I’m sure by now you have been inundated with social media posts, articles, thoughts, and reflections about 2019 as we all begin anew. And while I would hate to be another that finds you bored with the subject once again, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to share about the lessons that found me in 2019. They are lessons that I will always hold near and dear to my heart. Ones that I will recall when telling my grandchildren all about life and the dreams we have.
So what are the lessons that found me in 2019? It all stems from one single experience from last year. When we decided to chase after a dream and move our family of seven to Tennessee. When we decided to stop living for ‘tomorrow’ and go after everything we have wanted for ourselves.
Fear keeps us stuck. In so many ways. Feeling like you are living the same day over and over again? Like last year was just a sixth repeat of the same one? Turn over every stone and shine a light in every corner of your being to figure out where your fear is coming from. Confront it. And with all the strength you have, walk away from it.
And those possible outcomes that we play out in our head and find ourselves believing? They rarely end up happening. Never in the history of the universe did worrying ever solve a problem. Or create one. Giving our energy to constant worry is robbing us of the joys of right now. And it’s cutting our feet out from under us.
Do you know what else keeps us stuck? The opinions and fears of others. Along with our worry about those opinions and fears of others. Remember, someone’s opinion about you or what you do has nothing to do with you – it has everything to do with them. It has to do with something they are not comfortable with. It has to do with the limitations and fears they have built for themselves. That has nothing to do with you. Never forget that. Announcing that we were moving our entire family to a place we had never been, that we were shutting down a six-figure business, losing income, and not replacing those things first before making the transition? That we had no current plan, or backup plan for that matter, if things fell through? I’m sure you can imagine the reactions we got from some. That we were scratching the itch and would be back. That we threw a dart at a map and called it a plan. Looking back, I’m sure my stubbornness had a lot to do with getting through those conversations and confrontations.
What may have seemed like a whim on the outside and to so many was years in the making behind closed doors within our home and as a family. It was years of dreaming and envisioning what we wanted our life to look like and be. To find a place that inspires us. A place that fills us in a way that we ached for. It was years of research. Endless searching as we worked hard to find somewhere that was meant for us. A place where we finally would feel like we fit. A place where we could breathe. It was months of the most sincere and emotional prayers, pleading for guidance and inspiration. It was immense courage and blind faith as we put our trust in the call we felt. And after eight months, I can say with the biggest smile on my face and tears in my eyes – I’m sure glad we threw the damn dart.
I think it’s easy to think that those leaps of faith, those kinds of life changes are only available to certain people. People who, we assume, probably have a lot of resources or have a job that allows them to be remote. Especially because it seems like we see these stories everywhere, right? People making huge, drastic changes in their life – a move, a six-month sabbatical from their job, traveling the country in an RV.
Hear me when I say, that is fear talking. That is our own doubt and worry taking a megaphone and drowning out our capabilities. Does that mean it’s easy? It will probably be the hardest thing you ever do. But that’s where the dreamers and the doers part ways. How much does it mean to you? How much are you willing to sacrifice?
I can say with assurance that leaving most of our belongings in Phoenix to be picked up by the Salvation Army because we had no time to sell any of it really stung. Sitting on the sidewalk at 1:00 AM two days before we are supposed to depart and trying to decide what the most important things from years of our life were to pack into that UHaul trailer will be a memory I never forget. I can say with assurance that the budget of $1500 we had available to move our family of seven 1600 miles was terrifying. I can say with assurance that living extremely simple and seeing our family go without things while we have worked to rebuild has been uncomfortable.
But I can say with assurance that the growth, the blessings, the faith-building, the miracles, and the sheer magic that we have experienced both individually and as a family… well, they are absolutely and utterly priceless.
I lost my father at the age of ten. He died unexpectedly during routine surgery. He was only 45 years old. I often think back to that and how easy it was to assume we had more time. Why would we have ever thought differently? No one thinks that they aren’t going to have tomorrow. We go through life assuming that we have all the time in the world because it’s easier. It allows us to stay in our comfort zone. It’s where we feel safe. But at an extremely early age, I was forced to realize that we don’t have all the time in the world. Nothing is promised and tomorrow isn’t a guarantee. Going through this experience of moving and going after what we had dreamed and talked about for so long, in a way, it was like waking up. It was like when a dense fog lifts and it made me realize just how complacent I had become in life. How much time I had let pass assuming that I have unlimited tomorrows.
Walking into 2020, I could not be more grateful to do it with a clear mind and vision for what I want life to be. I don’t want to ever become complacent again. Not with something as important as my time here. Even in my most mundane days, I want to be awake for every moment. To fill my days with as much intention as possible. And I will be forever grateful for the experiences we have gone through in the past year. So much life was lived. A year of courage, dream-chasing, and of unbridled faith. I will be forever grateful for the lessons that found me in 2019.
We have ‘one wild and precious life’. What are you doing with yours?