"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
When I was eighteen, I moved two hundred miles away from home to go to college. I didn't want to go. But my parents insisted. My mom and my sister helped me move my belongings and get settled in my apartment. A couple of days later, my dad and my brother joined us. My entire family was there to support me as I began my venture into the unknown.
I was on an emotional rollercoaster. Adding to the fear component was the fact that I didn't know a soul. All of the unknowns, coupled with the fact that two hundred miles would separate me from my source of security...my parents...made the thought of saying goodbye that much harder. I didn't want my family to leave me. I didn't want to stay.
We were browsing in the college bookstore when my family announced it was time to say goodbye. Perhaps they thought that being out and around other students would help soften the blow. I remember my brother hugging me goodbye, and how I clung to him and cried. This was a big deal for me ~ I NEVER cried in public. My tears were always shed in the privacy of my own room. But that day, they had a will of their own.
So began my journey with learning to live my life bravely. I had no choice at the time. I wiped away the tears, and started to live my new life as a college student.
It doesn't matter if you are eight...or eighteen...or eighty. A prerequisite to a life well-lived is a willingness to tackle the scary stuff and learn to move forward bravely ~ especially when we are scared to death on the inside.
Someone once said that bravery is fear who's said its prayers. I like that thought because bravery isn't bravery unless fear is present. Living bravely means we press through those fears instead of letting them control us.
It didn't take long for me to get over my fears and insecurities when I went away to school. Looking back, I think that was the most life-changing lesson I learned during those four years away. I'm glad my parents scooted me out the door and two hundred miles up the coast. I wouldn't be who I am today if they'd allowed me to remain in my comfort zone at home.
The unknowns I now face call for the same quality ~ to push through the fears and the unknowns bravely. This is how I want to live my life. How about you?
"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
"Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take."
~Joshua 1:9, The Message