Feel The Fear, And Do It Anyway

^ A little life advice I try to give myself on the daily.

I think it’s a good little anecdote to live by (And not just because one of my friends bought me this book for my birthday). As a young girl, I just about avoided this concept like the plague. I severely lacked a reckless abandon. I was not the eight year old girl running completely naked across the beach before throwing herself into the water to play in the waves with her equally-as-naked twin brother. I was the eight year old who would watch from a safe 15 feet back, fully covered in a rash guard, thoroughly convinced that I might drown or be eaten by some aquatic animal should I set foot in the water. And then I would cry on the car ride home because I didn’t get to play in the ocean.

In fact, I was that eight year old in almost every aspect of my life until I was sixteen years old. At sixteen, my high school offered a one week trip to Spain with the Spanish Language department. I was one of the first people offered a spot. After days of crying over it, I fearfully turned it down, and instantly regretted the decision.

You know those people who have theories about the universe and its connectivity and everything happening for a reason and whatnot? I am one of those people. This made me one of those really annoying kids who always needed to know why or how everything happened. This now makes me a moderately nosy adult who asks lots of questions. This also explains why I was given another chance to go on the trip when someone dropped out just weeks before departure.

The universe aside, this was a really big move for very fearful me. More details on my trip to Spain here, but in short, the trip was the very first thing I ever did to push myself out of my tightly-compacted comfort zone. Yes, I was terrified, but I realized there were ways to expand my horizons at my own pace, which was way better than not doing it at all.

I moved to New York City. I traveled some more, and booked adventures all on my own. I revisited an incredible city. I moved to another state for an entire summer. And now, I’m looking at trips that involve climbing bridges and learning to surf, and I’m looking to move again for real.

Every once in a while, I’ll have a really pivotal look-back moment while doing something not at all revolutionary. Going out with friends or taking a bus somewhere else for the weekend is hardly groundbreaking. But sometimes, I’ll sit there proudly and think about eight year old or sixteen year old me. I bet she never knew what a little fear and an airplane ticket would do for her.

This doesn’t mean I am fearless. I am not going skydiving anytime soon. I still cried on my flight to Austin because I was going to miss my family. I gracefully bowed out of holding an alligator in Florida because the gator seemed rather angry. I still can’t wrap my head around eating snails because it reminds me of Ron Weasley throwing up slugs in the second Harry Potter movie. I haven’t acquired the same reckless abandon as my skinny-dipping friend, but there is something to be said for her tenacity. Her curiosity. Her thirst for all the wonderful things the waves, and life, has to offer.

That’s what I have acquired: by taking my fear, acknowledging it, and politely asking it to step aside for now, because I want to play in the ocean, too.

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