What attracts you to fearlessness?

I have been contemplating this question since Beth left a comment on my last post. I had read her Raising Clarity blog article on fearlessness and noticed how I was inspired by how Kyle Durrie of Moveable Type Truck fearlessly traveled alone cross-country.

I began recalling my many fearless moments in my life where I have jumped into things feet first and then figured out later how to swim.

The first time was more than 35 years ago, on January 3, 1977, at108 Cypress Drive age 20, when I was living with my family in NJ. I woke up and as usual started to get ready for my clerical job in New York City. We had a particularly harsh winter that year so it included having to scrape the ice from the windshield. It was also the Monday after New Year’s Eve weekend where I felt particularly alone and depressed about where I was in my life.

As I drove to the train station, I recalled the dread of going to a job I hated where I felt unvalued and had already given notice to resign. As I road the train towards NYC, I had already decided that when I got there I would call in sick using a pay phone (this was way before cell phones). After I made the call, I pondered what to do that day. I didn’t want to hang out in NYC, as it was too cold and miserable and I didn’t want to hang out at home.

Out of the blue I had an idea that I could go to San Francisco! So I boarded the train back to NJ and when I got home I called an airline and got a reservation. After packing and withdrawing my savings from the bank, I drove to the airport and arrived in San Francisco that very day.

The nice part of this story is that I did get the support of my family who knew that I was unhappy. The first few months were challenging as I hadn’t been to San Francisco before and didn’t know anyone and didn’t have many life skills as I had never been on my own before. Yet it was also fun exploring around town, playing tourist and cool riding the infamous cable cars that stopped in front of my first apartment on Pine and Powell Street right in the center of San Francisco.

It was the first of many fearless moments in my trial and error life. The most recent has been taking time off these past few years to heal through a lot of loss (my parents, a close friend and my cat) as well as creative burnout and refilling the “fearlessness” well.

How have you been fearless in your life?

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2 thoughts on “What attracts you to fearlessness?

  1. Leonie, this is so generous, thank you! Generous in story and in your reference to my blog. I’m so glad folks can see your post from my blog! I LOVE this post of yours.

    One of my fearless times was getting on a plane to Paris after college + a summer waitressing, deciding I could be poor in France or keep working to have “enough” to get to Paris. I left with a one-way ticket and a close friend on-site with whom I would stay til I found work and got established. I thought I would be there a few months. I arrived during an immigration amnesty, experienced being an illegal alien and getting my working papers, then worked as a bilingual temp, a model, and a teacher of English by telephone as well as going to graduate school, and establishing the grown-up life I needed so badly at the age of 21. I even made enough to come home two years later!

    Five years afterward, I visited with a flight home scheduled on an airline that would for weeks not confirm whether they would allow me to return home earlier than planned using my original ticket. On the day I decided it was Time for me to leave, I packed up, metro’d to the airport, went through customs with the ticket I had for the wrong date, and would not move from the boarding station at the gate, insisting there was a seat for me. Everyone but the crew boarded. “There’s no seat in your class.” I honestly think they didn’t know what else to do with me: I burst into tears of relief when at last I took my seat–in first class!

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