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I have recently discovered that my best quality is, ironically, also my worst: I have a tendency to take on major challenges while completely underestimating their magnitude.
It happened three summers ago when I ruled that a love of nature and going on the occasional hike qualified me to complete a week-long hiking vacation in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland. I love camping, I love hiking in the forest, what would be so different about this?
It wasn't until I had arrived and was surrounded by experienced hikers and athletes did I realize that I had seriously underestimated what kind of "vacation" this was going to be.
The same thing happened one year later, when my fiancé and I decided that we had had enough of our tiny hometown. There was nothing left for us there; it was impossible to advance in either our educations or our careers. We had seen all there was to see and had done all there was to be done.
It was time to experience a new way of life in a brand new city.
Now I should take a moment here to mention that I had never actually been to Canada's East Coast before picking up my life and dropping it here. The furthest East that I had been was the Western Coast of Newfoundland on that hiking trip.
I know, I know, it's crazy! But that's just how I am, apparently.
Spend a whole week climbing mountains? P'shaw! Leave everything I've ever known and move to a new city, never mind, a side of the country, that I had never been to? Bring it on! I guess my life motto is, "No Big Deal" (when did I get to be so fearless?).
And that was that; our minds were made up, and we were moving to Halifax in just few a months' time.
To answer your question, no, there was no job lined up, and no, we had no friends here, and, no, there was no beautiful apartment waiting for us to move into. We packed up our belongings and started completely fresh without anything to stabilize us once we arrived.
We quit our jobs, packed up our things, said goodbye to our friends and family (with many, many tears shed) and began our three-day trek to the booming metropolis of Halifax.
Again, it wasn't until we arrived that I began to realize the magnitude of our decision.
Originally from a rural town, the biggest city that I had lived in was Thunder Bay, Ontario, and that was hardly what you would call a big city. When we pulled onto the street where our AirBnB accommodations were located that bleak October night, my emotions immediately ran high.
I hated it.
I hated the way the houses crowded the street.
I hated how big the city was.
I felt claustrophobic.
I hated the new and the exciting and I just wanted to go back home.
But instead of turning around and driving all the way back home, I took a breath, and decided I would rest first (kidding!).
I was seriously freaking out, though, and I stayed that way for the next few days. Constantly fighting back tears and panic as we started putting our new lives together. I don't think either myself nor my fiancé had ever felt that alone and on our own. It definitely opened our eyes.
At the same time, though, we felt empowered. Like there was no one that we couldn't be, or nothing we couldn't do. Moving to a new place where no one knows you gives you the freedom to be whoever you want to be and to try new experiences. That feeling of empowerment excited us and reminded us of why we came here in the first place. We came here to grow and to experience more of what life had to offer, and we were going to do just that.
So if you're feeling stuck in your current situation, whether there's no room to grow where you're living, or you feel like you just need something new but you're too afraid to do anything about it, I say use that fear. Let it drive you towards your goals. Don't stay stuck somewhere because you don't know what will happen!
Looking back, I am so proud of the accomplishment that I made when I pushed through the fear of having taken on too much on that hiking trip, and came out the other side like a champion (and I'll tell you, there were several times when I really didn't think I would make it!). I also have a lot to be proud of in the way of accomplishments that I have made since moving to Halifax.
And I know that feeling of pride lies just around the bend for you, too.