I’ve had quite a bit of conversation in recent days about my travels, and the extent of my potential insanity for making them. The subject came up again when my two sisters and I got together for the purpose of wishing one of them hail and farewell as she heads out to New Mexico to graduate school.
She’s leaving a settled job to return to school, as she has a couple of other times before. She and I have both traveled extensively around the country, we’ve moved to far-flung points, we’ve jumped into opportunities with both feet and half a parachute from time to time. She mentioned that she is having similar conversations about “How brave you must be!” with friends and co-workers. But we both agree it’s the way to really live.
She has wanted to get back to Albuquerque for years, and I think just gradually she was able to turn her eye, her resources and all her desires to point in that direction long enough that it finally came together.
I’m a sincere believer in that, too. Over my years as a published writer, I’ve found that being confident things will happen, connections will be made, and that yes, I can publish a book someday, has worked for me. But it doesn’t stop there.
This month, after the fabulous Wild West trip, I had some fantastic photos of our journey, and I finally said yes to entering them in a national contest. I’m sure they’ll get thousands of great photos, and I know my chance of winning isn’t guaranteed. But even the knowledge that I’m participating in something larger than my little sphere is stimulating and exciting!
My sister said she had recently seen the film “Yes Man,” with Jim Carrey, and found it very meaningful for just this reason. It is much too comfortable to sit back and live the same way every day, never changing the routine. That may be life, but is it LIVING? Surely it’s right to take interesting choices, allow your path to twist and turn, run uphill and down? Isn’t it?
Now, no doubt there are going to be those big “gotchas” occasionally when you let your gut take you on a merry ride. Like the time she just HAD to have that huge Dodge truck. Like the time I married that guy–again.
On the other hand, she raised a great son by herself against a lot of odds and now has a bachelor’s, a master’s and is going for the Ph.D even though she dropped out of high school. I left my job as a reporter/editor when I was a single mother of two and went to law school, and as a result have helped literally thousands of people over the last 20 years, including an awful lot of battered women who are now living in safety.
I think that’s what encourages me to care for these kids I have now, with their special issues. When I had the opportunity to add them to my life, I said yes, and over the years my family and I have been able to help them make incredible progress. We say yes to therapy when it works, and yes to our own abilities when we need to take time off. We say yes to vacations that would throw other families into a tizzy and then beam when Little Miss can now tell you every president on Mount Rushmore and show you every state she went through in the Wild West. Take that, fourth grade geography teacher!
As I think back on my life, there were many times I said yes that perhaps I shouldn’t have, and there have been repercussions that have been dealt with. But I know in my heart I much more regret the times I’ve said no and should have gone for something instead. So I’ll keep on saying yes. Give it a try–you might learn something wonderful about yourself!