“We spend our time searching for security and hate it when we get it” – John Steinbeck
A few years ago, I was living a completely normal life. I had recently finished school, I had a steady job, I was healthy, I had a lovely girlfriend and a large social circle. On the surface, I was living a pretty decent life.
And yet, it wasn’t the life I wanted to live. None of it seemed right to me. Yes, my job was alright, but I didn’t love it, and it certainly wasn’t fulfilling. And yes, I had a lovely girlfriend, but I knew that we weren’t right for each other. And yes, I had a large friend-group, but I didn’t feel truly connected to any of them. No aspect of my life was perfect, but I desperately held on to it because it was all I had.
Fear was controlling my life. I was clinging so desperately to the securities I had built up, there just wasn’t any room for what I really wanted. I knew that in order to get what I wanted out of life, I had to first rid myself of my crippling fear of losing what I had. I knew that my secure and comfortable lifestyle was standing in the way of me living life to the fullest.
And so I let it all go.
Everything. I quit my job, I broke up with my girlfriend, I said goodbye to my friends and family, and I sold most of my possessions. I then bought a one-way ticket to New Zealand, packed my last belongings in a backpack and decided to go nomadic for the foreseeable future. Basically, I was giving up everything I had always been so afraid to lose.
And that was exactly what I had always needed to do.
As I traveled, I realized just how ridiculous my fear of loss really was. I learned that I didn’t need any of the securities I had been so afraid to let go of; I learned that I wasn’t dependent on other people to survive and be happy; I learned that I didn’t even need a secure career to support myself. And after spending a couple of days lost in the wilderness due to a hitch-hiking screw-up, I also learned that I could get along just fine without so much as a roof over my head!
Sure, a lot of those things are nice to have (it gets a bit annoying sleeping outside when it’s raining), but I didn’t need any of them. And with that realization came a lot more freedom than I had ever had in my entire life. Since I wasn’t so desperately attached to a secure life, I was now able to explore and live my life the way I wanted to.
Since I wasn’t clinging so desperately to a secure source of income, I was able to explore alternative ways of making money that were more in line with the kind of lifestyle I wanted. And since I wasn’t desperately clinging on to the first girl that happened to come along, I was able to explore and attract much more love into my life. And since I wasn’t so deathly afraid of embarrassing myself and losing all my friends (quite a silly fear to begin with), I became much more outgoing and daring.
For me, the path to a fulfilling life was to embrace my fears and live out my worst-case scenarios. Through giving up all the securities I was so afraid to lose, I became free to live life on my own terms.
Now it’s up to you: what are your fears, and how are you planning to face them?