Three weeks ago as I waited for my Human and Cultural Diversity class to start, I sat in a desk, staring blankly at my iPad screen, finger paused above the "submit" button, frozen.
Can I really do this?
I can't afford this....
Yes, yes I can.
All of my bills are paid.
We have a refrigerator full of groceries.
I quickly did some calculations on paper regarding Brennan's upcoming birthday expenses and then looked back at the screen, staring intently at the "submit" button.
I have enough. This won't break me. I can afford this.
I sat staring first at the total amount and then the submit button, my eyes darting back and forth between the two, my mind racing, thoughts loud.
I closed my eyes and started to breathe very slowly to keep the looming anxiety at bay.
And then above the noise, I heard it....In between pounding heart beats I felt it.
"You deserve this A'Driane. Stop surviving your life and remember to live it. It's ok to live."
It's okay to live.
I opened my eyes and hit the submit button.
Relief and the tiniest pangs of excitement started sweeping over me as my confirmation number appeared on the screen and I stared at the itinerary outlined below it.
I had just booked a flight for myself and Brennan to go to Austin, Texas.
A vacation. A six day vacation. To see some special people I love and care about, to see a city I hope to move to in the near future.
Three weeks later, as I sit on my floor surrounded by clothes with an open suitcase in front of me, I still can't believe we're boarding a plane tomorrow and flying back to my home state.
I still can't believe I actually took a step outside of my wishes and daydreams and tangibly grasped ahold of them.
I know you're thinking, "big deal, you're going to Austin. So what?"
The so what is this: Since I separated from the military in 2006 and had Brennan in early 2007, I've been slowly getting back on my feet. I've mentioned before that I was practically homeless at one point and I eventually had to move back home with my parents. Stepping back into the civilian world with no employment, a child to raise, and no place to call my own hasn't been easy. I've spent the past six years much like I spent much of my childhood and teen years: surviving life and not really living it.
I've been so preoccupied with trying to survive that I've forgotten how to live. Some of it is because I've had to in order to make it, but I've also forgotten how to live because I've let fear hold me back from really pursuing what I want out of life.
I've let fear keep me in daydream mode, my mind filling up with wishes and hopes I've carefully stored away up on a shelf titled, "One Day....Maybe." I've been so focused on priorities and being responsible that I've suppressed the part of me that actually enjoys life.
Enjoying life....that's something I've had to learn how to do while on this self-love journey. I grew up a military brat so traveling and seeing new places is something I LOVE to do. Stepping out and taking risks is a part of myself I've yet to really express, partially to circumstances but also to a huge amount of fear.
I've always wanted to visit Austin...(living there is on my Life List for crying out loud) but when I realized I could make that happen by buying a ticket, fear and "what ifs"stepped in and made me question if I could really do it. I started to talk myself out of doing it, thinking that the more responsible thing to do would be to spend the money on something else...or save it.
But the truth is, we're good. For the first time in a very long time, we have everything we need with more than enough left over to save and play with.
I realized from this experience how important it is to not let circumstances or situations keep you from living your life. I know there are parts of our lives that demand our attention and focus, but that doesn't mean we are subject to just meandering our way through life, merely surviving from one day to the next. This experience has taught me to go after those things I've only wished and dreamed for, both big and super small, and I want to encourage you to do the same.
What's your passion? What do you love to do? Where have you wanted to go? What's on your Life List? Are you talking yourself out of things because you don't think you can afford to take a step in a different direction?
I heard a quote by Lysa Terkheurst yesterday that said this: "If we think we have forever, we forget to live for right now."
Learn how to live your life and not just survive it. We were made to do more, to be more. We only get one shot. Let's do our best to give it our all and make it count.