Sunday, April 25, 2010

Next Steps

“…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt

Recently, I have found those words to be truer than ever. After more than a year of bad decisions and uncertainty of what I was doing and where I am going, the future has become the present. It’s time to move on and start doing the things I have been dreaming about. I suppose the big step is that I got accepted to an alternative certification program to begin teaching this fall in Austin and become a fully certified teacher by next year. So, I will be back in Austin at the beginning of June for the six weeks of training and the job search that will follow. Am I excited? Hell yes. Nervous? Never been more nervous in my life.

Working in a restaurant for the past 8 months had made me a rather bitter, cynical, judgmental, and generally unhealthy (both mentally and physically) person. I made some good friends and had some great times but overall, it was not what I wanted to be doing, and I didn’t like who I had become. I know, I should have been stronger and not let the situation affect me so intensely, but I was not strong enough to overcome that, a failure on my part. In light of the coming career change (or career beginning really) I needed to take the time to slow down and clear my mind a bit. Plus, there are just too many things I want to do and wasting my time being unhappy is not on that list.

Just about a month ago I cleared my schedule for a week and headed to Denver for an interview and some time to myself. I stayed with a friend in Denver who had another friend visiting who needed a ride to Moab. I had a car and the free time, so I figured why not? I spent a couple days thinking it over before I actually said aloud that I would give her a ride. But during that time I could not think of a reason not to go that was good enough to keep me from going. I had always wanted to go to Moab. And so it was done.

Driving back to Texas from Moab, I was feeling adventurous and picked up a hitchhiker who happened to be a young guy from Belgium named Diego who was headed to Monument Valley. It was his first time in the US and he wanted to see the Southwest, a part of the country I wouldn’t imagine many foreigners are interested in seeing, but there he was. He gave me the info for his blog and again I was inspired by the spontaneity and commitment to his dreams. All of this really got me thinking.

I have always been jealous of people who seem to do as they please and make decisions on a whim and somehow make everything work in their favor. They always seem to be the happiest people, and I could never figure out how they did it. This has been on my mind for a while, and it seems so silly now that I have realized how it works.

The only difference between people who enjoy their lives and experience those amazing adventures and those of us who are envious of their adventures is that they are actually doing it and we are sitting around, dreaming about doing it.

Back in grade school, I did Odyssey of the Mind with 3 of the best friends anyone could ever have, and our coach would always tell us “If the judges/rules don’t say you can’t, do it.” Effectively, he was saying that it’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission, something we have all heard. And something I have recently worked out in my head and would like to commit to is this: If there is something you want to do, and you can’t think of a good enough reason not to, do it! It’s so simple, and to think I never thought of it before.

And so, after spending less than 24 hours in Moab on a whim with a girl who had made a point to do as she pleased and meeting Diego, I fell in love and knew I had to come back. Working at the restaurant was proving to be less fruitful than hoped for, and I had secured a teaching job for the fall, so when I returned home I turned in my two weeks and began figuring out a way to spend my time in Moab until June.

WWOOFing is something I had heard of on multiple occasions, and it always piqued my interest, but I had never done anything about it. And one morning it hit me: Why not WWOOF in Moab?

And so, here I am, WWOOFing in Moab. And why? Fear. Not the presence of fear, but rather the absence of fear. Maybe the ignorance of fear would be more appropriate. After all, ignorance is bliss, right?

I may not be able to generalize, but I can at least speak for myself in saying that so many of those times I have not taken or created the opportunity to do something I wanted it was because of fear. Fear of uncertainty, fear of leaving my comfort zone, fear of making the wrong decision. And while I have made the wrong decision several times in the past year, I can at least look back and say that I new the risks but I overcame the fear of making the wrong decision and went for it. But maybe it wasn’t even the actual decision that was wrong, but rather how I went about it. Either way, I’m not letting fear hold me back any longer, and I feel I have made significant progress in committing to doing so.

Time to enjoy Moab. Feel free to visit. If not, hopefully I will see you soon.

1 comment:

MoabUtah said...

Glad you popped into Moab to ride. Really like the header of your blog. Just posted a visitors Portal Trail clip on @VisitMoabUtah tweets.
Did you bike the Portal Trail?