Most of my life I have lived in fear. As a young child, the death of a sibling hurt my family beyond repair, and years later my father committed suicide unable to handle the toll it had taken on us. Needless to say, I grew up constantly fearing the “what ifs” in life. I tried to distance myself from the persona of a broken family and worked hard to excel in school, earning my first job at fourteen so I could save money for college, constantly holding myself to an impossible standard. All I ever wanted was to be “normal”. Of course somewhere in there I began to crack. I bounced back and forth between being completely dedicated to becoming a successful person to being utterly reckless. Caught in between what I thought people wanted me to be and what I really wanted to be, I was never happy and always searching for something to put me at peace.
In college, I quickly got caught up in the constant partying finding relief in the careless abandon of it all. Between the parties and having to work forty to sixty hours a week to pay for tuition, I was lucky to graduate on time and with a decent GPA. However, it wasn’t decent enough to go on to medical school or something impressive like I had planned, and I felt like a failure. I obsessed over what I should do and began considering graduate school, but all I had ever really wanted to do was write. It took me months to realize that I couldn’t make up my mind because I didn’t really want to go back to school. I wanted to focus on my writing, but I was terrified to fail. During this time, my fiancé (now husband) became ill, and I directed my focus on him and our upcoming wedding. His illness, which he suffered with for three years, kept me from having to think about what I really wanted in life. All I had to do was survive. When he recovered, I panicked knowing I would have to start making decisions about my life again. I couldn’t just skate by. But only four months after my husband recovered, he was hit by a car while jogging and it felt like our world was pushed back to the starting line. As I followed the ambulance to the ER not knowing if he was going to make it, all I could think was What happened to our time together? I was in disbelief that our lives together could be over before they ever began.
Once I knew that he would eventually recover, I realized we couldn’t waste any more time. I had spent years worrying about everything from bad grades, student loan debt, jobs, success, and what people would think of my decisions, and I realized none of that stuff mattered. When I was faced with the thought that I might lose my husband, I didn’t think about if I had paid the bills on time, if I had answered all my work emails, or if my friends thought I was doing the “right” thing by not going to back school. I wanted to know if we had spent our time together wisely. Had we taken enough trips, had we laughed together enough, had I been supportive enough, did he know that I loved him more than anything in the world? Shortly, after the accident we decided we needed a change. We committed to doing the things we always wanted to do and to hell with what others expected of us even if that meant quitting our jobs, selling our house and giving up a “normal” life. So we are doing just that.
We are currently traveling the United States, and I am writing a travel blog as well as two novels. Life is not about how much you have but what you have learned. And I am learning a lot as I pursue my dreams.
Submitted by Anonymous
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