Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Just over a month ago, I stood outside my office on Devonshire desperately trying to slow my heart rate to a manageable level. A feeling of impending doom washed over me even though I was about to take the first steps to realizing a dream that has been gnawing at me since high school. My rational mind knew my firm’s owner would react positively to the news, but it could do nothing to break the bonds of Fear that had conquered my subconscious. Hands shaking and voice cracking, I walked into his office and informed him that I had decided to take some time off to travel.
As predicted, he was nothing but supportive about my decision. I immediately relaxed, but that wasn’t even the hard part. I was never worried about his reaction, but there was and still is a deep lingering anxiety regarding almost everything else: leaving my secure job in my dream city, traveling thousands of miles away from home, having enough money, backpacking solo, loneliness, my future, my health… I just do what it took me almost 27 years to learn; ignore it.
I’ve learned my body is a terrible predictor of the future. In fact, if I listened to it at all, I would never leave my comfort zone, and I would have missed out on incredible, life-changing experiences. I wouldn’t be publishing my thoughts on the internet right now. But in the moments where I’ve experienced the most intense anxiety, something incredible happens when I decide to face it. Along with the usual spike in heart rate and sweat production, my hearing gets sharper. Colors become more vivid, and my thoughts become more primal, more rational. Fear has even tampered with time, as minutes turn to hours, and the future ceases to matter. I realize that there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place, and I was being totally irrational. For however long it lasts, I’m free from Fear in all its forms; worry, stress, anxiety. The uncertain future has dissolved, and I’m fully experiencing the Present. It’s in these poignant moments when I feel the most alive, when the shadows are exposed to the light, the genesis of confidence. When Fear is vanished, there’s nothing to fill the vacancy except personal growth. I’ve learned that Fear means I’m doing something right; I’m heading in the right direction. At least, that’s what I’ll be telling myself when I board this plane…
“Buy the ticket, take the ride.” – Hunter S. Thompson