By Harry Pearse
What is it that stops us from pursuing a dream or an aspiration? What stops us from travelling to Australia and discovering what the word “wildlife” actually means? What about pursuing a relationship?
Maybe it’s fear. Fear of the unknown. We fear things if they can’t be controlled, but sometimes we just have to let go and follow the path to contentment.
When the idea of moving to America on a soccer scholarship popped into my mind as an 18-year-old, the two things that caused my excitement were FOOTBALL (soccer) and AMERICA! But when the realization hit that this move was going to be a huge commitment, second-guessing sailed through and planted a blackness of fear. I was going to leave my family, my friends, the comfort of my home and, most importantly, English tea… (Lipton’s just doesn’t suffice for this mature British pallet).
The feeling of fear and the feeling of an uncontrolled unknown future nearly stopped me from pursuing something as fantastic as this. Fear led to many absurd excuses, such as “there is too much paperwork,” or “the academics don’t look great…” Yet, three years later, this is the best decision I have made so far in my developing life. I made a massive leap of complete risk, moving thousands of miles away and being completely lost, alone and isolated. But that wasn’t the case, as much as fear tried to tell me otherwise.
I’ve met my best friends, I’ve developed amazingly as a soccer player, but most importantly, my maturation and development as a human being is incomparable and indescribable. Where would I be if I had said “no” to such an opportunity because I was scared? I honestly don’t know.
I’ve met some incredible people along this journey, many who have had such an impact on the way I look at life, that I have completely changed my perspective on pretty much everything I once believed in. Isn’t that unbelievable? Within this big journey, there have been many small journeys that, in their individuality, have provided me something, whether it is a lesson in love or a lesson in sports.
I believe we can all have a similar journey. An adventure can’t be just a robotic, systematic and dogmatic plan where you just stay on the safe road, and walk in a straight line. That isn’t reality. Life is tough and it’s
full of zig-zag roads, which constantly test us. Embrace those complications. Embrace the fact that once you have come out the other end you have learned something, and now you know how to handle that ‘something’ next time around.
We cannot let fear dictate how we live our lives. I’m not talking about going into shark-infested waters just for a swim, because the likelihood of coming out of that situation swimmingly is pretty slim. However, if you want to go abroad to Europe, Australia, or somewhere far, far away from home because you want to “experience,”—and “experience” being the key word here—do it! Don’t lose out on a life-altering experience because of the fear of diving out of your comfort zone.
You may have to substitute your big double bed for a hostel. You may even have to leave your mother, who waits on you hand and foot, for a more self-sufficient lifestyle of cooking your own food and making your own choices. But trust me, it is extraordinarily worth it because you gain an immense amount.
Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.
No matter what adventures you go on, no matter what risks you take, make sure that the fear of leaving the comfort of your family, friends and routine doesn’t stop you because that would be completely criminal to the development of YOU. Now, go explore.