Thirteen years ago, I spent the summer studying in Spain. I lived in a 4th floor apartment in Alicante with three other young women, whom I’d never met before I set foot in our temporary digs. We took classes, we went to the beach, we drank wine, we traveled.
Sometimes I think back on that time and it startles me. How did I find the courage to fly to another country and navigate public transportation, grocery shopping, and school in a new place with new people, and in a language that I didn’t speak quite fluently yet?
But then I remember other times…
…joining the rowing team as a freshman in college, without a lick of experience in a rowing shell or even a real concept of what one looked like.
…changing careers after almost five years as a teacher and coach, and settling into an office environment not scheduled by tardy bells and school buses.
…driving to northern Michigan last summer for Oiselle Bird Camp and spending four days running and eating and laughing and star-gazing with 30 other women, most of whom I’d never met.
…flying across the country a few months ago for Bird Strike and spending almost 45 hours in an RV in the desert with a group of relentlessly strong and incredibly selfless women (again, most of whom I’d never met).
And I begin to see a thread. I can trace it back farther and farther for more connections, more stitches in the fabric of my life’s story, more evidence that perhaps I should stop being startled at my courage and start recognizing that it’s been there inside of me all along.