Between 14 and 17 I was bedridden. Why? Back surgeries. (Notice the “ies”.)
Being bed-ridden makes you crazy because you realize that you aren’t needed in this world in order for it to function. Life continues with or without your presence.
I remember thinking to myself as I sat there propped by several pillows on my mom’s bed, drowsy from drugs that if I ever got better and could one day move without being in agonizing pain and think clearly without drugs clouding my thoughts I would do something interesting with my life.
This is how I wound up in Italy for three months during my sophomore year in college.
At 19 I saw a study abroad poster for Florence and I was like, “There’s my grand adventure!” So I ripped it off the wall, stuffed it in my backpack, and struck up a deal with my parents to pay for half of the trip. I was beyond excited for my Italian adventure… until I got there.
Sitting in my apartment’s kitchen alone that first night I remember thinking: “What the hell have I done?”
For the past five years I had been in a bubble. A comfort zone. Sure I had several back surgeries and life was traumatizing, but other people made decisions for me.
And here was my chance to do something and I was terrified. Overwhelmed. Paralyzed by the newness of it all.
A new country. New language. New way of living. (I mean, I hadn’t even gone to the grocery store on my own before this.)
Back during my spinal surgeries, I quit thinking “Why is this happening to me?” and instead thought “What can I learn from this?” knowing that I had to treat the future unknowns in a similar fashion.
“There is no growth in a comfort zone and no comfort in a growth zone.”
So I leaned in to the discomfort, knowing that by doing so I would grow. I stopped thinking in black and white terms. Instead of winning or failing it was just growing. Evolving. Adding a new chapter to my life.
It was the first time I thought of my life as a book. A memoir.
During my trip, I had the opportunity to spend 11 days in Switzerland and Germany with my mom’s close friends, but I was paralyzed by fear.
Then I thought: What if someone were reading my memoir and came upon this point?
What would be a more interesting read?
Option A.) She stays in her cozy apartment and watches Netflix.
Option B.) She goes on a grand adventure despite being scared shitless.
I’d rather read about Option B.
And so that’s what I did. I took a train to Switzerland and Germany and some things went wrong and some things went right. But in the end I was ok. And most importantly I had a story to tell.
I want you to check in with yourself right now. Is fear holding you back from going on a grand adventure? And by grand adventure what I mean is this: Are you living your life to the fullest?
Are you loving to the fullest?
Are you sharing your talents with the world?
Or are you paralyzed by fear?
I once heard a pastor say that fear, guilt, and shame are not from God.
Be curious. Show up. Lean into the discomfort. Create interesting memoir-worthy chapters with your life.
Go on a grand adventure!