Years ago in college one of my professor’s once said that so many people focus on “I can’t” instead of “How Can I?”. We all dream and fantasize about things we want in life, whether it be personally or professionally, but unfortunately so many of us are scared to take any action. Whether it be anxiety or that the dream is too big, it’s so much easier to do nothing. I mean truly though would you rather do something that makes you uncomfortable, takes effort and gives you anxiety or sit on your couch and binge GOT. (but seriously #savethedirewolves). Much of the time it’s that we don’t even know where to begin.
By the time I was in my mid-twenties I had never been out of the country. I had always dreamed of travel but at this point in my life I was, by all account, the least spontaneous person ever. I planned out every single day and every hour within every day. I would turn down invitations to hang out with friends because I had already mentally planned out to pick up dishsoap… Not surprisingly I was starting to feel like I was missing out in life, and watching documentaries on PBS weren’t cutting it anymore.
Then out of nowhere, I got invited by a friend to go on a trip to Bali. The only problem, it was in 2 weeks! Everything in me wanted to not-go. There’s no time, what about my weekly errands! I went against my physical urge to flee this invite and play it safe and decided to go. It was a risk. I was not prepared, no holiday clothes, didn’t know the language, oh and I had to request the time off at my brand new job by the way in very short notice. I took the plunge and wasn’t looking back.
My time in Bali was nothing short of amazing. The beaches, the culture, the sun….. the sun. Yeah the thing about the sun in Bali is that you are really close to the equator. Me, being a pacific northwest kid, doesn’t get a lot of sun exposure. I wore sunscreen but obviously not enough as just over a week into the trip I got a 2nd degree burn. I knew something was wrong when I felt like my skin was going to rip open on the bottom half of my body. Luckily the hotel had a concierge doctor on site and I got a first class burn cream rub down.
Days later we packed up and left. As I looked out the taxi window pulling away from our resort all I could think was that I wasn’t ready to go. 2nd degree burn, skin sizzling, and I just kept thinking about the great experience I had. This has stuck with me since then. Even though I literally got burned, the result of being spontaneous for the first time in my life and going to a foreign country totally unprepared, I don’t regret it. Heck I’d do it again. It was first-hand proof for me that even though risks are scary, chances are you won’t regret at least taking the chance.
It could be anything in your life. If the opportunity presents itself, take it! If not, make it happen! I want to travel, “how can I save for this?” I want to be promoted, “How can I work towards this?” I want to buy a house, “How can I build my credit and finance for this?” I want to change career fields, “How can I transition?” Start conditioning your brain for “How can I?” And, even if it doesn’t work out, that can be good. Life experience and adversity can be good. It gives you a point at which you can pivot or learn from. It’s not comfortable, and it can be scary. But in the immortal words of Ms. Frizzle: “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!”