Late on an August night I left my house at 2am and so began my vacation to Denver, Colorado. It was dark, and thankfully the roads were pretty quiet, which allowed me to relax and take my time getting to the Philadelphia airport. Once there, the seemingly never-ending challenges began. Traveling is hard, especially when you are not a seasoned traveler, and traveling alone has the added stress of having to make 100% of the decisions on your own.
Upon arriving at the airport I had the brilliant idea not to follow my GPS - I know, I know I have trust issues. It doesn't seem to matter how big the signs are they still come up so quickly, and with drivers on your tail, quick decisions are a must.
After my 3rd trip around the airport I FINALLY found the parking lot that I had been searching for and quickly found a spot, noting the location and writing it on my ticket stub (confidence boost for this move). Went through my check list for about the 10th time - passport, DL, credit card, carry on, checked bag and on and on. Feeling fairly confident that I had everything, I boarded the airport shuttle.
Upon arriving at the terminal I was dismayed to find that mostly everything from checking bags to check- in had been computerized, sure this streamlines the process but removes the comfort of having a human being to assist you while you try to navigate the endless tasks and decisions. Success, bag checked, although I almost left without my boarding pass - yay for actual employees!
Feeling relieved that my bag is taken care of, I head over to the security section. After walking literally miles to get to the end of a line that is already hopping forward (we humans sure are a smart bunch!) i get to checkpoint #1.
Wandering what could i possibly have done, only to find that, in the hurry from hustling place to place, I had forgotten to pour out the reminder of water in my water bottle. So now my choice was to chuck the bottle or face the line, well this just happened to be my favorite water bottle and as i don't use plastic the thought of having to endure the flight without water and then search for a new bottle upon arriving in an unfamiliar city I chose the line. I was in luck the guards allowed me to dump the water and then placed me at the front of the queue.
Deja vu, ID is again approved, conveyor belt successful and I am on my way to the gate. Finally a place to sit and rest while waiting to board. On the plane, and as expected, I am in the middle seat - ahh the comforts of economy - but it is only a 4 hour flight so it's bearable. And I think to myself how lucky I am to be sitting in this amazing invention that can take me almost 2,000 miles in just a few hours, and siting in a soft, somewhat comfortable seat with complimentary drinks and snacks and my own personal television for entertainment - basic comforts that we have become accustomed to - yet these thoughts bring waves of gratitude which just makes it all that much better.
After traveling for about 10 hours, which by travel standards is really not all that long, I am looking forward to arriving at my Airbnb and getting settled. But as the plane descends I know I will be in unfamiliar territory and have to put my explorer cap on. I feel like a character in a video game with tasks that must be successfully completed before I can move on to the next level.
First - find the baggage pick up, which requires a short train ride, reminiscent of something you would ride in an amusement park where everyone tries not to carreen into each other, and then off to find my luggage. Wondering how the gods will convey to me which machine will spit out my bag. Needing to use a life (video game slang) I break down and with sincere curiosity, knowing fully that the answer is right before me, I ask someone how to solve this mystery - how did I miss the big screen?
Arrive at the right machine and wait until I see my bag on the belt and on it's way in my direction - anticipating just the right moment to step forward and confidently snatch it up, hoping not to fall over while pulling the weight toward me.
Level passed and on to the challenge round - find the car rental office, which, of course, requires more wandering through the airport. I follow the signs to Transit (which made sense to me) and end up on the train platform, Here I am in another puzzling situation that i have no solution for. Asking yet again and now starting to wonder why I do this to myself when it would be so much easier to just stay home or go somewhere i could drive and leave all this hassle behind.
After taking a shuttle to the rental office, I wait in line and am gratefully waited on by a friendly young man, who tries to sell me on every added convenience available. Feeling tired but having to have the presence of mind to question why the bill has gone up yet again, weeding thru the extra fees and having them removed only to then have fear tactics used to try to get me to purchase insurance, I begin thinking that maybe there are advantages to those self check-in machines. Finally I am graced with a key and on my way. Into the car me and the luggage go, set up my phone GPS, because who has time to mess with a new system. The end is in sight as I negotiate my way thru heavy traffic, praying that my directional guide will give me ample time to get into the correct lanes. Final turn onto the street where my Airbnb is waiting. Mission accomplished, I have arrived.
So what do traveling and childbirth have in common? You have to forget the fear and the pain and focus on the rewards otherwise you would never be willing to go through it again.
Recently someone said to me "I feel lost", the statement resonated with me because I so often feel this way. As i was contemplating the thought and feeling, what came to me was this - doing the same things, thinking in the same ways, behaving in ways that are expected and accepted is comfortable, maybe boring but at least familiar.
But trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone, not knowing what direction to go, this is where life begins but also where all uncertainty lives.
Choosing what step to take when life has changed whether by choice or by circumstance can put you in no man's land, where the ground seems to keep shifting.
The mind's job is to protect and to play it small and safe, it whispers "what if I get hurt, what if it doesn't work out, what if I fail". The mind leads you to regrets and thoughts of - if only I had tried, if only I hadn't been so afraid.
But the heart lies close to the soul where imagination, creativity and love rule. The soul chose to come here for the adventure, the learning and for the pure joy of expressing itself. The soul wants to take chances, to feel it's limitlessness and to express it's magnificence.
So when you feel lost and in doubt
meditate, journal, talk it out with a friend.
Try out new hobbies, go to new places, break your routines, take classes, do some volunteer work - just small steps, no major commitments, and see you how feel. Be open to being a newbie at something, to feeling uncertain. You came here to live, to experience it all, don't spend your life wondering and contemplating all the possible outcomes.
Take action and when you do the universe will take action and support you with new opportunities and experiences.
I would love to hear your thoughts!