Fear. It’s a beast. It can creep up on you slowly or hit you like a ton of bricks. Fear can tie your stomach in knots, coerce you into making decisions that are not necessarily the right ones, or keep you doing things you hate because it’s “safe”.
But fear can also be a powerful motivator.
When Aaron and I chose to create a purposeful life full of travel and exploration, we were scared. We were scared of all the “what ifs” that go along with travel and a lack of a permanent home. But that fear was nothing compared to the fear that enveloped us whenever we thought of the possibility that one or both of us might not ever make it to that magical age where one stops working in the US to start enjoying life; that we might miss our opportunity to live a purposeful life if we waited. That particular fear pushed us to make the choice to embrace our fear of the unknown and create our own ideal life. The potential reward seemed so much greater.
As we venture on this unconventional path, this will definitely not be the last fear we face. I like to think that we will continue to work towards living a life void of fear, where fear does not guide us. Whether we will ever be able to do this, I have no idea.
What I do know is that yesterday, I stood on a platform VERY high above Lake Atitlan in San Marcos, Guatemala and found myself faced with a fear filled decision. Would I jump or would I refuse? I hate heights- only when I look down, but I hate them. I felt sick to my stomach. My legs were shaky. I really wanted to say “no, I can’t do it”. Then the 13 year old jumped off. She made it. And then the fiancé jumped off. He made it. I started thinking about everyone I knew who had come here. They all jumped off the platform and they all made it. If I refused to do this, it would be because of my own fear, nothing else. I hated every step of the climb to the top. To be honest with you, I hated the whole way down too, but I jumped. I made it. I will probably never do it again, but I made it. If I am totally honest, I can say that it was a little bit fun to be suspended in the air for so long and the water was absolutely gorgeous. But what felt even better was choosing not to let my fear make my decision for me.
Sometimes you have to jump and trust that you will be just fine when you reach the bottom.