Being aware of the clock isn’t just about getting more done fewer hours. It’s also about slowing down, ignoring the clock, and taking the time to enjoy the journey step by step. This week’s Someday Interviewee, Aukje, took this concept to an extreme, disconnecting from the clock completely and achieving so much for doing so. Here’s what she has to say about her (literal) Someday Journey.
Who: Aukje van Gerven of beetroute
Aukje started beetroute with her partner last year and together they cycled from Tanzania to the Netherlands for beetroute‘s first project: The SLOW Journey, taking matters into their own hands after the disappointment of previously failed expedition.
Name one moment in your life when you threw a pity party for yourself and the reasons why you felt you weren’t able to achieve your goals. Were you feeling stuck? Had you felt you failed? What wasn’t working in your life?
In 2007, after having spent hundreds of volunteer hours, money and more into a project that was supposed to lead an expedition team for a human-powered expedition from the south pole to the north pole, I received the message that the institute was put into hibernation due to lack of funding. I was devastated, because I was an expedition team member and I had talked about this for so long and wanted it so bad. I felt I had no control and thought that I maybe should have even put more energy into it than I already did.
Even our lowest moments fulfill a need in us or express our desires. When you threw yourself that pity party, what did you hope to gain? What need did you fulfill?
I hoped that somehow money would fall from the sky or I would get an incredible idea to make it work after all. I didn’t want to give up but the decision was made for me. There was a need not to give up.
Tell us what you did to break up the pity party. What actions did you decide to take? Did someone help you buoy your spirits? Push you along?
A small group of remaining team members decided we did not just want to stop and get back to our former lives. We wanted to make something happen and walk the walk, after having talked the talk for a long time. We started brainstorming about what steps to take and had the craziest ideas. In the end, we decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, as that would have been our half way point. My partner and I decided that we wanted to keep going even after that milestone was reached, and cycle a part of the intended route anyway, and have schools follow us to teach schoolchildren about the countries we would pass through. We supported and encouraged each other to keep focused and make it happen.
Can you look back on that moment and tell us how you felt when you did decide to take action? What results came about from your decision to take charge and move on?
Taking action felt good. We spoke about it for so long, it was time for action. Let the world see what we were made of, not just blah blah. The results were rewarding. We started cycling in Tanzania in July 2008 with only three months preparation time and only two months of face to face time, so we barely knew each other. We got to know each other quickly in the circumstances, and managed to finish our SLOW Journey, plus edutain 600 schoolchildren, experience new things, and gain a ton of new skills.
Everyone has a Someday problem hiding deep inside, even little ones. What variety of the Someday Syndrome do you currently harbor? What would you like to achieve but haven’t yet?
I might need it someday: I have a tendency to fill my life with emotional things, especially the needs or problems of those around me: it highly affects me and i tend to think for them, and make decisions for them, trying to ‘fix’ them.
Examining your Someday Syndrome problem, what are you currently doing to resolve it and eliminate it from your life?
I am learning to focus more on my personal happiness and make choices that are good for me, because when you yourself are happy, only then you can truly give other people your time and energy without it exhausting you.
Many people suffer the same problems you do. You’re not alone, and neither are they. What would you tell people in your situation right now to help them avoid what you’re going through?
Be kind, compassionate and supportive, but don’t let it get to you. Everyone is free to make their own choices, and you need to let them make theirs. This is hard, because you might think you know better. But you can only do so much and need to take care of yourself before you can support others.
If you could ask for one thing, right now, to help you overcome your Someday Syndrome, what type of help would you ask for?
The strength to stay positive and keep believing in yourself.