On Saturday I went hiking. I have always been a big hiker…ever since I was a kid. Anytime I hear about a hike about to happen, I make sure I’m invited! Why? Because as much of a city girl as I am, I just love embracing our great outdoors. As a child, while on vacation in Vermont or Maine, as a family, we would always go hiking. Then as an adult, while living in New York City, I would take Metro-North up to Cold Springs or Bear Mountain and spend an entire day hiking with work colleagues and friends from Grad School. Now, while living in Central Mexico, where I am surrounded by 3 active volcanoes, I explore various parks that exist nestled between them where you can literally witness some amazing vistas.
What I found, though, while hiking, was how similar to real life a hike can actually be. How when we agree to take the ‘road less traveled,’ we discover things about ourselves, things we would be willing to forego in order to achieve something. Yesterday I took a hike in a place where I had never been before and there were some paths that may have seemed impossible to pass for some people (the inclination was intense, the length of each pass was long and I was frequently out of breath…but at the top, these passes lead me to some of the most amazing views I could have imagined. A view that I would never have been able to see had I given up at the bottom…taken a seat and said, “My group can fetch me on their way back down.” How much fun would that NOT have been!
In life we overcome obstacles, some placed there by chance while others we expect. Like when we choose to attend a University that will challenge us mentally, academically as well as emotionally. (I always used to think, if I had made it into Harvard, what could I possibly had to talk about with my classmates?!?!) But in addition to that, how about what we choose to do with our lives, professionally. We all “major” in something in College. How many of you actually did anything with that degree? My degree was in Psychology and I never hung my shingle out begging people to come and tell me about their problems and concerns about life! But I can tell you that I did learn a certain level of understanding for the differences that exist within each of us, based on our perspectives and experiences.
I would not describe myself as being a daring individual, I would describe myself as existing within my comfort zone, pretty boring. But that’s my opinion. To an outsider, they may view me differently. About 6 years ago, I moved to Cozumel where I am able to dive 12 months out of the year. And I didn’t just become a recreational diver, but rather I went ahead and became a Tech Diver…which allows me to dive to 250 feet. (Anyone who knows diving, can appreciate the idea of being ‘narked’ everyday! It was pretty incredible!) Kind of like tripping on ecstasy…kind of like how you must feel when you jump out of a plane…not knowing in which direction is up or why there are diamonds floating around you and no one else seems to want to catch them. It’s pretty exhilarating…and the experience was worth anything I had to sacrifice in order for me to have it. (Even the notion that it could lead me to my grave.)
But even after that part of my life ended and I moved to Central Mexico, I guess I really didn’t have much of an idea about what I was in for…so I guess this was the ‘road less traveled‘ since I didn’t know what it was. Yes, I had a job lined up for myself to begin once we arrived, but I had no idea what the people around me would be like or how I might be commuting to work each day, what I might be eating or even what types of friends I make be making. Most say that must mean that I was super brave to take that ‘road less traveled,’ while I may describe myself as being irresponsible or stupid for always believing that things always did, or will, work out. Though somehow they always do…I have made some unbelievably, incredible friends who I will never turn my back on or run away from in order to return to the States.
I recently published a blog in which I talked about looking beyond imperfections in order to always find happiness. I am now 40 years old and my standards for life, I’m sure, have changed. But I could not be happier because I am in charge of my future. What’s the expression? “Master of my Fate and Captain of my Soul.” I’ve always been a big advocate of that! If someone is not happy…or bored…or just “playing it safe” in their comfort zone, then when they complain that they are unsatisfied with life, I don’t have much patience for it. Because if you want an exciting life that’s worth living, and sharing with someone else, then get up and go find it! Take the ‘road less traveled‘ because you have nothing to lose. Take the risks and chances in life that might result in an amazing experience…view…friend! When I left my career and apartment and crazy, jet-setting life in NYC 6 years ago, so many people asked me, “What if it doesn’t work out?” (“It” being diving in Cozumel while bartending to pay my bills.)
My answer was simply, then I can just come back to the life I have now (using my MBA to manage law firms of NYC while earning a 6 figure income…blah, blah, blah). But I don’t want to be the person who will ever say, “I wish I had tried that…or done that…or tasted that.” I want to be the person who did all those things and survived them and now have them to talk about and share them with others who may be afraid to take that leap of faith. I will never stay home out of fear of the unknown. I am the person who has nothing to lose except the possibility of ever saying…I wish I had tried that or gone there…or done that. The worst that could happen is that I spend a sunny day walking up a mountain with some great people, along a river and end up at the top where we see nothing worth talking about later. What are the chances of that happening?