My 1)twentysomething self is a bit 2)hazy now, washed out by too many late-night cocktails and, now, years of parenthood. But I still remember that girl.
She would leave a bar in 3)Madrid at three in the morning, jump on some Spaniard’s motorcycle, and enjoy an exhilarating, high-speed spin around the city with him—without ever knowing his name. And go for a ride on a glider airplane, because who says planes need motors? And move from New York City to 4)Great Falls, Montana to pursue dreams of being a TV reporter, without ever having set foot in the Big Sky state. Maybe not quite realizing that she was signing up for bears, minus-30-degree weather, and no sushi anywhere in sight.
I miss that girl.
During my twenties, I felt so damn 5)invincible. So courageous. So strong. But somewhere along the way, fear crept in. I started to hesitate. About too many things. I can now think of a crazy amount of reasons why it’s not such a brilliant idea to hop on some random guy’s motorcycle in the middle of the night in Madrid. Or why I’d like a plane to have a motor. Maybe even two. Or why it might be a good idea to check out a city before you relocate your entire life.
But with this maturity, I’ve lost something along the way. A certain 6)boldness. A boldness that 7)offers up life as it is meant to be lived. The full experience.
I know it has a lot to do with having children. It seems the more I have to lose, the more people I desperately love, the more paralyzed I become. I want to protect my children from the evils of life and keep them safe forever. I want to be here on this earth for them as long as possible. Of course, rationally, I know I can’t control their destiny. Or my destiny. But I keep trying.
I think back to my high school yearbook quote. “Risks must be taken because the greatest 8)hazard in life is to risk nothing. Only a person who takes risks is free.” As I near 40 (when you’re considered middle-aged and everyone seems to9)gleefully call you ma’am), I need some of that adventurous 10)mojo back.
I want to let go. Just a tiny bit. I want to have trust in the universe. I want to stop being afraid. I want to have more fun. Because I want my children to see me as a loving, independent, and courageous spirit. The kind of mother who would absolutely take a ride on a motorcycle every now and again.