November, my dear, you never fail me. Each year, you arrive jam-packed with comfort-zone-busting, rip-you-apart-at-the-seams-because-why-not type of change. Before, your arrival meant simply that I could use a new haircut, and that would suffice to make me feel almost born again. Nowadays, you seem to get a thrill out of turning my life upside down.
I kind of hate you, but I love you. You keep me on my toes. You make me feel pain, you make me suffer, yet through it all, you remind me that I’m alive. And, as long as the latter is true, I will have to keep adapting to these 180 degree-angle turns. We all will. It’s in the ebs and flows that most of our life happens, anyway.
Joseph Campbell famously said that “you must give up the life you’ve planned, in order to have the life that is waiting for you,” and I can’t help but pay attention each time I read that line. So, what’s stopping me from surrendering to the mighty whims of this earthly roller coaster?
Now, let me tell you a little something about this frenemy of mine:
Fear stunts my growth.
Fear keeps me from loving fully.
But, most importantly, fear is a figment of my imagination.
It is in my head, a monster I create all on my own, and unless I give it oxygen, it cannot survive. Yet, I constantly feed it, as if afraid of what will happen if I don’t. Yes, I’m well aware of the contradiction here.
In the past, when faced with a decision between staying put in a very comfortable life that I loved or taking a leap into one that was unknown, I chose the latter. Does this make me brave? I’m not sure. I did it only because, at the end of the day, I didn’t think I could live with myself if I had chosen comfort over adventure.
At the time, it felt like choosing between the least of two fears, but now that I think about it, how could I be afraid of what I didn’t know? Rather, I was scared to death of what I would be losing and leaving behind. Sometimes, when situations like these arise, we stay stuck and purposefully coward behind what we already know, only so that we don’t have to put ourselves through the pain and suffering that comes with discovering something new.
But, guess what? It is through that same pain and suffering that we are able to grow, that we can step out of our comfort zone and become better people, as well as create the lives we’ve always wanted to lead but have not always dared to create.
So I urge myself, and everyone, to dedicate time during these last few weeks of 2013 to think about what it is we’ve been putting off due to our many made-up fears, and to realize that no one can make the jump for us. We have to dare to be bold and know that it will be OK if we fail because we have the wonderful ability of getting back up and trying again.
Life is constantly changing. Change is movement. It is through movement that we live. Stay still, and you might as well give in to death as you watch everyone and everything pass you by.
Photo: Belén Alemán / East Meets Words - Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA