The Post that Got the Ball Rolling

From a series of posts about thankfulness on my Facebook page, November 2012:

Today, I am thankful for leaps of faith, small adventures, and curiosity. (Long one today…)

Shortly after moving to Texas, I was at loose ends – early retirement, in my early 40s, was just not sticking. So I took my trusty Jeep on a solo road trip in late summer, from Texas up to Tennessee and then down the Natchez Trace and on into Cajun country. I brought clothes, water, a cell phone, a guidebook, a paper map and a camera – no itinerary, no schedule, no advance reservations, no GPS. Each morning I’d look at the guidebook over breakfast and see where I wanted to stop during the day and where I wanted to end up, more or less. It was a wonderful month, staying only in B&Bs and with friends, and not eating in a single chain restaurant (except for that time in Mississippi when I had to hit a laundromat, and the KFC next door was the only place still open). The whole trip was magic (except possibly for the laundromat). And the best part was everything was still standing when I got back, and my family still loved me.

Every year, my one New Year’s resolution is to be bolder, to be more courageous, to be less afraid, to live more. I don’t think of myself as a particularly brave person. But looking back, I am thoroughly delighted by some of the amazing things I’ve done – occasionally because I was told I couldn’t, but mostly because I didn’t know any better. I learned to swim at 35. I had a brief (but lovely) career singing jazz and doing cabaret in my 40s. I’ve sung, with just a friend on a Steinway, on the stage in Dell Hall. I’ve answered personal ads and I’ve online dated and once was in a show on E! about my dating life. I’ve been quoted in Fast Company and Entrepreneur, and I’ve also lived completely under the radar of Really Successful People. I have been sort of wealthy and…definitely unwealthy…and just plain comfortable. I’ve made jewelry that people actually wear, and arranged flowers that people actually liked, and cooked many, many things that people actually ate. I have thrown unforgettable parties – unforgettably great and unforgettably disastrous. I’ve had jobs I adored and fed my soul, and jobs that made me physically ill every morning, just thinking about going in. I have stepped off planes and boats in foreign lands where I knew no one; I have moved to cities where I did not know a soul and made dear friends. I have loved.

Considering where I started, as an introverted, bespectacled nerd from Alaska, of all places, it feels pretty great to be where I am right now…an introverted, bespectacled nerd from Texas with more love in my life than I could ever have imagined. Please – the next time you have the chance to have an adventure, TAKE IT. And be thankful for the chance. Trust me: there is no downside. There are just more stories.

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