Better to Risk and Feel Alive than Stay Safe and Feel Dead

I remember it so clearly. We were sitting on the balcony of our Lake Tahoe hotel room. It was the last stop of our 10-day road trip. We'd spent time in Monterey, Yosemite and now Tahoe. I looked out at the lake that morning then turned back to Keijiro and told him, "No matter what happens between us at the end of all this, I already know this trip's changed my future." 

California had been changing my future since the day I stepped off the plane at San Francisco airport earlier that summer. By the time my 3 months were up and it was time to return to London, I knew that nothing would be the same again.

I'd spent 3 months feeling more alive than I had in years. The aliveness was in me as I swam in the outdoor pool in the morning, floating on my back at the end of my laps and staring up at the clear blue skies and trees hanging overhead.

The aliveness was in me as we packed our jam, peanut butter and banana sandwiches and headed out for our all day hikes.

The aliveness was in me every morning when I woke up to the sun streaming in through the window and the birds chirping in the tree (I'll leave the bit out about the crazy lady who was also screaming at her kids every day). 

The aliveness was in me and all around me and I felt it with every part of my being. And as I lay floating on my back one morning staring up at that clear blue sky, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't forget this feeling. I made a promise that I'd follow it. I made a promise that this feeling wouldn't just be a 3 month trip, but that I'd make it my whole life.

And that's how I came to be selling the flat I've lived in London for the last 8 years. That's how I came to be standing on the edge of something entirely new and uncertain and unknown. That's how I came to be on the verge of yet another adventure.

By noticing something that made me feel alive and promising myself I'd do whatever it took to bring more of that feeling into my life until that feeling was my life.

And do I look around at my beautiful home some days and wonder if I'm making a mistake? 

Yes.

And am I sometimes scared that I'm letting go of a 'very important investment'?

Yes.

And am I nervous and sometimes scared that I don't even know where I'm going yet, where I'll next plant my feet or how it'll all work out?

Yes, of course. 

But when faced with the possibility of creating a life in which I feel more alive than ever before or staying where I am out of fear of losing something, the decision to leave seems pretty obvious.

Which brings me to you.

Because I bet you've had a moment when something made you feel extra alive and you've thought to yourself, "I wish life felt like this more often." But then instead of holding onto that feeling and following it for all its worth, you've gone back to your day-to-day existence and settled back into a life that feels very much ok, but not at all alive.

Because it's scary, right? What following that feeling might mean? What it might ask you to leave behind. What it might ask you to give up. What you might lose. And there'll be people who think you're crazy for following the beat of your heart. And there are so many what ifs and so much uncertainty and doubt. And somewhere during your life you learned you weren't supposed to be wild and crazy and free and, well...ALIVE. You were supposed to just do the 'normal' thing. The accepted thing. 

But here's the thing:

The days of your life will pass by no matter what. The clock will still tick away the seconds, the minutes, the hours, the days, the weeks, the months, the years and your entire lifetime.

And you can either spend that time pursuing what makes you feel alive, pursuing what makes your heart beat harder or your eyes shine brighter or your mouth smile wider. Or you can spend that time not pursuing those things. Which, to my mind, if you're not pursuing what makes you feel truly alive, then you're ultimately pursuing what makes you feel dead. 

There's nothing easy about following 'that' feeling. There's nothing easy about trusting your heart. There's nothing easy about having faith that you'll be ok. There's nothing easy about letting go of what you have to risk it all on what could be. But do you really want it to be easy? Isn't it in the trust and the faith and the risk and the leap that we find and feel the ultimate sense of fulfilment and satisfaction when we eventually experience the thing we took the risk for in the first place?

Some people'll say you're crazy for following that beat of your heart. But you and I both know that you're only really crazy if you don't.

Love and courage,

Leah