This is a Really Big (Scary) Deal
I tend to be a fairly calm person. In fact, when I hear people use the phrase, “I’m freaking out,” I try to keep my distance. It’s not that I don’t have empathy for stressful lives or that I think I’m better because I don’t have one. But being around that kind of energy is pretty stressful in itself.
So, even under the pressure of getting ready to leave for a year (I leave in less than two weeks), I’ve been mostly OK. And then yesterday happened. I woke up at 3 a.m. with serious anxiety. I added about ten things to my to-do list.
Contact this person. Pay this bill. Order that thingamajig. Find your Fitbit. Etc.
“You’re running out of time,” said the voice in my head. “You shouldn’t go.” Yeah, thanks for the stellar advice, voice. When I tried to get back to sleep, I just tossed and turned until I finally got out of bed around 6:30 a.m. I hate to say it, but I might have been freaking out a little bit.
Later, I went to run some errands downtown and I talked to my best friend on the phone. She lives on the East Coast and we talk almost every day. “This is a really big deal,” she said. “You are turning your life upside down for an entire year. The way you’re feeling is totally normal.”
She’s right, of course. This is a really big deal. And while I’m not a worrier by nature, I’m still human. Sometimes, I like to go through the worst-case scenario stuff to work through my fears. So, let’s do that. What’s the worst that could happen in this situation?
- I could get to the first destination (Prague) and immediately regret my decision.
- I could get really sick and have nobody to take care of me.
- I could find it difficult to connect with others in the group for a variety of reasons, including my age.
- My plane, train or bus could crash and I could die tragically.
- I could feel totally alone because I’ll be far away from all my friends and family.
- I could lose my client(s) and have to scramble for new work.
- I could have all of my stuff stolen.
- I could have trouble finding healthful food and gain 50 pounds.
- I could get violently attacked and left for dead on the streets of (fill in the city of your choice).
I’m sure I’ll be able to add more to this list after another sleepless night or two. But for now, let’s assume some or all of those things do occur. What then?
Aside from the one where I die in a tragic plane crash, I can and will recover. Even if I decide to come home early. Even if I don’t make 74 new best friends. Even if I get sick and nobody is there to get me soup. Even if I have to dedicate myself to daily workouts and stop drinking champagne so I can drop the extra weight.
The fact is, if I don't go, I'll always wonder. I'll always regret it. Fear is a bitch. There is always something to be afraid of. I've let it stop me before, but it’s not going to stop me this time. Now, where’s my passport?