From the time we are young we all have these preconceived thoughts and ideas about how we’re going to turn out once we grow older and what we’ll accomplish and do in the future. These preconceived ideas are mostly based on what others have told us about ourselves or what others believe we can and cannot do based on our personalities and behaviors they have observed within us. Do you notice what these ideas have in common? They all come from the same source and not where they need to come from. They all come from other people, not from your own beliefs you have within yourself.
I believe that is the reason so many do not accomplish all that they could. They do not push themselves to their limits; they do not try anything new, anything outside of their comfort zones. They do not do the things which scare them. How fun is it really to live in fear? I know firsthand it’s not fun at all. Fear holds us back from accomplishing so much. It keeps us from living our life to the fullest every single day. Now I know that it’s not an easy task to step out of your comfort zone and face your fears head on. I’m not an outgoing person, and I definitely know how hard that can be. I know that about myself and I’ve been told that by who knows how many people. Because I am not outgoing, I tend to prefer sitting on the sidelines. I would much rather watch everyone else play the games, act crazy, and make fools of themselves. I watch as everyone else takes big risks and chances and think how out of their minds they must be to do something like that, but at the same time, deep inside me, I want to be like them. I want to live more carefree, more spontaneous. I want to actually be out in the action, not just on the side. But why has it taken me and so many others so long to finally stand up and push ourselves beyond our limits? It’s expected of people like me to not do anything crazy or out of the ordinary. That’s what we’ve always heard, that’s what we’ve always been told, so why should we think anything different?
Like I said before, I’m not a person that finds it so easy to face her fears and take that leap into the unknown. But a little more than a year and half ago, my journey into the unfamiliar began. When I decided to move to Tuscaloosa, 4 hours from home, back in August of 2012, that was a major step out of my comfort zone. I was leaving everything familiar and comfortable to come to a brand new place where I knew only two, maybe three people. It was an exciting new adventure, but also one that scared me at the same time. But what I did once I made the move surprised everyone who knew me, even surprised myself. I knew I had to force myself to go to church events and activities with people I didn’t know. If I ever was going to make friends and get in with a great group of like-minded Christians, I had to put myself in uncomfortable situations. It wasn’t easy. In fact, there were many times I didn’t want to step out there because fear held me back, but I found that the more I pushed myself, the easier it became. Today, I have formed amazing friendships and have established such strong relationships with so many different ones that I never would have developed if I had not taken that first step and went beyond what I thought were my limits.
I’m also not a spontaneous person. Everyone that knows me knows that I am a planner. I get that from my mom, who gets that from her dad. When things come up that alter and change our plans, we usually have to take a step back, analyze the situation, really think about it, and then we’re ready to go once again. It really throws us off when the unexpected happens. We are flexible people and can adapt to change easily; it just takes us a little bit longer than some to adjust to the change. One thing you hear a lot of people talking about is taking these spontaneous road trips. These road trips to who knows where and coming back who knows when. Trips like that used to scare me. How can you not have a plan on where you’re going or how long you’re going to be on the road? What if this happens and what if that happens? So many different excuses I can think of to not go on an unplanned road trip. To be honest, most of these excuses are fear of the unknown once again. I do not feel adequately prepared for what I will be facing and I feel more out of control. I like to be in control of what I’m doing. It’s safer and much more comfortable. I’m not really missing out on anything by never taking a spontaneous road trip, right? While at the same time I’m also thinking, I wish I had the guts to do something like that. It does actually look fun. The people that go on these trips and those that live out of their comfort zones seem to be happier, more carefree, more relaxed, where I tend to be wishing for those moments and longing for them instead of actually accomplishing them.
Well, who would have ever thought that I would be one to take part in a spontaneous road trip? I never thought I would. My friends and family back home could never see me doing something such as that. But last summer, towards the end, I got the grand opportunity to take a five hour road trip to the beach to watch the sunrise. It was completely spontaneous and not planned at all. One moment I’m sitting around with friends talking and laughing, and the next thing I know we’re loading the vehicle at midnight to start out on our journey. We made it to the beach, with breakfast in hand, just in time to watch the sun come up from the horizon and we returned later that evening. Even though we had little to no sleep for about 36 hours, and we had spent 10 hours on the road for just a few hours on the beach, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. It was nice to not have a schedule to follow for a change. It helped relax my mind. It really was an incredible experience. One that I would love to have again.
What I’ve learned in such a short amount of time, is that I would not be who I am today or even heading towards the person I am becoming if I had not taken that giant leap into the unknown. Each and every one of the experiences I’ve had has taught me so much about life and about myself. I’ve surprised myself so many times already and I don’t believe I’m finished with surprises just yet. To all of you out there like me who are too afraid to push yourself and accomplish those things that you’ve always wanted to complete, take that first step. It doesn’t have to be a giant leap. Take it one step at a time. It’ll become easier. I don’t think you’ll regret it once you do.