The Dip: Living The Dream And Feeling Low

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Dear Lynda,

How do you deal with ‘the dip’ on a long journey? I feel like I’ve reached a low point – I’m in one of the most amazing places in the world, I should be enjoying the ride and the stunning nature that surrounds me, but I feel like I’ve reached the notorious ‘dip’ and don’t know how to get out of it!

At the same time, I feel guilty for even feeling this way. All my friends keep telling me how lucky I am to be able to do this, and I am lucky, but I just can’t help it.

– Casey

Hi Casey,

Last year I went to one of my top ten places I’d always wanted to visit, Machu Picchu. What struck me the most was my reaction when I finally stood on the hillside and gazed down on the ruins: ‘wow, looks just like all the photographs.’ I struggled with sharing my thoughts with the rest of our group because for some it was a mystical experience while for me it was a lot of ho-hum. The take-away? It is what it is.

You’ve been experiencing amazing sights for quite awhile, and rather than nature now surprising you with its beauty and uniqueness, it’s become your new normal. It’s not possible to be in a state of constant wonder and exhilaration, just as it’s not realistic for someone who has had a near-death experience to be constantly appreciative of life. While the over-arching theme may be gratitude and joy, the day to day can also contain the mundane annoyances, irritations, and even boredom that serve as contrast to remind us of the good.

Your dip is normal, and your acceptance that it is what it is may ironically be the way out. Rather than ‘BUT I should be enjoying this’ what if you tried ‘I am enjoying this AND I’m burnt out.’ Is it possible for both to be true? Can you create space to simply be okay with the dip and continue to do the day-to-day things that bring you satisfaction if not immediate joy? Or might a temporary break on your journey help reinvigorate you for the next phase of your trip? If so, consider taking a trip home for some emotional replenishment.

The comments of others don’t really require a response other than ‘thanks, I am learning a lot’ or ‘I hope you get to have your own adventure someday’ type answers. You aren’t obligated to feel a certain way and most often they are merely expressing a desire to find the freedom to take off and do what they see you doing. Instead of feeling a need to live up to their expectations encourage them to live their own dream.

– Lynda

PHOTO: RTW PAUL

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