Lesson #31: If you feel a bit unsettled then you’re doing something right


I’ve had a knot in my stomach for two days. A twisted up energy that sits right in my gut, making it so that eating is undesirable and coffee only leaves me feeling shaky. About to leave again, heading back to South America. A place I now call home. A place I can’t wait to get back to. So what’s with all the undesirable feelings piled up, one on top of the other?

Arrive at the airport this morning and it’s just like every time I’ve done this before. I’m quiet, going through the motions, body working, mind not so much. The shoes come off, the backpack is placed on the belt, I’m called over to the attendant, am told that I can’t fly with scissors, make a mental note to check them next time (which I already know I won’t do). Then comes the unfortunate goodbyes, never enough hugs, the soft tears as I walk off on my own again, nervous as if I’ve never before left home.

And then there is the plane ride… did I mention that I hate flying? No matter how many layers of clothing I pile on I always manage to sweat through them all. The plane shakes a bit and I’m perfectly alert, eyes watching the clouds for any signs of upcoming Cumulus Nimbuses.

It’s hard not to wonder why I keep putting myself through this. Transitioning back and forth between two realities. All of the exciting hellos and difficult goodbyes.Why do I keep repeating a process that drains me, leaves me feeling a bit anxious, and simply doesn’t get much easier no matter how many times I do it?

The answer of course is obvious, it’s because of these feelings, not despite them, that I keep doing it. If the bit of fear that I feel ever went away then it would be time to find something else to do, something else that would shake me up a bit.

What I feel when I am sitting on the plane, watching those clouds with alarming intent, is unbound. Which, yes, makes me feel nervous, but also intensely present. Awake. Excited. Ready to embrace whatever it is that is about to come my way, because that’s just it, when you live just slightly outside of your comfort zone you don’t know what’s coming your way. You don’t know whom you might meet. You don’t know if you might fail. You don’t know what you might accomplish.

Coming home this time around the theme of the trip seemed to be change. So many of the people that I love are on the precipice of something new. New relationships. New jobs. New homes. Things that are uncertain, and thus a bit unsettling. Things that create a void , a void that at moments is undoubtedly uncomfortable. However, the only thing to do with holes is to fill them, and the excitement of what could fill up these spaces that they are all creating reminded me that this is what we live for.

So, today as I sit once again on a plane, once again unsure of what’s to come, once again a bit unsettled, once again a bit more sweaty than I prefer, I’m reminded that I wouldn’t want to feel any other way. I’m reminded that life is most worth living in those tangible moments when it almost feels too much, but you know that it isn’t.