If I Were Really Brave….

Luci Swindoll is a wild woman. Her life story throbs with adventure, with risks taken and narrow escapes, with moments seized and savored. Few people know how to squeeze more glory out of a life than she.

However, even she has a few things she would like to have done differently. Opportunities missed. Moments when she wishes she would have followed her heart. She talks about this in  her book, Doing Life Differently: The Art of Living With Imagination. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I keep asking myself, “What are the dreams I surrendered too easily? What would I do if I were really brave?” And, most importantly, “Which of these is still possible?”

They are uncomfortable, vulnerable, scary, thrilling questions to ponder. I thought it might be easier if you and I consider them together. So, I will share a few of mine with you and you can share yours with me. If you dare. And maybe we will end up borrowing one or two from each other. And we can sit out on the ledge together until one of us has the courage to jump. 🙂

Write a Book  There. I said it. Out loud. It is something that has tugged at my heart for a couple of years now. But I keep sabotaging myself. I say I have no time. Which is true, and not true. I do have many demands on my time. And I feel selfish writing when there is  a baby to take care of and homework or laundry or dishes to be done. But, I also waste time. Every day. Mostly I’m scared. Scared that it will be awful. Scared I will write it and nobody will read it.

Play the Mandolin  I bought one. That’s a start, right? I love it’s sound…in bluegrass…in lovely Venetian barcarolles and love songs. And, though it has 8 strings, it only has 4 pitches. Pretty accessible, given that I am already relatively musical. But it’s harder than it looks. And there’s that whole time thingy. It’s looking across the room at me right now. As I type this. Not accusing, exactly. Singing…softly…

Study Abroad  Was this even available when I was in college? I didn’t know about it if it was. But I wish I had had the chutzpa to get myself out of the country, one way or another, when I was younger; more malleable.

Study Literature or Art History at the University Level I could totally be one of those people who just goes to college for the rest of my life. I actually looked into it a couple of years ago. But, it’s expensive. And the schedule is inflexible. So for now, I read great literature on my own. And visit museums. And attend lectures. And read about artists…

Become Fluent in Another Language  This is one of two that Luci and I share. I know a fair amount of survival French and bits of Italian and German. But, I would like to know another language well enough that I could have a thought in that language without thinking it in English and translating. Does that make sense? Phrases sometimes come to me in French. That’s a start, I suppose. But I am far from being able to carry on a comfortable conversation without lots of stopping and starting and wrinkling my nose and grasping for the right words.

Live in Europe Probably France. Or Italy. Or both. 🙂 Visiting has been so lovely. But I want to live the rhythm of life in a Provencal or Tuscan village. To buy fresh bread at the boulangerie every morning. And assist with the grape and olive harvests. To know a people who sees the world through a different lens. I regularly survey rental properties online. (When I should be writing or practicing mandolin or French. :)) It is a dream, fortunately, that Mike and I share. So, just maybe….

Walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela  Beginning on the French side of the Pyrenees and crossing northern Spain, this is one of the oldest and most traversed pilgrimages in all of Christendom. 780 km. It usually takes 3-4 weeks to complete it. I first learned of it from my friend CeCe who traveled the final 150 km with her sister a few years ago. Orthodoxy has taught me to eat, and breathe, and wear my faith. Now I want to walk it. Father Kevin Dodd’s beautiful book, To the Field of Stars, is stoking my desire. And I am seriously considering a mini pilgrimage (in my car) to a neighboring state to see the new film called The Way which depicts one man’s (fictional) journey. I had decided the Camino would be a most appropriate way to mark my 50th birthday (in 2016) until Jake and I began seriously taking about this:

Hike the Appalachian Trail  Probably not all of it. That takes around 7 months. But we’re thinking we might hit it for a couple of months the summer after he graduates from college. That gives us a while to acquire the gear and take a number of practice hikes. Appalachia is my heritage. I drank the rugged beauty of it in with my milk. It is a worthy endeavor, especially if I get to do it with my son.

OK, there you go. A rather unwieldy collection of dreams deferred…for now…but not forever.

How bout you? What would you do if you were really brave?