I know it’s been forever – a month and a half! – since I last posted. I normally don’t let life get in the way of things, but it’s been a doozy lately. My family does our holiday stuff at Thanksgiving, so I had to be ‘Christmas-ready’ with gifts shipped off to my mom’s before catching a bus the Friday after stuffing my face… and my little sister has had unending drama for the last two months (I’m the oldest, she’s the baby… ought to give you a quick clue as to the dynamic of our relationship) and I’ve been trying to help her out on top of handling all my own business. It’s been an experience, let me tell you!
But there’s something I’ve been wanting to share & I’m finally getting to where I can take a little bit of time & do just that. You see, back in September (ON my birthday, as it happens) I entered the heading for this blog post, knowing what I wanted to talk about – but not, as it happens, knowing what all was about to come sweeping into my life. I’d made a decision about fear and courage and life and how to live it…
I realized that turning 40 was a huge milestone (one of the thresholds I discussed earlier), and I wanted to start truly becoming the person I want to be. And to do that, I knew it was going to take some courage. It was going to require that I step outside of my comfort zone, think outside the box, and dive into life with intent. … Not so easy for someone who is extremely comfortable keeping to herself. But I’d made the decision & it was going to happen.
I took on a motto – “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
[Interesting note: This saying is often attributed to Thoreau, but it’s actually a misquotation. The real bit is from his Walden, and is worth sharing here in its entirety…
I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.
Pretty fabulous, isn’t it? Thought you’d like that.]
So I took the modified quote as my reminder of the whole, and set out to do just that. Another way to put it is: Do the things that scare you. (For the record, this does not include roller-coasters… I’ve been scared of them, have tried them anyway, and hate them. Don’t push it.) So far, I have made some interesting choices and had some note-worthy results:
1. Adopt another fur-baby… I fell in love with a rescue who had a hard beginning to her life, a history of abuse (as a tiny kitten), and trust issues. It’s been slow going, but she’s trusting more & more every day, and is such a sweet and happy little girl!
2. Go out by myself… Sounds simple, right? Not for an introvert… but I did it, and it went just fine. Not something I feel like doing all the time – but it’s not scary.
3. Get a tattoo… Yep, first one ever & I did it to mark this new chapter in my life. Wasn’t nearly as scary as I had thought it might be, though I did go through quite the OCD-panic of actually putting something permanent on my body. However, I had planned out what I wanted for so long, I could not possibly have been more sure. And I think it turned out great!
4. Do Something… stop talking, stop ‘some day’ing, and DO IT. Well, my lovelies, this one took the form of the plan to do volunteer work overseas. Around my birthday I was thinking of the things that I wanted to put on my ‘no fear’ list, what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be… and this one hit me like a sledgehammer. It was not something I had expected. There are always things that can get in the way, reasons (excuses!) to put it off, and a million ways to let yourself off the hook for not following your goals & dreams.
I decided enough was enough, and I wasn’t going to take the easy route any more. So I found a volunteer organization, formulated a plan, and got to work.
It’s been hard. Harder than I expected, but not more than I could handle. I’ve had to make decisions, have conversations, ask for funding & time off, juggle finances – and it’s all been worth it. MORE than worth it… and I haven’t even left yet. But I’m about to.
Come January 11, I’ll be boarding a flight to Belize where I’ll be volunteering my time at an orphanage for two weeks.
I’m still scared – I’ll be going alone, cut off from all the people who are so important to me, and I have no idea what to expect. But at the same time, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it’s what I’m supposed to be doing. And I know it’ll be an amazing, life-changing experience. I’ve hit a few rough patches in the process, but I have an amazing support structure of people who have kept me focused & on track.
There will be some time to myself while I’m there, so of course I’ll keep a journal (on paper – no computer!) and take a million pictures. But more than the things I’ll be doing for myself, it’s about what I can do for the kids there at the orphanage. I have no doubt that I’ll learn more from them than they ever will from me, but I cannot wait to meet them and get to know them.
I’m so excited to share the experience with all of you when I get back; I can hardly imagine what’s in store.
And when I do get back, I’ll still be on my path – taking leaps, and not living in fear!
Blessed Be!! 😀