|Posted by ashlybauserman on January 6, 2012 at 12:00 AM|
Growing up with a father who's job is to consantly travel the world definitely leads you to having what I call "the itch." My genetic make up definitely doesn't help either as I definitely inherited the curiousity and drive from my father and the artistic and dedicated side from my mother. They are both in their 50's and still wake up extremely early and have rediculously productive days.
I have always been somebody who just couldn't sit still for too long thanks to both nature and nurture. I needed to be active in as many classes as my schedule would allow, I had two majors and a minor in college, took dance classes, art classes, piano classes, had an active social life, had significant others, traveled endlessly, taught four languages both in college and in Guatemala, wrote and patented a grammer book by 22, got obsessed with photogrpahy and the list goes on and on. I was and have been a classic "over-achiever." What they don't go on to tell you is that the classic over-achievers also tend to suffer from some amount of anxiety and are so competitive with themselves that nothing is ever really good enough. My question is, is there enough energy to be both an over-achiever and be happy?
In 2011 I was determined to discover what "balance" and being "happy" really meant. I decided to go to work and spend my 8-10 hours there working hard. I was lucky enough to get a job in a Language Company called Diplomatic Language Services where I could get my fix for all things international and still feel productive. The only other thing I focused on was traveling (both because it's an integral part of who I am and also I am in a long distance relationship). If I wasn't traveling or working I decided that I was determined to learn what it meant to be STILL.
For the first time in my life I watched TV for hours, took showers until the water went cold, didn't do laundry until my underwear ran out, didn't make my bed for months at a time until my sheets needed to be washed, went on walks to absolutely nowhere and listened to my ipod on shuffle, stayed in bed for 3 extra hours as often as I could to transition between sleeping and thinking and just didn't force myself to do anything I didn't really want to. I released myself from the pressure I had previously put on myself. You have no idea how amazing it is to do absolutely NOTHING for 365 days if I wanted to!
The biggest outcome for me has been a growing sense of appreciation for what I have versus what I haven't achieved. I have an amazing brother, two dysfunctional yet very loving parents, a too good to be true boyfriend, an incredible job that gives me the ability to travel - and more than anything I have learned that I don't need to do absolutely anything to be "worth it" like I had convinced myself. All I need to do is be greatful and have enough energy to give and receive love in order to find the type of happiness and balance that isn't fleeting.
I photographed the tree below while exploring Great Falls last year. It managed to have so much charachter while maintaining it's simplicity. The tree represented to me the type of -growth- I would like to continue to achieve.