Defending Your Life

Op-Ed

What does living life, really living life, look like? In the film “Defending Your Life,” when a person dies the universe looks back on scenes from that life, to see if they have really lived. They judge this by whether the person had overcome fear… If the universe looked at moments of your life, what would it look like?

For me, I have already accumulated many moments of giving into fear… When I stayed silent with my needs or opinion, in order to be liked… When I should have spoken up for someone or to right a wrong… When I avoided telling someone how I felt because ultimately, I was trying to protect my heart.

But, in my life’s defense, there is a growing number of individual moments when I think I overcame that fear… The time I accepted a new assignment at work, knowing it would take me out of my comfort zone and plop me into controversy with little control… The moment I ran into the ocean for a triathlon where I knew there was fish, and of the small possibility I could actually die from lack of training… The day I wore navy blue and black together…

And now, perhaps, this could be another moment in the ‘win over fear’ category. I am off to Italy for six weeks to study, travel, and eat. And yes while I know this sounds fabulous, I also have many fears. Fear of living in a foreign country and being utterly lost, physically and emotionally… Fear of being a poor student (yes, even when there are no grades)… And ultimately, fear of being lonely…

But living life does not equate to never being afraid… I believe it is what you do in the face of that fear. Do you succumb in that moment, forever regretting and replaying that moment? Or do you overcome that fear, and grow in the knowledge that you are stronger than you realize and can overcome future obstacles as well?

I have hopes for the latter… I will try to embrace adventure and discovery in being in a new place. I will study when I can, but also remember that at the end of it that the learning is more than what I memorize in books. And should I feel lonely, I will write, listen to podcasts, or dance alone in my apartment,

So here’s to living… really living… in Italy! La vida del’Italia!

Or something like that…

EPILOGUE:

I am here and it is not too bad… But each day is an unknown. To date, I have killed two mosquitoes and one moth with my bare hands. I tried to have a conversation with my landlord after 22 hours of traveling (it did not go well but he definitely remembers me!). And I have eaten lunch alone and this was my view. Not bad.

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