It’s been two years since John and I arrived in San Diego. I remember the day we got here like it was yesterday. We’d been stuck in Las Vegas for 5 nights, which had been 4 nights too many, and were excited to get the heck out of there! We were up super early that Saturday morning, eager to embark on the very last leg of our seven-week journey. We packed up all (twenty) of our bags, grabbed a quick bite to eat, loaded up the car, and started on our way.
With each mile we drove closer to San Diego, I could feel my anxiety level increase. I’d become so used to the road trip lifestyle, had such an enjoyable time traveling, and loved spending so much time with John that I began to panic. I felt as though I never wanted the trip to end!
In my growing state of anxiety, I frantically began to beg John to keep going! He kept laughing at me, telling me to relax, and I literally felt as though jumping out of the moving car seemed a viable option instead of facing the prospect of “getting back to reality.” I had loved the fact that my “reality” had been traveling and exploring, indulging in different foods, experiencing different cultures, and being “free” for the prior seven weeks, that I began to actually panic as we approached San Diego and the idea that my new “reality” would be similar to the one I left behind in Buffalo.
About thirty minutes outside of the city I would soon call my new home, I broke down into tears. “Keep going!! Don’t get off at this exit, please John!!” I was frantically throwing out every (very outlandish) what-if I could think of, as well – “What if our new apartment that we haven’t seen has a cockroach infestation?” “What if it takes us months to find jobs?” “What if our apartment is in a bad area and we didn’t realize it because we had to sign the lease remotely?” “What if we never get the chance to travel again?” John could barely keep me from having a mental breakdown at this point, and honestly, I don’t think he knew how to handle it! Just a few hours before, I’d been just as excited as he had been to escape Las Vegas, what had happened? In actually, I was just psyching myself out because of my underlying fears.
The point of my story is this. A lot of my friends think I’m fearless. They think I make a decision and go for it, and the road to get there is easy. But it’s not, and it honestly never is. It’s pretty damn scary and daunting and socially unacceptable. It’s usually the backwards way of doing things, the road less traveled, and the decision that’s hardest to explain. People think of you differently and call you ‘crazy’, so much that sometimes you actually wonder if you are. Following your dreams is never easy, and although each time I take a step towards achieving mine, I have confidence that I can do it, I am just as fearful, as well. But what I always remind myself is this – “If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs.” And if that’s not the riskiest alternative out there, I don’t know what is!
Here’s to taking that first step and making your dreams come true. Looking back on that car ride, as I approached the city that I now love, it’s a reminder to me that you shouldn’t be focused on the “what if’s”, you need to focus on the “what could be’s”. Life is full of opportunities, but no one’s going to hand them out to you like candy on halloween, you’ve got to go out there and get the good stuff yourself! Banish those fears and the voice inside your head that tells you you can’t do it, I know you can!