Changing your stars…

I am fairly certain if you had told my parents when I was a small child that I would end up leaving Canada to pursue a degree in the US and not come back…(yet)…they would have been skeptical at best and saddened either way.  As I have grown, I have watched my friend raise children and see the desire for them to have something more than they did, but also the keen interest in keeping them relatively close to “home.”  For that, I apologize to my father, because I am certain my living in the US has not always been easy on him, but I thank him for never making me feel badly for leaving.

I am sure some people’s “stars” are clearly outline in their own skies.  There is a solid path that they are meant to follow, almost from birth, and many of them (at least eventually) do.  My path seemed as concrete growing up, until I hit a tailspin at the end of high school which had me reevaluating life, the meaning of, and the purpose of mine probably at far too young of an age. The ultimate conclusion from all that pondering was this: life is too short to waste a single minute of it.

I have regularly been accused of processing and in some cases over-processing, but it is something I learned to do at 17 and cannot find the off switch to save my life.  My journey to the US has taken me places I couldn’t have dreamed of if I’d stayed in Canada.  I’ve met people whose paths I never imagined crossing, and have gotten to know people that will likely be with me till my last breath.  For all those things, I am so thankful.  It has been the conquering of fear that has allowed me to experience even a minute of these things.

Fear usually cripples change.  The fear of the unknown, a world that we are not familiar with, and experiences we have no reference point for.  I teach a public speaking class at Randolph College, and my students this past week all gave mini-speeches on a topic of their choosing.  A number of them, by coincidence, spoke of fear.  In their own self-reflection, there were key moments in their life where they stood staring fear in the face, and instead of succumbing to its crippling effects they choose to embrace their fear and step into the unknown.  In each student’s case, that leap of faith ended up being the greatest hurdle in their lives but it produced the greatest rewards.

We all face fear each day to some degree.  In some cases, fear is catalyst to life-changing events and in others, it’s the fear of the moment.  Regardless, it is our choice whether or not to succumb to our fear and allow it to prevent us from experiences in life.  I encourage any who read this to stare fear in the face and embrace the opportunity to change your stars. 

As a Facebook status recently quoted Anthony Robbins words (what does it mean that I’m actually quoting Facebook now? :): ” If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” If you don’t like what you have, it’s time to change.



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