"Only those who risk going too far can possibly figure out how far one can go."
A year ago this past week, lover and I embarked on our great adventure. With a one-way ticket to Spain in hand, a backpack filled with our essentials, and… well, just each other. My heart bubbled with excitement. Our plan? Live the Spain life for 2-3 months prior to packing up a longer list of our necessities and moving to Scotland together for Jason to pursue a masters degree. I had quit my job; we had sold our cars. A far-off dream had finally become our reality.
I’ll share a post soon on how we made 2.5 months in Spain possible… and what the heck we’ve been up to in Scotland for the past eight months, but today I want to focus on the idea of taking risks and finding one’s limit.
About two years ago, I bombarded this dear husband of mine with a zealous monologue highlighting the reasons I believed we should consider moving abroad for his masters program. The idea came to me in a yoga class… while I was teaching. Imagine that. And I was f l o o d e d with emotion. And I mean flooded. Racing back to our flat after teaching, I phoned Jason to ensure he would be home, insisting that we needed to have an important conversation immediately. Poor guy.
We sat on the bed and I pitched my idea (through tears of passion and joy)… my idea to veer off the path of comfort and practicality. To venture down a road of adventure together, where factors were a bit more unknown, yet exposure to experiences we both longed to have awaited.
Verbatim, Jason’s response was, “I think sometimes you can be overly ambitious.” Even still, he was intrigued and willing.
As cliche as it may sound, I strive to live life to the fullest. My best life. That means something different for everyone, of course. But I’ve been cursed with a bad case of dreamer's disease (is that on webmd?), and therefore, with my head in the clouds, I am regularly making new plans… setting ambitious goals… signing up for new experiences… and showering my husb with all the details.
A small sampling of conversations I’ve initiated with this life mate of mine:
- Once we’re married, let’s travel to a new country every year!
- Let’s sign up to foster dogs… and YES, our first experience should definitely be caring for six 5-week old puppies and their mom. And we need to pick them up tonight; they need us!
- What if we moved across the globe next year? Anywhere.
- How about we theme our dinners next week?! I’ll cook a new recipe every day! All meatless! It’ll be good for us.
- For our travels through Spain, let’s apply to work on farms together. It’ll be an incredible team-building experience for us!
- My response to every new city we visit- “I wouldn’t mind living here…” Followed by an ongoing, verbal brainstorm of how I picture our life in said location. “Awww- this could be our neighbourhood coffee shop!” and… “Oh look- a dog park! We could bring our dogs here!” and… “We could easily bike ride EVERYWHERE!” and… “Look! The gym’s nearby!”… you get the point.
A combo of small plans and big ideas. Some riskier than others, to various degrees. Joining a bachata dance team, knowing I would need to confront my stage fright at performance-time. Resigning from a solid, fulfilling full-time job, and likely my career, in order to move abroad and pursue adventure and enrichment.
I guess you could say personal development is at the forefront of my mind. When I worked in higher education, I was regularly seeking out professional development opportunities- local workshops and far-away conferences. Conversations with colleagues that expanded my knowledge and understanding of various topics, and intentional interactions with students to gain insight.
In the same way, I seek constant personal growth. What is my limit? Where do my boundaries lie? How can I push myself further? Can we experience something special by simply (and sometimes not so simply) venturing outside of our comfort zone? And therefore, perhaps even expanding our comfort zone!
It’s easier, perhaps, to remain in the familiar. Right? Maybe. To feel like, yeah, I’ve got the hang of this thing. The sense of accomplishment is such a reward- I know. That satisfaction of establishing and maintaining a routine. It’s nice for a bit, but I cannot linger there for too long before I am seeking out the next challenge. On this path of life, I am constantly off-roading and considering the dusty path that awaits, over the main road traveled by the majority. I crave variety and challenge, but I tread toward the unexpected cautiously. Because despite my appetite for exploring my limits, I am not always quite as confident as I may appear.
One of my favourite characteristics of my relationship with my husband is that we are a necessary balance for the other. Jason grounds me. As I drift along with my imagination and dreamy schemes, he provides a voice of reason- supportive, honest, and sometimes weary. With optimism and zeal, I believe I expose him to opportunities and possibilities that he admittedly hasn’t quite considered. Then together, we weigh out the possibilities- the risks involved, and if we’re willing to go all in on us.
That was the process for deciding to travel to Spain, and move to Scotland, and then opting to stay for longer than the initial six-month plan. We elected to bet on us- and we went all in. I’d be lying if I told you it’s been easy. Come on- the big, scary risks never are. But, I think that’s where self-discovery happens. And inconceivable growth, incredible teamwork, cascading tears, and an even stronger desire to persevere. Undeniably worth it.
I have yet to find my limit. But I’ll tell you that together with this partner of mine, we’ve recognised that we are capable of far more than we ever imagined- both individually, and as a team. And that alone is a pretty remarkable discovery.
So with that, our comfort zones remain under construction.
Maybe you’ll feel inspired to take a risk this week- test your limits in even the smallest way, and take a wander outside your comfort zone. I promise you’re capable. With gratitude for how far you’ve come, consider going further.
love // evy