I Believe In Surprises

In S.O.L.O. Travel by Laura Brown

Laura Brown is a thirty-something sign language interpreter living in Nashville. Food and wine are her love languages, and her dog, Maisie, is her ride or die. Follow along as she walks, stumbles, and laughs her way through life with her heart on her sleeve, and feel free to share your own stories with her. 

Self-awareness is a great thing. We experience, we learn about ourselves, and hopefully we respond accordingly and improve. I’ve always been an open book, both with myself and others. I don’t mind making changes to grow, in fact, I thrive on this. However, in the past couple months, I’ve noticed that I’ve responded to challenges in a whole new light; and frankly, I’ve surprised myself!

As I mentioned in my last post, I don’t consider myself the bravest or most adventurous person. In fact, I’m quite content with my “extroverted introvert” status. I’m outgoing, I love my friends, and I can find a way to talk to almost anyone; BUT, I truly have a max threshold with how much time I can spend socially because it exhausts me. Being at home with my pup is my jam. On the other hand, too many nights in a row of that throws me into a spiral of self-pity, and feeds my depression (yup, I’m going to talk about mental health like it ain’t no thang). So I have a fine balance to maintain, and I’ve taken that responsibility very seriously this year.

What has surprised me is that in the past two months, I’ve had a plethora of new opportunity come my way- opportunities that require a lot more interaction and bravery. They came barreling at me all at once, and I wondered when my inevitable freak out would finally take hold. However, the power of “what if” was greater than that of my desire to take things slow, and my reaction has been one of YES.

We’ve all heard or read the whole “say yes” thing, so I won’t bore you with that. What I will tell you is that for someone who likes control and methodical planning, who typically spaces out her commitments so as to not feel too overwhelmed, I’m actually doing…great! It’s as if my anxiety and depression had become this monster under my bed that I had to keep at bay- too much or too little of anything would lure it out, but if I did just enough activity, I could keep it appeased. I had become so intent on controlling my mental health that I was not challenging myself anymore.

Most of us understand that life is a bunch of seasons- everything is temporary, and circumstances will continually change. So I made a deal with myself that this will be a season of busy-ness, and I can pump the brakes when I need to. I’m shocked at how revived I feel. I’m not freaking out, I’m not canceling plans, I’m not shying away. I’m actually loving this feeling of newness; there is an excitement in each chance that I do something or go somewhere that I’m a little afraid of.

I’ve gone to a new church alone and already made new connections there, am attempting a new business opportunity, I’m deepening established friendships, and altogether revisiting a part of myself that I thought I had outgrown. I’ve never lacked ambition, but I do think I had misplaced a vivacious energy that was once readily available.

My insecurities have not disappeared, and I don’t plan on being out every night. But I will say that I’m too busy to dwell on things that can fester right now, and that’s a good thing. And so, dear reader, I leave you with this: I believe in surprises. They aren’t always pretty and tied up with a perfect holiday bow, but they’re still gifts.

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