I remember having a conversation with a friend once and she was telling me how her grandfather lived and died in the same house on the same street. She said he woke up each morning, went to work and came home. He never took a vacation. She said his son was born in that house and lives there now. He’s never been outside of the neighborhood either. She said it with pride, but I thought it was incredibly sad.
Do you know that the brain fills in what you don’t see? If you look at something and you can’t see the complete picture, your mind pulls from parts of your past to complete the picture. It anticipates what you are supposed to be seeing and makes an estimated guess. If you live in the same place all your life, interact with the same people and go to the same places, you will never see anything different. And even if you do see something different, your mind will fill it in with the same images you’ve already seen.
This past week, I was going through some old pictures and ran across my very first adult vacation. My best friends and I were in our early twenties and we decided to go to Jamaica. Our vacation was booked for October 15, 2001. The month before our trip, two planes flew into the World Trade Center and shook up life as everyone knew it. The trauma was raw and the airlines were putting security measures in place, but no one felt completely secure.
After several phone calls back and forth, me and my two best friends decided that we were going to take our trip. I can’t tell you how many phone calls from well-meaning family and friends I received. People were telling me that I shouldn’t go because something could happen. I felt their fear. I felt their love and I felt my fear, but something told me I had to do this.
I had never flown before. I had been on vacations before, but we were always in a car and it was always in the U.S. I was also in my early twenties and this was my first vacation with my friends. Nervous barely explains what I felt as I boarded that flight. The flight also experienced rough turbulence to the point that I was mentally saying my last prayer. I decided that I had to let go and allow whatever was going to happen to happen. What happened was we arrived safely in paradise.
It was one of the best vacations of my life. When we sat down to breakfast the following day, the server told us that about 90% of the people who were booked had cancelled their trips. The only people who didn’t were us and some visitors from Europe. To me, it felt like we had an exclusive resort of our own. The staff catered to our needs and lavished us with attention. And, I was able to relax in a way that I had never felt before. There is something about a vacation that forces you to live in the moment. I got to know the people, the culture and their challenges which made me so much more grateful for the life I have.
The most amazing thing was that when I came back to the life I had known before the vacation, I saw it through very different eyes.I saw myself differently. I understood that pushing through your fear could allow you to experience life in a new way. You may not be able to take an expensive trip right now, but all you need to change your view of life is to do something different. You have to open up your world to new experiences, try new things and meet new people or you will continue to see life one way.
What changes can you make that will allow you to see life differently?
“Comfort zones are plush lined coffins. When you stay in your plush lined coffins, you die.”- Stan Dale