Escaping Your Life

Escaping Your Life

Years ago I couldn’t imagine living a life that I didn’t need a constant break from. What I thought was self care was actually me escaping from the stressful life circumstances that I had created. But what if escaping your life isn’t the answer?

Friend, in this chat we’re diving into what I’ve learned in order to build a life that I don’t need to escape from. If you can relate, this chat is for you!

Are there boundaries you need to put in place? Something you need to walk away from? Friend, it’s up to you.

Thanks for being here! Drop into my DMs @NicoleWalters with your next move.

Nicole:

Hey friends. So in Nothing is Missing, one of the things that I discuss pretty regularly is the impact on my health of the lifestyle that I was living. And there’s a particular quote that I want to call to the front today for our chat, which is, “You can drown surrounded by life preservers. You can drown surrounded by life preservers. And what does that mean? It means that having the inability to ask for help, or even worse, you’ve managed to collect the resources that you need to save yourself, but not use them, is not just foolish, right? Like, why even let that happen if you’re struggling?

But it’s an essential attribute that we all have to overcome in order to get better. And You’ve all followed me here on my journey through becoming a mom, you know, to my three girls, for those of you who followed me online, to navigating my marriage, if you go back to some of our chats from season one and season two, I’ve, I’ve discussed regularly about the struggles I was having in my first marriage, with my ex about, uh, divorce and how hard it was.

I did a whole episode about during the pandemic, how, I mean, we were really going through it. And ultimately that led to our divorce. I think that it was kind of a reckoning moment, you know, at least for me, where a push came to shove and I had to, you know, make some shifts and we’re going to talk about that more today.

But, You know, I’ve talked a lot about how through all these seasons of cancer and, you know, a TV show and building a business and mothering and that I was feeling my external decision making and my inability to either leverage the support that was present or create support systems that I needed, how it was impacting my body.

And I. Know that you hear this everywhere that stress shows up in the body first for me. It was through my blood pressure was very high and my I had headaches and eventually got to the point where I had facial paralysis and you know depression obviously was a standard that I think a lot of people feel anxiety and and just general fatigue and burnout burnout being The inability to make decisions, the apathy, you know, apathy meaning, you know, really looking at your work, something that you may have typically been passionate, passionate about.

This is what I always use as one of my first indicator signs. So if any of you are feeling this and raising your hand on this one, you may be experiencing burnout. One of the first things is you take things that you love. Whether it is like, man, I typically love like, you know, hanging out with my kids or going to their soccer games, or you take things you love, like, man, I used to love my job and my business and my company or this aspect of my job, you know, visiting the kids or being hands on or doing the project, and all of a sudden, you can take this whole job and shove it right when you start feeling like I don’t even care what happens here anymore.

I’m not going, I’m not checking for this, you may be experiencing burnout, you know, it’s not that the job itself has changed so much, it’s that you’re over it. Um, I was definitely experiencing all of these things and I feel myself getting emotional about it because it’s kind of, I’m taking you guys back with some of the knowledge that comes in your 40s, you know, looking back on, believe it or not, we’ve been in these conversations for over a decade now, um, you know, You guys can scroll back, you can Google back, you can look back at old videos and lives and see where I was as young as 26, 27, and where I am now in a new marriage and in a, you know, new form of parenting because I have older children and we’re looking to start and expand and grow our family and a new city and a new life and the thing I can tell you when I was talking about this.

This episode, this chat we’re having is inspired by a conversation I had with one of my sweet, dear friends, Koya Webb. If you don’t follow her on the internet, she’s like a super powerhouse woman, yoga instructor, brilliant. Uh, we just did a chat on her podcast and, um, we were talking about how so many of us get really good at identifying the hardship and struggle in our life.

But we never make the actual changes to make sure we don’t return to it. And one of the things that’s really beautiful about where I stand here today is that I can actually look at the changes that I made to make sure that certain habits and Outcomes and impacts of the past are no longer there. And I really want you to be with me on this conversation here.
And I want you to really think about where you are right now. So many of us will eventually get to the place where we will either be invited by the people around us or forced to sit our tails down when we’re too tired.

So. We’ll say, I’ll take the day off, or I need a long weekend, or why don’t we take a quick little three day vacation, or I’m going to do a little bit less work, or I’m going to come home early. Now, I’m throwing all these things out knowing good and well, some of y’all right now are nodding your heads being like, I need to, she’s not talking about me.

That’s what I need to be better about, right? So you’re already in a different camp, right? Where you feel that burnout and you take a couple days off. But what I want to say to you right now, as someone who is. I think really finally having my eyes open as I am closing loops and closing tabs and really looking at chapters of my life that I’ve been carrying for as long as four years really being done.

And by four years, I mean things like my divorce, my divorce forever. It took forever from separation to final signing. It took forever, longer than the average. It was, it was difficult. It was contentious. It was, challenging. And, uh, you know, for a plethora of reasons, you know, but, ultimately, you know, it’s done.

And I, and also when I say for a plethora of reasons, like divorces are not easy, period, right? And the issues are rarely the paperwork because, uh, that’s just math, right? Like you get this, you get that, it’s decided by a judge, if that’s where it goes, whatever. It’s always the emotions around what people think they’re owed or what people think the outcome should be or what people are willing to do or not do.

And again, this is not speaking to my ex. Um, I am only speaking about myself. Um, Because I have all of those feelings too, you know, of what I think is appropriate or what I felt should be an appropriate outcome, especially with consideration of You know, pre existing children and, you know, all of that. So these are all like really normal, standard, generic divorce things.

And how you work through them is usually indicative of the communication skills you might have had in your marriage. So if you were struggling with that in your marriage, you better believe you’re going to struggle with it in divorce, right? I say this to say that as these chapters start closing in your life, you know, so for you maybe it’s going through an intensive medical experience where you’re like, okay, I’ve gone through that first round of chemo or a difficult season of your kid’s life, like middle school, whatever it is, as you start closing things, these things out, you’re able to look at them a little bit differently.

And, That’s where I am now. I’m in a very special time in my life where for those of you who follow online, you probably are noticing I’m getting ready to celebrate, um, my marriage with my, uh, husband, Alex, you know, where we’re having a wedding and we are really excited to gather our friends and family to really celebrate our union And so I’ve got, I’m getting a chance to do this incredible, beautiful thing that I’ve never done in this way before and is so deeply meaningful.
Um, and our wedding celebration is a bigger thing. It’s a bigger thing than just a wedding because it is the culmination of You know, getting through a divorce, you know, and you know, part of which he had to be incredibly supportive on on the tail end, you know, and getting through, you know, transitioning littles into our life, you know, we, you know, Alex has been solo raising, um, Allie, our littlest one for over two years now, you know, and just becoming a family.

Again, you know, and acknowledging and recognizing families are made different ways. I mean, a lot of these things are Really special and worth commemorating, you know, and then also, you know as I talk about the clothes also the growth, right? It’s also a commemoration of what we’re seeking and committing ourselves to taking on which is growing our family and adding to our family and whatever that journey looks like both as conceiving and then also you know, carrying and then also birthing, which is new for both of us and something that we uniquely get to celebrate, you know, when that season comes.

And I have to tell you, looking back with reflection around my health during this season, the thing I’ve learned is that, and that I want to extend to you as well, is that the quick fix of a day off is insufficient for long term health. Write that down, underline it, bullet point it, put it on a sticky, say it to yourself every day.

The quick fix of a day off is insufficient for long term health. And I have had to learn that in a million different ways, starting with my separation. Now, if you read the book, you already know this, but I will be diving deep even more over the coming years, weeks, years, days, chats, because I am learning so much more about it, especially as I start writing elements of book two.
And I can tell you right now, I thought, because this was my continuous pattern, and some of you witnessed this online, so if you were a, a watcher of my life online, and you know, on this journey with me, you may have noticed I took a lot of solo vacations. I would work and then I would take these, uh, things that I called self care sabbaticals where I would just kind of take time off.

And again, blessed to have the income, the privilege, the flexibility. I had a full team of nannies, house managers, support to help facilitate this at home. Uh, but I would work ridiculously hard for months on end. And then I would take off maybe three, three to four days maybe, uh, where I would fly to my favorite resort in Cancun and I would just sit.

And I would spend probably 24 to 48 hours, uh, sleeping. And then I would spend time being no one’s anything. You probably heard me say this languaging before. Um, where no one would ever say my name unless they were bringing me a drink or a cocktail or food or something like that.

And, um, I’m not knocking this. It was extremely valuable time, and I’m not saying I won’t return to this or that I don’t do some element of it, but what I was essentially doing was running away. I was taking this time off to get away from a high stress situation, and the high stress situation was my work.

It was my home. It was my marriage and my relationships. It was my friendships. It was, the way that I was a boss. It was my parenting. Just parenting is stressful in general. Not that I had difficult children, but it was just stressful in general. It was my health, just managing of my health or lack thereof.

I’d had this entire world that was so high stress, that was so poorly managed, that lacked so many boundaries and was so filled with me taking on by choice in so many ways, responsibilities that were not mine to carry. And my solution to that, whenever I would get to the point where the pot was boiling over, was to leave.

And then enter the opposite, the polar opposite, which was silence, the equivalent of a float tank, right? I just wanted to lay in silence and, and do everything else. But, and you know what that did? It let a little steam out of the kettle, but make no mistake. That thing was still full of pressure. And that’s what I did for 12 years, thinking that that was the solution.
And I think that that’s what a lot of us think it is. I just need to rest so I can get back in the game. I want to let you know, if you haven’t heard it from anywhere else, Resting to get back in the game is not real. You need to change the rules of the game. If you’re trying to actually win and make it to the end, you have to change the rules of the game.

And what does that mean? Here’s the part that’s going to really have some of y’all, you know, in your feels. It means that on some levels, you may have to give up things that you think are not worth it. They are unfathomable. where you’re like, but this game can’t change because if for some reason I gave up this thing, it wouldn’t even be the same game.

That’s right. Some of y’all shouldn’t even be playing this way. So for me, what did that look like? My marriage. I can’t tell you how many times I would take these vacations for three and four days and dread going back home to the home that I had curated. That was beautiful with my incredible children that I loved.

And I would dread going back. And I would dread going back, not just because of the relationship that I was in, but I would dread going back because I knew I would just be going back to work, to service, to things that needed fixed and corrected and, and cleaned and just a to do list that never ended. And what I recognized was that where I was vacationing was peace and I was returning to my constant, which was chaos and Obviously, I was just going to return to burnout. Your body will tell you. It is giving you signs. How on earth will your body believe that you love and that you care for yourself and that you see value in yourself and that you see worth in yourself if you continue to return into a place of chaos?
But make no mistake, for 12 years, I struggled because I could not even catch a vision around a way to live in both peace. and maintain the life that I had before. Oh, this is hard to say out loud, but I’m gonna say it because, I mean, who does it serve if I, if I don’t, right? It was hard for me to believe that I could have peace and still maintain the life that I’d worked so hard, the vision, right?

The fantasy of All things amazing, you know, that I lived in before the, the million dollar house and all the, I, I, how could I maintain that and still have peace? And I did everything, every hack, every strategy around it, get a nanny, get more help, get a bigger team, get a different office. Buy more tools, go shopping, take vacations, eat this way, lose this weight, do this, do this again.

I, listen, it’s the way that I say sometimes, and y’all know I’m a Christian, I joke that people will try everything but Jesus, okay? They’ll be going through stress in their life, and they will be like, let me get, and I’m not knocking those of you who try these things, right? But make no mistake, I’m a Jesus and therapy girl, you need both, right?

But when I tell you people will try everything but, they will try all the sages, all the crystals, all the oils, all the things without throwing up a single prayer to say, And if this thing also works, Lord, can you help me? You know, he’s an option too. You know, it’s just like, people try everything but Jesus.

And it’s like, that’s how I felt. I was trying everything but actual release. Surrender. Letting go. Shifts. The truth was, peace was mine to have, but not without letting go of things that did not serve me. I could live a life where burnout was constantly decreasing, and I could live in equilibrium, an equal life of joy and peace and safety and health and wellness and well being.

But not in the life I was in. And that was hard to accept. Heck, it’s still hard to accept. There’s, something I experience right now, which, you know, pop in my DMs if someone else is experiencing this, and, you know, I talk about it with my therapist, but, you know, I wake up in a panic some days, in the mornings.

And nothing crazy, you know, but, I’ll wake up, and I’ll be like, I can feel my heart kind of racing, you know, from a, from a sleep first thing in the morning. And it’s because I forget that my life is different now. That’s how enmeshed in my DNA, the trauma and the exhaustion of my previous life is. I wake up and I look over and I see Alex and I look around my room.
And I expect to still see my other life. And I don’t know if a lot of people experience this, but the way that I can say it’s, what it’s similar to is if you’re someone who travels a lot, where you’re like, oh, I’m always in a different hotel, like I’m a pilot or a flight attendant or a teacher or a sales rep or something like that, sometimes you wake up and you don’t know what city you’re in.

You know, like, or if you’ve ever been on like a tour or anything like that, you wake up and you’re like, where am I? Am I in Michigan today? Am I in such and such, you know? Just, things change so rapidly that you just, you kind of get a little disoriented. I experienced a disorientation of my life where I wake up and I open my eyes and I expect to see my Atlanta bedroom and I expect to see, you know, or hear noises of a full house with tons of kids in it.

And, you know, nannies and house managers kind of bustling around or a gardener outside. And it takes me a minute to kind of acclimate myself because I then realize, oh no, you’re in California. But catch this, over the past three years, I have let go of so many disruptive and chaotic things in my life.

Whether it is team or business behaviors or strategy or boundaries or people or habits or food. So many things that did not serve me and I just did not care what the price was because of the price was my peace. It was too expensive. I let go of so many things in my life that I, my life is unrecognizable now, even to me.

And I mean that in the best possible way. I wake up and I look around and I think that I have, I have dreamt up the life that I am blessed to live in. And I literally like, well, if Alex isn’t in the bed because he got up to like make hot breakfast for Allie or take her to school or he’s doing a workout, I’ll call him and be like, Alex?

And he’s like, yeah, I’m here, baby. And I will literally feel relief come over me. I will literally feel relief come over me because I’m like, oh, I did not dream him up too. I am in this incredible life, and to be clear, if you’ve read my book, everything is right, everything is wrong, but nothing is missing.

My life looks nothing like what I could have ever expected it to look like. If you told me this was the life that I would have to have in order to have the peace that I deserve, back when I was running and escaping from the life that I curated and chose and built and made, I would have said, y’all can keep it.

Y’all can keep it. You’re telling me I’m going to get rid of the massive office with all the employees and I’m going to switch that out for a smaller office and in Beverly Hills and that I am going to get rid of the massive million dollar home and I’m going to live in a home that actually costs more because California, but it’s smaller, you know, and I’m going to get rid of the staff coming in and out all the time and living there permanently.

And I’m just going to let go of all of these things, but that my, that’s going to increase my peace. I would have been like, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. But I want to tell y’all that the peace that you’re seeking, the ease, the stability that is devoid of burnout and keeps it from returning is in surrender.

It’s in letting go of what you may think serves you and embracing what’s actually going to make a difference in your life. What is the point of taking the vacation days without learning and creating the boundaries so you don’t even need them as much? When I tell you. It is possible to love every single room that you’re in, to be in the car and feel sadness about leaving a home that you love and you just wish you were there, and joy as you drive to a meeting with a great friend that you’re with, and excitement that you get to return back home, but happiness that you’re also in the car by yourself and having a moment of peace.

I mean, my life right now is one where I feel so much. contentment in every moment I’m in. So even now, just chatting with you, I could never have dreamt up having the blessing of, you know, being with a podcast network where I get to come in and sit. I mean, there are hearts prayers, you know, for those of you all who are Christians, you know, we, um, One of the things that’s said in the Bible is that, you know, God knows all the prayers of our hearts, like big, small, little, you know, and even sometimes when you don’t articulate things, they pop up.

So for those of you all who are manifestors, you understand that like when you say things out loud, big or small, you can actually get them. So, if you say things like all green lights, you know, boom, you might get all green lights. And as a Christian, you know that, that, that is in the form of prayer. You know, God can do it all.

And when I tell you, There are things that I’ve articulated like, please God, give me a studio or a world where I’m able to sit down, drop my content, move on with my life. I didn’t necessarily know all the pieces to ask for that, but I have that now. And that is a blessing that I didn’t, I didn’t even know how to pray.

in specificity for, and yet here I am sitting within it. Thank you, God. And if I had known, though, that in order for me to get here, because the thing that he wanted for me that would answer those specific prayers was in California. And the only way I would get it would be if I let go of what I had that seemed so valuable, and so intentional, and so perfect.
I mean, I chose it. In order for me to have what I needed, I had to let go of what I worked for? It doesn’t even make sense, and yet it’s true. And there are a million stories like this that you hear online, and I hope that as you go through your day after this conversation, you start looking with intentionality at that.

How many people have you heard tell stories of what they’ve had to give up to get where they’re supposed to be in their purpose? That’s the beginning of almost every story. You have to quit your job to be your full time entrepreneur. You have to quit living a life of singledom to commit to partnership.

You have to quit eating poorly or making decisions that may not align with your body and your health in order to embrace a more healthy lifestyle. You have to quit spending recklessly in order to save and acquire things you love.

letting go is not just something though that happens in a small scale way. Letting go has to happen completely. So it’s up to you how long it’ll take for you to end up in the life that you really want, with the health that you want, with the joy that you want, and all of which that you deserve.

But I have to let you know that the choice of how quickly you get there is whether you choose to let go in stages as I did, which I mean, classic Nicole, right? 12 years of learning myself within a marriage. And my God, when I tell you I have no regrets about my marriage, I have nothing negative to say about my ex, because He is truly and completely every single thing he’s always said he’s been, you know, so I really hope he gets every single thing that he deserves.

I hope God spares him nothing in what he deserves and in what should be in his world. I hope he gets every single ounce of it. But I also have learned so much, especially in where I continue to learn from that time that was spent. And during that timeframe, I just grew and grew and grew and, and learned and adapted and changed.

You know, I own the change for good and for bad, right? For certain, some of the ways that I changed were so terribly not good that I was able to say to myself, Oh, this isn’t who I want to be. I have to, I have to make another pivot. But towards the end, there was almost an accelerated growth as I started letting go, to the point where now, if something doesn’t serve me, I want to let go of it quickly so I don’t suffer long, because I know on the other side is goodness.

And so I hope to encourage you in examining where you are right now. Because we live in a society of what do we need next? If you’re sitting there saying to yourself, what I need is a better workout routine, a new gym membership, more tools, more supplements, more money, more this. I really want you to take today to shift and say to yourself, look, nothing is missing with me, right?

I’m your friend. You know, I’m going to say that. But maybe what do I need to let go? What boundaries do I need to build? And then that way, when you jump off and you take your vacation, You are returning to a life that you love.

 

IN THIS EPISODE, WE CHAT ABOUT:

What my old patterns of stress looked like and where they led me,
How I used to handle stress with escape,
What happened that led me to question if escaping life was the answer, and
The changes I’ve had to make to create a life that I didn’t need to escape from

RESOURCES AND LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

Let’s connect on Instagram HERE
Find my friend, Koya Webb, HERE.
Grab my New York Times Bestselling memoir, Nothing is Missing, HERE!

Book a 20 min call to see if working together is the right next step for you!

What is Wellness Privilege and why does it leave us feeling like we aren’t doing enough, ever? Listen here or watch here.

I love reading your reviews of the show! You can share your thoughts on Apple here!

MORE ABOUT THE NICOLE WALTERS PODCAST:

If you’re looking for the strategies and encouragement to pursue a life of purpose, this is the podcast for you! Week after week Nicole Walters will have you laughing hysterically while frantically taking notes as she shares her own personal stories and answers your DMs about life, business, and everything in between.

As a self-made multimillionaire and founder of the digital education firm, Inherit Learning Company, Nicole Walters is the “tell-it-like-it-is” best friend that you can’t wait to hang out with next.

When Nicole shows up, she shows OUT, so tune in each week for a laugh, a best friend chat, plus the strategies and encouragement you need to confidently live a life of purpose.

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