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“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” -Soren Kierkegaard
When I first stepped into the house I now call home more than seven years ago, I felt as though I was walking into an impossible dream – cathedral ceilings, a floor to ceiling window in the great room, built-ins, a cedar closet and original hardwood floors – no way, could this become mine. However, with the prompting of my mother to believe I could make it happen and some helpful negotiating, my dream became a reality.
During the first year of ownership, the budget was tight and I had to be creative (streamlining my budget meant refraining from desired clothing expenditures, visiting the library and abstaining from purchasing books from Amazon, etc.) but since then, finances have found their footing and my dream house has become a sanctuary that surpasses what I could have imagined.
The above quote is a reminder that while we may be timid to dare, we must always keep in mind that when we choose to dare, we will be wobbly initially, much like a child on a bike for the first time without training wheels. However, a dream cannot be realized if we do not take that first step – that first step that is daunting and fraught with uncertainty.
Speaking of wobbly . . . my first trip to France. I honestly can’t remember when I first began to dream of Paris and visiting the City of Light, but it began when I was a young girl (perhaps the influences of Hollywood, perhaps from one of the many books I devoured). Regardless of how it began, the opportunity presented itself in college to realize my dream.
I knew only two phrases in French that my French professor, who was trepidatious of me going because she knew I had only had one quarter of French, had drilled into my memory during a one-on-one conference just before I was to leave (said phrases were – where is the bathroom and how to ask politely for anything). Over the course of my summer abroad, I had exhilarating moments, but I also had moments of absolute frustration and loneliness, simply because I did not know the language.
However, that trip to France awoken something in me that has continued to burn steadily and influence many ways in which I live today. This summer I will be returning for the third time to France, and had it not been for that first initial risk of traveling alone without knowing the language, my life would be far different than it is today, and from my perspective, not for the better. Because had I not chosen to take advantage of that initial opportunity more than ten years ago, I would have lost a piece of myself I didn’t even know existed – I would have been ignoring something I needed to listen to in order to better understand what awakens me, what ignites my creativity and what direction I needed to go to live my best life.
It is the daring initiative that when we choose to follow, we will be thankful we took the risk. In the moment, we may kick ourselves, cry for bit and press firmly into our journals with frustration, but with distance I think you will come to realize as I continue to realize time and time again after each daring choice I make, that life is about stretching ourselves, pushing past the boundaries until we find out where are personal, innate boundaries are.
Unlike in our everyday moments of routine, it is when we dare that we become more in tune with ourselves. If we can silence the fear and truly turn inward to listen to what we want to do and what we wish to do, we are able to see ourselves unfiltered, unedited and not influenced by outside forces. And when when we get to know ourselves in this way, we are able to be more certain about where our next step should lead.
Have a wonderful Monday everyone, and if you have an experience of choosing to dare that has proven to have been worth the risk, please do share.
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