Ready to get out of your comfort zone?

Sometimes you need to let go.

Armand Dijcks and Brit Hammer, 2014.

Armand Dijcks and Brit Hammer, 2014.

Forrest: "What’s my destiny, mama?"

Mrs. Gump: "You’re gonna have to figure that out for yourself."

When I was 12 years old I planned my life to the age of 30. I was naive enough to think that life goes according to plan and that I must know all the steps before taking the first one. I spent my teenage years living in the future, playing out possible scenarios in my head like a Grandmaster in a chess tournament. As I grew older it became increasingly difficult to live the life I had imagined because I hadn't expected the twists & turns that have been my life's journey. I'm glad. Because the life I planned would not have been nearly as fascinating as the one I'm living.

"My mama always said, ‘Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.’” — Forrest Gump

Like I said, my life has not gone according to plan. While I did graduate with honors from both high school and university and create a successful fashion career in my 20s, I was not married by age 28. It was not entirely up to me, and I had to accept that fact. It was a hard lesson.

After I turned 29 I insisted to my mother that I wasn't going to marry. Having just gone through yet another devastating break-up, I decided I couldn't handle any more heartbreaks. But life is ironic, is it not? Once I let go of trying to honor the plans I'd made...I found Mr. Right.

Six weeks after meeting Armand, I packed up my life in New York City and moved to Rotterdam on my 31st birthday to share life with him. By then I was old enough to know that when love comes knocking, to answer the door. I was also experienced enough to know that fear shuts out love and great possibilities.

“My mama always said you’ve got to put the past behind you before you can move on.” – Forrest Gump

Here's the thing. Armand is a master of subtlety; I was rather direct. If I hadn't been open, centered in myself, and noticing everything going on around me, I would've missed the clues that he was interested. If I had continued charging through my life with blinders on so that I could head straight to my goals without a detour, I would've missed a golden opportunity. If I had let my past failed relationships hinder me from risking to start a new romance, I wouldn't know what it feels like to be loved deeply by another. And if I hadn't been willing to change my ways, to open up, and to dismantle the fortress around my heart, I would've let the greatest love of my life slip through my fingers.

This relationship put me completely outside my comfort zone. I'm glad.

Here's the summary

1.  Goals are great to have, but holding onto them too rigidly can make you miss opportunities.
2.  Opportunity knocks – sometimes quietly. It's up to you to hear it and to answer the door.
3.  Not everything is up to you. Let go of the need to control. Trust it'll be okay.
4.  Just because something didn't work out last time doesn't mean it won't work out this time.
5.  Everything ALWAYS works out the way it needs to. It might just be different than expected.
6.  If you don't like your current situation, do something about it or wait for change.
7.  There is ALWAYS someone to help you. Seek them out and ask.

“If we let go a little, we have a little peace.
If we let go a lot, we have a lot of peace.
If we let go completely, we have complete peace.”

— Ajahn Chah