It’s noon and I just got out of bed. I wasn’t sleeping that whole time — it’s just that it’s raining out and I love the sound of rain more than almost anything so, I stayed in bed to listen to it.
I’m a slow burn. It takes me a long time go get things done. My friendships build slowly, the tasks I do have lots of breaks built in, it can take me so long to realize I like someone romantically that they have often already moved on to friend mode by the time my light bulb goes on. Acting quickly, when it relates to myself, is something I’ve never been keen on. Rapid fire questions can give me an anxiety attack, I like to get to events early so they can fill in around me, I love my fucking couch. I’m afraid. Of what, you ask? Well, pretty much everything.
All of this is a recipe for someone to never leave her hometown and just stay in the place that’s comfortable. The thing is – that’s not what I did. Yes, it took me longer than most to get the courage to travel outside of the boundaries of New England but I DID IT. I was two months shy of my 30th birthday when I drove down the east coast to Virginia Beach. My sister from another mister had moved there a few months earlier and, I wasn’t going to not see her just because she now lived 600 miles away. I planned my route ahead of time, I made snacks, I rented a car because my car could not possibly make it the 1200+ mile round trip, I fucking did it. That road trip was the first in a series of road trips and experiences that would change my life.
You see, less than eight years later, I live in Portland, Oregon. I have not only traveled to Virginia Beach more times than I can count (I mean, there are nieces involved now!) But, I’ve driven across the country multiple times. I’ve been to at least half of the 50 states in the U.S. I’ve camped all over the south, southwest and, west coast. I’ve gone on solo vacations and have taken trips to conferences. I’ve reduced my debt and increased my credit score. I’ve put my life on display via social media (find me: @MurphTheJerk ) and I’ve done work that I never thought I’d be able to do.
But I’m still afraid of just about everything. Sometimes I lay in bed until noon to listen to the rain. Sometimes I want to go hiking but the idea of having to find a place to park my car stresses me out so much that I just walk to my local park (which is still hiking, BTW.) Sometimes I cry for hours because I’m so lonely but, I don’t know how to show that I need people too. The difference between me in my late 20’s and me in my late 30’s is that I know it’s okay, I can still be afraid AND take steps forward. My steps are smaller than a lot of people’s but, they are still steps. I am still moving forward. I am still doing things that make my heart sing and I still get to experience every single emotion.
I’ve learned to not compare myself to others. No one else’s journey is going to look like mine. It may seem to the general public that I’m always doing big things like taking adventures, being brave, being strong and, taking risks and I guess I am. But, what people don’t see is all of the tiny steps that get me to each of these things. I am not some super human, I am just someone who refuses to stop moving forward.