courage, my dear heart

It's happening. It's really, truly, seriously happening. I'm about to embark on my dream (in a couple months), my personal legend for those Alchemist fans out there, and aside from a heart bursting with gratitude I am ripe with excitement, anticipation and pure joy. Wow. Deep breaths. In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Full disclosure, though? I'm also terrified. Nervous. Uncertain. Come January, I'll be hopping on a plane that will drop me off half way across the globe. I mean, there's an 18 hour time difference for ya. NBD.

On a moment by moment basis I'm constantly going back and forth between "hell yes!" and "hello no!" I’m giving myself whiplash, man. Big time.

The past few days, months really, I’ve had one question lingering at the back of my mind: why am I doing this? The first thing that popped into my mind is duh, because I love to travel. I want to see the world. While yes, that’s true, I wasn’t satisfied with that answer. It wasn’t…whole enough. It just didn’t fit. There’s more to it than that, but what?

I just didn’t know. I sat down to noodle it and work it out in writing, and I ended up staring at a blank Word doc for what seemed like hours (but was probably five minutes, tops.) So, as I usually do when I come to a block in my writing, I take to Instagram for a scroll or twenty - I know, I know - and I stumbled upon this:

image via @iamhertribe

image via @iamhertribe

I want to live a fuck yes life (don't you?).

Find adventure around every corner.

Explore new cities.

Meet fascinating people.

Pursue what sets my soul on fire.

Yes. That’s exactly what I want, and this exactly why I've chosen to take time to travel - to live my fuck yes life. I like to think of this next endeavor as connecting another dot in the long, zig-zagged path that will eventually connect somewhere down the road. As Brene Brown talks about in Rising Strong, I’m choosing courage over comfort.

Cheers to saying fuck yes, you guys.

(And sorry for all the F bombs!)



adjective 1. without fear; bold or brave; intrepid.

I've never considered myself fearless. Out of all the times I've had to describe myself in three words or give my 30 second elevator speech, it has never made the cut. It has never even crossed my mind, really.

Lately, the word has taken on an entirely different meaning. Let's be honest, there isn't a human being on this planet that is truly without fear. If you say that you are, I don't believe you.  Whether you're young or old, American or Chinese, rich or poor, an introvert or extrovert, we all have something that scares us, that gives us pause--if only for a moment. To me, fearless means choosing to take chances and make decisions despite not knowing what may come, or perhaps knowing exactly what's ahead; It's choosing to change, grow and learn regardless of whatever fears or woes you may have.

With that being said, I guess I could consider myself a whole lot more fearless--but there's always room for growth. Sure, there are times when I've thrown caution to the wind or gone with my heart instead of my head, but I can think of just as many or more times when I made, or didn't make, a decision out of fear. Fear of not being enough, fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of uncertainty and the list goes on. Not to say that fear is always the masked villain, the antagonist, because it can also be useful, but it's all about being aware of where you stand in the face of fear. Fear has been playing a much bigger role in my life than I ever realized and here's what I have to say about it: fuck it.

In my mind, vulnerability is one of the best, most sensible, yet hardest ways to combat fear. But when is the right thing ever the easiest? Being vulnerable is not something that I'm good at. I fear all of the aforementioned, so I tend to build walls, make assumptions and come to a conclusion about something often times before it has even started. I'm so emotionally constipated that I either say things that I don't mean to divert the attention away from my true feelings, or not even raise my voice at all. Enough with all of that.

So, I will keep a close eye on my fears, always taking them into consideration but never letting them hold me back. I will love without the expectation of being loved in return. I will take risks without certainty of reward. I will say exactly what I feel and mean without knowing what will be said in return. I will live, not just exist, because I am fearless.

Namaste, bitches.

take a f*cking chance

For the entirety of my life I've played it (pretty) safe. I opted out of trying out for the U19 World Junior Ultimate Championships for no good reason at all. I chose not to apply for several "dream" schools for practical reasons. I chose to go to school close to home at the University of Minnesota--my last choice out of eight schools--for again, practical reasons. Even my dreams have been on the safe side until recently. B-o-r-i-n-g.

Now that I've graduated and spent some time at home in my mom's basement, I've come to the realization: I need to start dreaming BIG. Why not? Everyone's always telling me to dream big--and I'm like yeah, well duh, why wouldn't I?--but I haven't actually been putting it into practice. I always say I'll do things but let's be honest, that means nothing if I'm not DOING them. This is changing. Now.

The first step: Writing down my goals. Check. You're seriously going to hate me for saying this, but I have to. It's so true. A goal is a dream with a deadline. There, I said it. (Sorry I'm not really sorry.) My goals are essentially a check list that keeps me hungry, ambitious and hold me accountable. They're the metaphorical ladder that leads to my (hopefully) not-so-metaphorical dream life. (Again, super cheesy. This time I really am sorry.)

The second step: Putting what I want out into the world. Check. I'm not usually one to talk for hours on end about myself--I'd rather hear what others have to say--but when you say what you want out loud and to others, things start to fall into place. It's seriously almost magical. It's ok to talk about and ask for what you want. Really. (This is a new concept for me.)

This is where my dream starts to grow it's roots. Long story short, I did exactly that. I shared my vision and goals with people and BOOM, things started to move forward slowly but surely. The next thing I know, I'm talking with the Store Managers of lululemon athletica Vail and Aspen. Nothing super serious or indicative yet, but still super awesome. (I've had goals to relocate to Colorado for quite some time now.)

Now, here comes the tie-in to my original point: Taking chances.

An opportunity at work opened up for a Key Lead position at my store (the position I have my eyes on in Colorado) and, after talking with some fellow lemons (I work at lululemon in case you weren't already aware) I decided I would push back my goals and apply for the position here at home.

My mind was set, or at least I thought it was. After talking with my mom and really letting the idea of staying in Minnesota sink in, I came to another realization: I was never going to get anywhere if I didn't start taking risks. I had been creating so many reasons in my head of why I shouldn't that I forgot to focus on all the reasons that I should. So, I decided to take a leap of faith and say no to a job that I had been wanting for months to pursue a dream. Eek.

A week later, I had a fantastic conversation with one of the store managers over the phone and will be having a follow-up interview in the next several days. This doesn't sound like much, but I have a feeling it's huge. I just know it. It's a step in the right direction and that's more than enough for me.

What I'm trying to say is this: Don't limit yourself by the walls you create for yourself. Dream big, take chances and go with your gut. Always go with your gut. Live in possibility because when nothing is certain, everything is possible. I took a chance and everything has started to fall into place, and if in the end it doesn't, I know that it wasn't meant to be. (Yes, I am one of those crazy people who believe that everything is connected and nothing is happenstance.) The worst thing that could happen is that you have to start over and take a different path. Big deal. Put what you want most out into the world and you will be pleasantly surprised. I swear it.

The universe has great things in store for us, we just have to have the balls to take risks and work hard to create the lives we have always imagined.