Memoir Living

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.

Look how much fun I’m having!
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.

For instance, I got to go paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland.

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!