Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Being Courageous

For 39 years, I lived a simple, middle class life.  I rarely stepped out of my comfort zone.  I did as I was told.  An adventure for me was asking a waiter for a coffee in France, or doing a presentation at work, or perhaps buying a red coat.

But then, everything started to go a bit twonk.  I gradually broke free of sensible living and become a risk taker, a trier of new things, a bit 'devil may care'.  I had an affair. (Stupid and dangerous.)  I learned how to fly.  (Stupid, dangerous AND expensive.)  I cycled and cycled for miles and miles.  (Actually quite sensible and jolly good for firming the thighs.)

When I turned 40 I decided that I would have a year of saying 'yes' to everything.  This got me in some deep water, but also meant that I tried Ceroc, went to gigs on my own, met lots of interesting people, and tried some interesting sexual positions.

I had one day off in the week and I decided that it would be my adventure day.  I would fly or go somewhere or do something entirely different.  I would scare myself on purpose.

Looking back, it is obvious now that I was looking for an escape to my depressing married life.  Instead of finding the motivation to unpick what was going wrong at home, I'd rather throw myself off a cliff with a piece of cloth on my back.  Some might say this is called 'running away'.  I think they might be right.

The bravest thing I have ever done is make that decision to leave my husband.  I'm not saying it was right, or that I handled it well, or anything like that - but when your future is now a yawning void and not the lovely safe middle class bubble that you envisaged, you feel like your safety net has been whipped away and there's the very real possibility that you may be spending next Christmas round a bin on fire outside Sainsburys.

Or Aldi.

This article by the Huffington Post made me smile.  Facing your fears is sodding hard.  It's frightening.  But it makes you feel alive.  And if you do it again and again, it gives you building blocks of confidence that you can use in your daily life.

Do you know, I never went inter-railing as a teenager?  I never travelled on my own. Also - I never asked questions in class - at school and university - because I was afraid of looking a fool.

I regret these things.  So when my kids are old enough to be left alone, I'm going to sodding well travel the world.  And I'm going to ask lots of questions along the way.

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