Letting Go: Self-Doubt
Self-doubt and nerves play a big part in the pre-departure process of just about every traveler – especially when it involves a life-changing journey. Looking back before Sherry’s first 16-month adventure, she learned to cope with the various degrees of doubt she experienced.
[singlepic=1357,200,,,right]Freaking Out…Six Weeks To Go
Well, I have found out that the closer it gets to my d-day (departure date), I seem to be getting more and more freaked out about everything. Yes – I suppose this is normal, completely normal for anyone who is trying to put their life on hold for a year, keeping a secret from their employer that they are going to quit, dealing with the prospect of leaving friends and family, fear of the unknown, fear of loneliness, fear of living out of a backpack for a year, and the prospect of leaving my cat. So, I know that this is nothing unusual, all very normal, but I feel like I need to vent a bit in the hopes of feeling a bit more sane and able to cope with the next 6 weeks…so here goes…
This all started coming on in mid-July – I was back in Indiana for my parents 70th birthday party. There I saw old family and friends of my parents that I hadn’t seen for years and years – some since I was 18 years old! Of course news of my pending trip spread so many people were very interested in talking about it – which normally I love to do as it gets me very excited about my adventure. However, after getting asked the same question by about 30 people who are parental figures to me, I kind of freaked out. The two most commonly asked questions that people had were:
1) Oh – you are QUITTING your job…do you have to do that or can you just take a leave of absence? (This comment/question was normally accompanied by a furrowed brow and a look of complete worry and dismay as if I had said that I decided to have a sex change, change my name to Steve, and move to Arizona to start an orphange for fish.)
2) What are you going to do when you come back?
So somehow they all seemed to figure out my weaknesses. It was like Lex Luther figuring out Superman’s weakness of kryptonite. They honed in on it – my fear of having no job and being a bum for a year, scared that I would never want to come back to work again. What if I ended up using all my savings and have to go home and live with mom and dad when I was 40 yrs old. Ok – so that may be worst case scenario but I have thought about it.
Granted, most of these relatives and friends retired from a job/company that they were at for more than 30 years. None of them had ever quit a job before – because that would be insane. I decided that my best tactic would be to act super positive and confident about the whole thing. After all, if I heard myself be confident and positive, then maybe I would start to believe it too! So that’s what I did. I held it together, was completely confident about my laissez faire attitude, my quest for adventure and search for the road less traveled. It worked…until I got back home and realized that I was a mess and more nervous than ever, starting to doubt what in the world I was thinking when I cooked up this idea!
I plowed into my list of ‘to-do’ items (which seems to be growing larger and larger the closer it gets). I figured that if I stayed focus, my doubt wouldn’t creep in. First on my list – Insurance. I had been putting off the idea of researching insurance – it just seemed too tedious – but I had to start sometime. I reviewed articles on the internet, printed off policies and diligently read them on the subway. I realized that after I got through the first policy – this is really depressing. There’s nothing really exciting or motivating reading about all of the different things that can go wrong in one year while you are in a foreign country. You get visions in your head of all of the terrible things that could happen and you start to think…”why don’t I just stay put here and be safe?” I’ve got great coverage here, a simple co-pay and no worries. I don’t have to worry about how they will transport my remains to my family if something terrible happens.
[singlepic=1358,200,,,left]Finally, I’ve been dealing with the prospect of having to move out of my apartment and sell a bunch of my stuff and put the rest in storage. I can’t say that this is an exciting prospect either. I am now spending all of my time going through piles of stuff separating into trash, good will, or keep. Last weekend I went through 4 years of old pictures that I never put in books or organized. I came across all of the pictures from my going away parties when I left San Francisco. It was a bit nostalgic and sad to me – it made me wonder why I felt this need to do it again…turn my life upside down and venture off into the unknown. It is so comfortable here, it’s easy now, it’s predictable and supportive – yet these are the exact reasons that drive me to do this. What a double-edged sword.
So, this is the non-glamorous side of this adventure – the insecurity, the fear, the stress, the worry. But I just keep telling myself it will all be worth it and it will all work out. I’m positive that this won’t be the only post I have regarding insecurity and fear. But I’m also positive that I’m doing the right thing in the end.
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