I used to think it was brave to travel the world-to go on great adventures. I thought that meant courage and an adventurous spirit. Everyone when they hear of where I have traveled to: the political and social upheaval those countries have experienced, the cultural and language barriers, the distance from family and friends, the weather extremes-they said “wow you are brave”. You know what -I never felt brave-I felt young, restless, curious and probably more than a little naïve. It took little personal sacrifice, I had energy to spare, the sleepless nights, the time changes, all the barriers were only fun challenges for me. Memories and experiences shaping my view of myself and the world.
People thought moving to the East Coast with my brand-new husband was brave. Being away from family, friends, and social connections. Relying on only one person as my friends and family all in one. Adjusting to time, weather, and yes cultural changes, establishing ourselves as a couple without any support or help- they said “wow you are brave”. You know what-I never felt brave- I felt scared, lonely, hesitant, sad at first. Then I felt excited about our life together. We had lots of time on hands to explore.
Then we moved back toward family, to old friends and new, to somewhat familiar territory. We did the normal and obvious thing with a dog, house, two cars-we “settled down”. I left behind a day job and we started a family. We heard nothing of bravery or courage. But you know what of all of the challenges I have faced THIS feels brave.
Bravery is choosing to stay-to dig deep and take root- to slow life down so I can see and hear what I am doing. So I can invest in and learn about myself and my strengths, weaknesses and limitations. So I can grow and change and discover who I am as wife, as a mother, as sister and daughter, as a friend. Bravery is making and strengthening real relationships built on honesty, vulnerability, putting aside the perfectionist façade. Bravery is choosing a healthy routine for my family and establishing clear discipline and boundaries, for my family and for myself.
Choosing daily over and over again to give all I can for my son, for my husband, for our household- is hard work. It requires courage-to choose this day after day. To choose to stay present and engaged in what I am given each morning and in the everyday activities. These are my everyday adventures. And for me they require a lot of bravery.