Bumps In the Road

12994388_10153574410874157_3532079565961604970_n     It’s so easy to run towards the open door in your life with confidence and joy, secure in your knowledge of this particular door being just the right fit for you. And it’s just as easy – nay, even easier – to start doubting and rethinking the perfection of that door the second you step on a Lego. If this is the right door for you, shouldn’t the pathway be clear from obstacles? Shouldn’t it be a nice, straight shot from here to there, with every step reaffirming the strength and clarity of your choice? Is the excruciating pain in my instep a sign that I should turn back and look for those fabled windows?

We tend to assume that just because a door has opened or a decision seems like the perfect fit, that there should be no issues involved in going through that door. We shouldn’t have to wade through a bog of obstacles to pursue the thing that magically fell into place in our life! Well, surprise: roads are filled with bumps and potholes and dead deer. Even the right roads. It is ridiculously easy to be excited about something when everything is working out perfectly, and enormously simple to become depressed and give up the second that something gets in the way, utilizing that age-old excuse: “Well, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” If you want it to be, then make it be. Consider all obstacles to be tests of how much you want it and how hard you are willing to work to get it. If risks were easy, everyone would be taking them.

Sometimes, things that seemed like unbreakable barriers turn out to be enlarged by your own fear anyway. As much as I am thrilled to be moving to Europe and shifting into a life of travel for only-God-knows-how-long, I am still scared out of my wits. Which means a small part of my subconscious is looking for things to go wrong. At first, I was freaking out about not finding a host family in time (because clearly if something doesn’t happen in two days, then it’s taking way too long). So I felt stressed, only to end up finding a wonderful family on a beautiful farm in Southern Iceland long before I am actually boarding my flight. If your mind is searching for something to be stressed about, it will find it. Guaranteed. Minds are good at that.

I saw the quote at the top today: “Worry is a misuse of imagination.” We all think that kids have great imaginations and ignore the fact that your imagination never goes away. Adults are just using it the wrong way most of the time. Why do we imagine all the things that could go wrong? As a somewhat infamous pessimist, I know why I do. It always seemed to me that nothing ever happens the way you think it will. So if I was able to think about every possible bad situation or poor result, then none of those things would happen, right? Unfortunately, there’s often a less-than-perfect scenario which even my wild imagination failed to come up with. Typical.

Still, as I’ve grown, I’ve gotten a little better at reminding myself in the most stressful of situations that I am not in control, patience is a virtue I could really use, and everything is less terrifying in 24 hours. In the end, it’ll all work out. It may take some hard work and persistence and long phone calls and saving money on your part, but it will work out. The latest bump in my road: strep throat. Yep, my body has the best of timing. Not only does this mean missing my last three days of work and not receiving one last [much-needed] paycheck, it also means not hanging out one last time with the friends I have made here in Orlando. Unless they want to contract the highly contagious infection. Anyone? No? Can’t blame you.

However, the sun will still come up tomorrow, I will somehow finish all my packing without passing out, and my flight will still leave for Iceland on schedule with me in seat 34C. There are bumps and potholes and occasional roadkill in every road. It doesn’t mean that’s not the road you were meant to take. And stepping on Legos… It may be painful, but to use a favorite phrase of my dear mother’s: “It’ll build character!”

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