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The last few months have been interesting, to say the least.

If someone would have told me two years ago, as I sold my home and was preparing to move my life halfway across the world, that the journey would be cut short much sooner than I anticipated and by circumstances I didn’t want to believe could happen, I would have told them they were crazy.

Yet, here I am. Waiting on a shipping container carrying all our belongings from one side of the world to the other, living out of suitcases and rotating the same 4 outfits over the course of the last 8 weeks, in a home waiting to be filled with things, but that is already full of love and hope for the next chapter – a new season.

I can’t tell you why things happen in life, only that they happen. I suppose that is why it’s called life. You never know where it may take you or who may show up exactly when you need them. You simply roll with the punches and know that even through the most difficult of times, it will pass.

As I sit here thinking about the last two years, sometimes I find that I need to pinch myself – did that really happen? Did I really give up everything to go abroad? And in the moments of pinching myself as a reminder that it was real, I then think about all the experiences and memories that filled up those two years…time that now seems like an alternate reality but one that actually happened. And I am grateful for all the lessons learned and the life lived.

Years ago, after the death of my grandparents, I experienced an overwhelming sense of loss. Before that moment, I was an immature and selfish college student freely living life as though I was invincible. Through the grieving process and allowing myself to feel everything that accompanied that loss, I realized then that life has no guarantees. You never know when your time may come, so rather than live a life crippled by fear, I made a choice to embrace life and all that comes with it – good and bad.

I was talking about this very thing with a friend of mine, someone I have known for years who I recently had an opportunity to reconnect with during our travels over the holidays. They had a cancer scare this year and one of the reoccurring themes for them as they navigated through a difficult season, was this awareness that we have no control over what comes next or when ‘our time’ might be up.

Whether it’s cancer or a car accident, we both learned the same lesson at very different times in our lives and under very different circumstances, but the lesson was still there. Live life with open arms and an open heart. No regrets.

Life isn’t meant to be lived inside our comfort zone. Life is meant to be a constant ebb and flow of growth and evolution, of peaks and valleys. With each valley comes wisdom and with each peak comes humility because of the valley you just crawled out of. And if you simply walk through life with your eyes closed, comfortable in the bubble you have created to keep yourself safe, are you really living at all?

Did I take a risk by going abroad and giving it all up, absolutely! And sure, some could even say I failed as I now find myself back on this side of the world. But that’s the thing, I don’t own nor do I care about what anyone else thinks about my life. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat because the lessons I was meant to learn and the path I was meant to walk included this season and the knowledge and clarity that now comes with it.

Experiences I would never have had, had I not taken a chance on life, on moving abroad. Had I not been willing to fail.

We only fail when we stop trying. When we stop taking chances. When we stop growing.

Another friend of mine, someone who is both beautiful and brilliant, recently said to me, “Do whatever you have to do to shake the ‘shoulds.’ We are all just walking each other home.”

Take a minute this week to step back from it all. What ‘shoulds’ do you need to shake in your own life? Are you holding back from going after a promotion at work because you are too afraid of the outcome? Are you holding back in your relationships because you are afraid of love? Or are you simply holding back in life because you are afraid of the unknown?

Let it go.

Learn to embrace this lifetime and the beauty of endless possibility.

We don’t get to control the outcome. We never have. We simply choose if we want a life based on fear or a life based on freedom.

The choice is up to you.  

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