I love this. Oh yes. How true it is. The opportunities we make for ourselves; the parameters we define, achieve, exceed.
How many times do you find yourself circling in the small circumference of your day: your world defined by the limitations of work, by small children with sticky hands; by whatever it is that you see as the perimeter for what is possible?
“There are so many things that you’re told you can’t do. So many things that can stop you. You can either be like the elephant that is hobbled it’s whole life—so it doesn’t know that it is free once the hobble is removed, or you can do things your own way. You cannot live a life of fear.”
The woman telling me this is the flight attendant on the last of my three flights. She is beautiful, in her late forties, with milky chocolate skin and sparkling eyes. She wears a flower diamond ring on her finger, and her eyes light up when I ask her if she’s ever been sky diving.
“No,” she says, “but it’s something I’m thinking of doing. I’m afraid of heights.”
Then she tells me, “I went parasailing in Mexico and it was incredible. The air was fresh, and the world was so quiet up there above the water. It was like I was an angel.”
I can’t help grinning. I love that every single assumption I’ve had about this woman has just been shattered into a million pieces.
“Hang gliding has always been on my bucket list,” I tell her.
And she looks at me then, head tilted to the side, and in that moment we both get it. We’re two of a kind. The kind of women with bucket lists; with wanderlust; with adventure bursting from the drawers of our hearts.
“What is the number one thing on your bucket list?” she asks.
“To publish the book I’m working on,” I tell her and her eyes light up.
“I’ve always wanted to write,” she says.
So I say, “Tell me. Tell me about your life.”
And so she tells me how until two months ago she worked as a successful registered nurse. How she climbed the rungs of success in her field; spent her career traveling: starting a hospital in Nicaragua, bringing medical supplies to villages in Africa; exploring the streets of Rome.
“Resilience is about being able to change,” she tells me, when I ask her how she got from that to this; to being a flight attendant.
“Change is what makes people thrive. It’s when they get stuck in the same patterns for too long, when they’re afraid to change that they become unhealthy.” And because she wanted more wanted more balance in her life, she quite nursing and became a flight attendant.
I want to ask more, but the plane is already in its descent. We exchange email addresses, and she smiles as she presses hers into my hand.
When the plane hits the runway with a thud, I'm still smiling.
Yes for resilience. Yes for adventure. Yes for living your life without fear.
What do you believe is possible? What would you do if limitations didn't exist?