life lessons – the best day ever

Journal Entry – December 22, 2017

Where in the world?

The adventures and journeys of me.

On a ferry leaving Turku, Finland heading to Stockholm, Sweden.

I’m a wanderer,

I’m a nomad,

I’m unconventional,

And I’m happy.

As the ferry pulls away from the dock all I can think is WOW.  I’m that girl from the movies who’s ecstatic, nervous, excited, and scared about traveling solo in a foreign country where the only words I know in their language are “thank you.”

Today is one of those days that I surprise myself. Growing up I was a little of a scaredy cat.  Ask my family, I’m sure they would love to entertain you with stories of goose chases and the tears that followed.  Another story my dad might tell you is similar, but also one of courage, which I’ve become to consider a pivotal point in my life.  I always knew it was in there somewhere, but I needed someone to call out the bravery in me and encourage me to try something new.

I’m not sure how old I was when this story took place but I come back to it often in times of uncertainty, decision making, and wondering.

One summer my parents surprised my sisters and I will a day trip to DelGrosso’s Amusement park.  The park has (had?) both a water park and roller coasters.  If I remember correctly we started the day off at the water park with the typical hassle of my mother getting 4 giddy girls changed and sun-screened up for the day.  I spent a most of my time in the kiddy pool area imagining what the big water slides over yonder had to offer.  Every so often I’d take a moment to catch a glimpse of the “big kids” enjoying themselves on the big rides.  I wanted so badly to join them but I was gripped with fear.  Fear of what? I don’t know; that I would love it and have to wait in the lines the rest of the day?

My dad saw my curiosity and knew what I wanted, I had watched my sister’s take turns along with many other kids’ (even ones smaller and younger than I) take multiple rides down the slides.  I remember my dad coming over to me, holding my shoulders, and bending down to look me in the eyes.  He simply told me, “Suzanne, I know you want to go on the big slide.  I will go with you, it’ll be fun!  If you go and absolutely do not like it you don’t have to go again, but I think you’ll like it.  You are a brave big girl.”

Most likely there were still some tears and pouting but eventually I found the courage to say okay and take his hand.  We went to stand in line, waiting our fate.  The steps were steep and I feared falling through.  Finally, we made it to the top. Then it was our turn.

What am I doing? I’m actually doing it! Why am I so excited? I hope I like it! – My brain blabbered on.

Then with a push and a scream, the wind in my hair and smile on my face we splashed into the pool at the end of the slide.  Before my head was above the water my mind was already, “okay, dad, bye. I don’t need you.  I got this next once all by myself.”  You know who cried because we had to leave the water park to eat lunch and ride the roller coaster? Yep, that’d be me.  I definitely got my parents’ money’s worth out of those slides.

On the ride home I declared that day, “the best day ever.”  Was it the ice cream? The time with family? Well, I’m sure those things were factored into that declaration, but it was also because I learned something about myself.

I am brave.

My dad saw something in me.  He didn’t want my fears holding me back from something I wanted.  He saw the bravery and courage in me when I was blind to it myself.  He called out what he saw in me which in turn gave me the strength to overcome my fears.

Neither of us understood the impact that simple conversation would have on me down the road.

I learned how to fail myself toward success because of the lesson I learned that day, because of the bravery and courage that was called out in me that day.

Being the second child I always tagged along and watched what my older sister did and followed her lead.  She plowed the way and I just followed.  I wasn’t going to be the first at attempting something, I waited for someone else to succeed or fail before I would decide if it was something worth pursuing.   Eventually, I had to start making my own decisions.

As I got older my slides – fears, doubts, etc. – took form of decisions like moving far away for college, transferring to a new college, pursuing my dreams in unlikely places, or doubting my abilities, worth, or that I was truly loved.  Every slide is different, some are fast, others slow, some plunge you under the water others you just glide over the surface.  The exciting thing is you don’t know which is which until you take a ride on one.  I haven’t loved every water slide I’ve ridden just like every decision I’ve made hasn’t been easy or what I thought it was going to be at the moment I made it, but you don’t know until you try.  I don’t want to miss out on the best one and I’m okay with experiencing the worst if that means I’m that much closer to getting the prize.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas A. Edison

Behind some of the most brave & courageous decisions lay the most life giving, energizing, and unforgettable life experiences.

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