Tomorrow morning my teenager returns from a 3 week service trip in Africa. This is the first time that one of my children will have experienced an unfulfilled bucket-list item of mine. Since I was young, I have always dreamt of doing exactly what she has now done – going to Africa, going on Safari, and working with villagers. I even flirted with the idea of volunteering in the Peace Corps (until I saw how long the application was. I was a college student and my dreams were pretty flexible at that time to avoid too much work.) This amazing trip my daughter is on has started me thinking again about my ambitions. My current hopes and dreams.
Throughout this past year of being coached and coaching others, I’ve worked a lot on visualizing my ideal life. I’ve thought about areas of my life that could be more fulfilled and made plans to attain that fulfillment. I’ve written for myself, in detailed ways, about what I would be doing, how I would be feeling, where I would be doing it, and with whom I would be doing all of this. I’ve created vision boards with pictures and quotes that remind me and keep me focused on my goals. I look at the boards and I reread my vision statements and I feel in my soul how wonderful it will be when all of this is happening.
And then I panic.
I am fearful about what steps I’d have to take to get to that point. I’m nervous that I won’t actually enjoy it when I have it. And then I get anxious that these negative thoughts will sabotage my future opportunities. Clearly, this is not the healthiest nor most productive way to move forward. And if I could discover some fearlessness around this and skip the panic mode, I’m pretty sure nothing could hold me back.
Why is it that oftentimes when life gives you something you’ve been hoping for, you start chickening out? You backpedal and wonder how you’re going to handle what you thought would be a wonderful change? Why are transitions so nervewracking?
I have mentioned in a previous post that I’m realizing that I am the only thing standing between me and my ideal life. Empowering and intimidating all at the same time.
So, I am making a commitment to myself. One I believe I’ll thank myself for later. And one that feels as daunting to me as the goals I have. Each week I will write down something that I really want in my life but am also really scared to take the steps to reach. I commit to take at least one concrete step forward that week toward attaining that dream. I already started this week. And yes, I’ve felt like breathing into a paper bag a couple of times, but the earth hasn’t opened under me and all is still basically stable. In fact, I have found myself spontanously smiling when I think of how that bit of courage has already enhanced my life.
In exactly one year and two days I’ll turn 50. I want to enter my 50s already having accomplished some of what I am starting to dream about now. And I will have arrived there week by week, one fearless step at a time.