Disrupting the Creature of Habit

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a person who likes a planned schedule. Don’t get me wrong, I can be spontaneous or even serendipitous from time to time, but at the end of the day, I enjoy my routine.

As you can imagine, finding a new normal hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world. In fact, many things have not gone my way. I keep reminding myself that is the purpose of this trip — getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Either I expand my mind or build a stronger conviction to why I do the things I do.

What hasn’t gone right?

What are the things that have made me feel homesick?

One of the most obvious and noticeable is the food. I’m a picky eater. While I’ve put real effort into evolving my pallet beyond my inner 8-year-old, I’ve found it’s more about knowing what I’m eating and being able to find consistency than anything else. Without this, I’m finding myself teetering between the extremes of not eating or eating nothing but junk food (pizza, burgers, fries, Oreos, and Coke). I’ve got to figure this out.

After that would be sleep. Typically, I like to be in bed by 11pm and up by 6am. At first, the jet lag had me sleeping in way too late. Then, the heatwave combined with no air conditioning prevented me from being able to fall asleep. I need to pick a schedule and just stick to it.

Getting work done has also been inconsistent. The scheduled meetings with clients are actually a breath of fresh air. It’s the work I need to get done in-between times that is a challenge. I’m struggling a bit to get everything I need to be done, complete, in the windows available. Back home, I have long periods of uninterrupted time, but here, I’m continually trying to balance multiple things.

Then there are other things that simply are not working “like they’re supposed to.” In the states, I use my debit card for everything. Here, there is a minimum £10 charge for cards, and I don’t want to keep getting cash. I’m using a VPN to access the US version of some sites. A few because I have to, others because I want access to American content. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve tried connecting my laptop to the TV to watch a movie on HBO. Evidently, HBO didn’t like that and gave me an HDMI error. I had a flat tire in our rental car. Now, forget the fact that I’m driving a manual transmission, with my left hand, on the left side of the road, and in an area where I don’t know where I am. Yes, that’s something else. Having a flat tire without a spare? Goodness.

What has gone right?

What are the things that have made me feel alive or like myself?

I found a great walking path. It’s a four-mile round trip course that takes me through Downhills Park. Despite the constant smell of all the fancy cigarettes, it’s become quite lovely. I know where I am, I know where the hills are going to come. I recognize the views. I know my pacing. I’m able to listen to podcasts and give my mind a break. This has been much needed.

Kathy and I have continued the tradition of Wednesday dates. We’ve made chocolate together, we had drinks and played putt-putt at Swingers Crazy Golf, we’ve walked around shops in Notting Hill. I very much enjoy the time I get to spend with just her. Having an adult conversation and just being with each other.

One Friday I took the morning to wander around aimlessly by myself. I ended up getting my hair cut, went to see a movie (The First Purge), and just had time to think.

I’ve had drinks with John Ainsworth, coffee with Richard Smith, went to an entrepreneur meet-up, and even when into a couple of local startups (Trint and Akkroo). These conversations made me feel alive, but not in the way I expected. I’ve had the idea in my head of writing a book comparing and contrasting the way B2B sales are done internationally, but I’m finding I much more enjoy getting to know the people than the work.

The balance I continue to seek is between myself, family, work, and “others” (by way of service). It’s as if there is, or needs to be, a different version of me to serve each of those.

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