“Jump or stay in the boat.”
– Margaret Stohl
It started with a few deep-rooted butterflies, knots throughout my chest and a tight throat. I left work and got in the car, headed to the gym and it was clear my mood had completely shifted. I didn’t want to talk about my day and I struggled to really listen to his.
No longer was I dreaming about Koh Phi Phi; I was counting all the reasons I should stay. My reasons to go are so generic, I told myself. Passion? Exploration? Adventure? These can’t be the cause for dropping everything that I’m doing. I was tight-lipped and lost in my thoughts the entire drive to the gym. I changed into my work-out clothes, began my lunges, squats and pull-aparts alongside the fifteen others in the class. Usually, my mind drifts to dinner and the upcoming weekend, and other peoples’ lunges. But yesterday, I could not shake this sensation that what I was about to do was horribly wrong. I began to throw all my negative energy into each exercise, hoping the burn would drive out the fear. With each shoulder press, I’m fighting down the tears that are charging their way out. “I’m starving”, I complain. But in reality, I cannot wait to get home and wake up the next day. If sweat can’t, sleep will fix this.
My mind is spinning around how unsatisfying my “why” is. I can’t keep my balance on the foam roller. I can’t define my why. How can I pick up and leave without being able to define my outcome? I give dirty looks to him and the instructor.
Am I lost? Am I unsure of my next steps? Am I unable to commit? I knew I didn’t want to stay for this stretch class. I hate stretching. I’ve never been so sure of myself and I know I’m in a major time of growth for my life. He finds out in two weeks. I just have to wait two more weeks before I make my decision.
We walk out and a flood of emails from work appear on my phone. Those overwhelming little blue dots. At least I can channel my anxiety and anger into something concrete. I begin to swim through disorganized emails and miscommunications as I look up to see we’ve arrived at dinner. I swallow the frustration and order my usual bimbimbap with spicy pork and an extra side of the paratha taco sauce. How does the owner not know me yet?
I put my phone away and try to be polite. I ask questions about his day, because I do want to hear about it. I try to let my swell of selfish misery fade, or at least suppress it for later resuscitation. As I digest what he’s telling me, he checks his email. I’m fixated on the work issue, but feel that it’s replacing my actual stress.
I’m not going to pretend that this decision is easy. It’s terrifying. But, there’s no way I’ll let my fear of the unknown get in the way of my dreams.
Why do you travel?
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