Courage

The usual time to talk about affairs of the heart is around Valentine’s Day, which of course is next month, but first I have something to say about heart that doesn’t have so much to with chocolates, flowers and lacy valentines. As we begin a new year, this January post is a voyage of discovery about other meanings of the word “heart.”

A little over a year ago, I decided to take action on something I’d been pondering for a while: living abroad for an extended time. Somewhat like stepping into a dressing room to try on a pair of pants, I tried on the idea of this new adventure by occasionally checking in with myself to see if the idea still “felt” right, while continuing to live the life I had in Colorado. I started to go public with my plan about the time I realized that not only did I definitely want to give this a try, but also that I might be a little disappointed with myself in twenty years if I hadn’t tried it. My mantra became, “if not now, when?”

As the adventure became ever more real, people began to say things to me like, “I admire you for doing this. It takes such courage.” I was puzzled by this comment, because at the time it didn’t feel like courage to me. It felt like a lot of work, a lot of details to attend to, and a dogged determination to make it happen. But not courage.

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