Thursday, September 15, 2016

Finding My Missing Mojo

I recently reconnected with an old friend from college via Facebook. This person and I were very close once upon a time, but over the years lost touch.

He and I exchanged messages one evening and he mentioned that he had looked through the numerous photo albums I have on my Facebook page. He then said, “E (what many of my college friends call me), you’re like a rockstar!” I was immediately taken aback, because that’s not something I’m accustomed to hearing. In fact, I'm not sure if the two words Ericka and rockstar have ever been used in the same sentence before.  

In response, I sent him a message that said, “LOL! I disagree, but thank you for the sentiment.” He then replied, “Looking at all the pictures of the places you’ve gone and all the adventurous things you’ve done, I still stand by my initial impression.”

Later that evening, with the unusual comment still bouncing around in my mind, I perused my Facebook albums to look at some of the pictures he mentioned specifically. Scattered throughout the assortment of albums were pictures of me kayaking, abseiling, white water rafting, riding ATVs, repelling, snorkeling, and zip lining. There were also photos of myself in countries on the other side of the globe, in the southern hemisphere, and in various states across the U.S.

As I looked at the pictures that captured some of the most amazing moments in my life, an overwhelming sense of bittersweetness came over me. I enjoyed recalling those remarkable moments, moments in which I embraced the unknown, put my fears aside, and lived outside of my comfort zone. But, I also felt a little sad. You see, the majority of those photos were taken 5-10 years ago; there were very few pictures of me in exotic locales or pictures of me engaged in adventurous activities taken within the last 2-3 years. 

That’s when the realization hit - my college friend was partially right. I WAS a rockstar, or at least I had been the closest version of a rockstar that I could ever be once upon a time. Sadly though, my inner rockstar has not made an appearance in my life in several years.  That's when it became as apparent as the nose on my face - I had lost my mojo. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my mojo is no mo’.

The word mojo is thrown around and used in various loose terms in our culture, but it wasn’t until I realized that I had lost mine that I looked up the official definition. According to Merriam Webster, the simple definition of mojo is “a power that may seem magical and that allows someone to be very effective, successful, etc.”

That is exactly what I had lost, the magical spunk and desire to live boldly

I stewed and I mean really, stewed on this for several days. I experienced various emotions, ranging from sadness to anger to self pity and finally back to anger again. How had this happened? Better yet - how had I ALLOWED this happen? I walked through those days fulfilling my daily obligations, looking undisturbed and normal, all the while my brain was in hyperdrive as I pondered one essential, but huge question - 

What happened to the adventurous, bold, grab life by the horns woman I was not so long ago? 

Through the cyclone of thoughts that consumed me during that time, many theories emerged. After several days, I whittled the list down to three possibilities: 1) I had somehow bought into the notion that just because I had turned 40 that I had to slow down; 2) I had became so complacent with the status quo that I simply quit seeking out bodacious opportunities like I used to; and 3) I had let the weight that I fought so hard to lose a decade ago, slowly creep back into my life and prevent me, either by lack of energy, weight restrictions, or sometimes something as silly as knowing how I would look, from doing the things I wanted to do.

Truth be told, even now, I’m not entirely sure which one is correct, although I suspect it doesn’t come down to just one, but is rather a combination of all three. 

Funny thing about realizations, once you get it, you can see the road you’ve travelled to get to the place where you are with an entirely different set of eyes. Looking back, I see that it started when I chose not to chaperone any more People to People Student Ambassador delegations. People to People had been instrumental in getting me abroad to places I might not otherwise had gone to in my lifetime (i.e. Japan) and in providing me with opportunities to do things outside my comfort zone (i.e. abseiling). Traveling with PtP made it easy to be adventurous. Once I parted ways with them, it was up to me to make those adventures continue in my life and I, sadly, dropped the ball and have become stagnant.

So, the big question is this - I know what's wrong, so what do I do about it?

I’m not entirely sure, but, trust me, I’m working on it.  Here's what I do know with 100% certainty:

  • I may be forty-something, but I’m not dead yet.
  • I miss being adventurous and living outside my comfort zone.
  • It’s impossible for me to be the woman I was when I was 33, 35, or even 40 because between those times in my life and now, I’ve had experiences, experiences that have changed me and shaped me into who I am today. I can’t go back in time and be the 33 year old I once was and, frankly, I don’t want to. 
  • My quest is to unearth the forty-something rockstar version of myself that I trust is deep within me, lying dormant, just waiting on the opportunity to emerge and grab life by the horns again. She's been MIA for way too long.
  • Regarding my weight, I’ve had enough. Enough said. (BTW, as of this writing, I am down 14 pounds since August 1.)
  • I didn't lose my mojo overnight, so I definitely do not expect to get it back quickly.  This quest will take time.

As I embark on this journey to find my missing mojo, I can't help but think of a quote from one of my favorite movies, Shawshank Redemption.  Andy Defresne, one of the main characters who is wrongly imprisoned in the iconic 1994 film, says, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” 

Damn right.

Those are some very powerful words, don't you think?  I have only one life and, at best, I'm at the halfway point. I do not have the luxury to be wasteful with the precious time I have left.  Wish me luck.

Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? How did you go about getting your mojo back?

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  1. Very astute observations. Good luck with your journey and well done on the weight loss.

  2. i love this post! yes, yes yes, it is NEVER too late to get your mojo back...DO IT! i have found that the fear of regret drives me because at 40, the years just FLY so i'd rather look back and remember all the times I did the things that I wanted, instead of wishing i did.

    and congrats on the weight loss! 14lbs is fantastic so keep up whatever you're doing!!

  3. That's one of my favorite quotes!

    I definitely try to make sure I am still actively seeking to see and do new. If I don't keep on it, I will not do it.

    Kudos on -14!

  4. My husband and I talk a LOT about how we want to make sure we're not slowing down just because we're getting older - how we would rather spend our money on traveling/memories vs. objects, how we want to stay in shape so when we have kids we can keep up with them and take them along on adventures, etc. I don't think those 20-somethings (I'm one of the 33 year olds!) realize that someday, keeping your mojo has to become a conscious decision. And it's okay!

  5. What a post! I can relate to a lot of this. Like you, most of my international travel and rockstar-like experiences happened 10+ years ago. This post is going to have me do some reflecting over the weekend, I can tell........

  6. girl congrats on the 14 pounds!! that is awesome. i hope you find your mojo. i think you are right, you didn't lose it overnight so you won't get it back overnight, but if you're focused on getting it back you will! i am a very complacent person i think, and i'm also just not a very live boldly kinda gal, so those two together, i'm not sure i ever really had any mojo to lose.. but you inspire me to keep what little i might have :)

  7. If your mojo finds mine, can you tell it to come home? Thank you!

  8. Sometimes I think we can definitely forget about the AWESOME moments when we get weighed down by daily life.

  9. Being of a similar age also feeling like I've lost my own mojo, this post really spoke to me. I blame my current lack of adventure on having kids and being busy but I CAN do more and I should. Thanks for writing this - hoping I can slowly start to find my mojo too. Good luck with your quest!

  10. Way to go on the weight loss! It should literally propel you forward into finding that mojo.
    I've struggled with this a lot too...somewhere between late 2013 and 2015, I started to lose who I was and I'm just now realizing that I was OKAY with how I was before that, and I'm OKAY now. I just have to be me and stop trying to be everyone else.
    I had a mindset in my mid-twenties that was a 180 from what it is now, but that mindset was FINE (sorry, I'm shouting) and I don't know why I tried to change it so much. I was happier then.
    These 22 year olds have no idea what's in store for them.

  11. I want to root you on! This is such a great post a post that I think so many of us can relate to! We get caught in slumps and those slumps either keep us down or are the catalyst to making the life altering changes that put us where we truly are meant to be! 14 pounds!?!?!!?! Wow that is awesome! Look at you rocking it! You will be that girl you were a decade ago, I have no doubt! Except this time around you will be stronger, smarter, and even more up for the challenges that are what makes life worth living! xoxoxox

  12. Go you! Get that mojo back! I do think we become complacent in life and revel in comfort for a while. But even that can gnaw at us. I hear what you're saying...I noticed I'd become comfortable in the past two years {funnily enough, since I got into a relationship} and I was unhappy with myself. I missed the me that pushed herself outside her comfort zone in 2013. I too gained weight. Anyway, few months ago, I decided enough was enough and I applied for a job in a different area which involves a seachange. I got it and will be moving in a month's time. I'm scared as I don't know anyone there but I'm also excited about new adventures.

    So good luck to you too on whatever adventures you choose. In the end, we live our lives by getting out of our comfort zones!

  13. Absolutely I have, I often write about it, in fact my next #mg post is along similar lines. 2 years ago I had lost my mojo, I wasn't in love with my life, ultimately because I wasn't in love with me! You have done some amazing things and you are right we need to get busy living! I actually got mine back through writing, through pushing through and beyond my comfort zone, and seeking the help I needed too #mg


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