As my departure date inches closer (countdown: three days left in the States), I seem to be hearing the same question over and over again: Are you nervous?
Well…no. I’m moving to a beautiful beach for six months. The sun will be shining and I will be tan, without breaking my “no tanning bed” resolution for 2010. I’ll be able to eat une crêpe au Nutella et bananes as my serving of fruit for the day. The Mediterranean will be mere footsteps from my window.
True, I have no idea what’s in store for me. I could fail miserably at finding a job, maintaining a blog, becoming fluent in French. I might blow through my savings and not make any friends. It’s possible–maybe even probable–that my dream could end up as a nightmare. Believe me, I can give you plenty of reasons of why I should be nervous.
But why dwell on that? Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, but I choose to focus on everything that can go right instead of everything that can go wrong. To me, fixating on that fear is what keeps people from traveling, from taking risks, from following their dreams. Fear paralyzes people, while routine comforts them.
Instead, I prefer to be motivated by a quote from The Four-Hour Work Week:
“There was practically no risk, only huge life-changing upside potential, and I could resume my previous course without any more effort that I was already putting forth.”
Yes, it’s normal to be scared. But in our society, “normal” is also a wedding weeks after college graduation, 2.5 crying and pooping bundles of joy, a cubicle from 8 to 5, a job that inspires you only to live for the weekend. I’ve never wanted to be normal. I’ve never wanted to waste my time worrying when I could be busy living. Side note: I have plenty of friends who are married, pregnant, working in a great job and I totally respect their life choice. But while I’m semi-envious of the love and security they found at a young age, that is just not the life I want right now.
Being nervous about change is a normal part of life. But letting that nervousness, that fear stop you from following your dreams? To me, that just doesn’t seem like a good use of the short time we have on this earth.
What scares you most about traveling or breaking the normal career path? How have you conquered those fears? Or why haven’t you?