunday Scaries, and actually find myself looking forward to Mondays (if you can believe it)! I am not living my life rooted in some future destination of narnia that will cure me of all my unhappiness. Instead, I look to the moments of each day to find fulfillment and joy.
So, what's the cure to Sunday Scaries, you might be thinking? Is it getting laid off? Is it reading Miracle Morning? Is it journaling every day? Well..it could be. It could be any one or combination of those things, but the truth is, only you know what is best for you. The real cure to the Sunday Scaries is slowing down, being with yourself, and having the courage to ask yourself the questions you've been avoiding:
What is so 'scary' about the week ahead?
What is it that is so dreadful about your days?
How can you start to align towards a more fulfilling life?
Can you start to believe it's possible to not live in dread?
What does your ideal life even look like?
Are there parts of your life today that would look the same in your 'ideal life'?
How can you be grateful and celebrate those parts of your life right now?
What are the biggest areas of your life that need attention?
What is one habit you can implement to start working towards that?
What support do you need to make real and lasting changes?
How have you been able to navigate big changes in the past?
Can you use a similar template for navigating this change?
These are the types of questions I am exploring with myself on a daily basis in my journaling practice. You might want to explore these questions in a meditation, in a voice note to yourself, on a long walk in nature, in the pages of a journal, through writing poems, or whatever outlet that feels good to you. There's no right or wrong answer. Only you know what feels best. What likely got you to this point was outsourcing this decision making in your life to someone else, maybe your parents, maybe a significant other, maybe a public figure you admire, but it probably wasn't coming from you. So now is a good time to start creating that relationship with yourself. I will share a couple words of wisdom from my experience of cultivating a deeper awareness of myself over the last 7 years.
Carving out time to check in with yourself regularly and making it a habit is very helpful. My check-ins are at least as regular as brushing my teeth (don't worry, it didn't start that way, it's been a 7-year journey and I don't expect it to ever be finished).
Be patient with yourself as you're cultivating this relationship, try to have fun exploring yourself and your own inner hopes and dreams. When it's feeling overwhelming, give yourself a breather and remember that Rome wasn't built in a day.
Start to enjoy the journey and the present moment. If you've been living for the weekends and future-focused, you've been missing out on the juicy goodness of each day. When we look back on our lives, we will see it isn't the big vacations and parties that created our life, it's the small moments of the days. It's the cuddle in bed with your loved one before the sun comes up, it's laughing with a friend over coffee, it's slowing down to see the owl in your backyard, it's stopping to smelling roses on your daily walk.
This world is infinite and if no one has told you in a while: you can be whoever you want to be when you grow up. It's never too late to start living the life you were meant to live. Everything has happened in perfect, divine timing to prepare you for this moment. The experiences you've had came with lessons you needed to learn. And if you've read this far, my guess is your soul is asking you to take that next step and start listening to your heart again. Start listening to that voice that tells you there's more to life. Follow it down the path of the unknown. My hope is that you get back in touch with yourself and can start living a life more fulfilling than you ever dreamed was possible. It starts one day, one morning, and one moment at a time.
Until next time love!