All I had to say was, “Yesterday was fun. I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.” This seemingly simple sentence had me paralyzed. I was supposed to be translating, but after a long pause, thinking, I asked, “How do I say ‘enjoyed?”
So focused on the word I didn’t know I hadn’t even begun the sentence. Grinning, my teacher asked if I knew how to say, “Yesterday was fun.”
“Well yes, Ayer fue divertido.” I replied.
"How about, I hope everyone?” She asked.
Again, I was able to easily get that part of the sentence out. She added “disfrutado” (enjoyed) and asked if I knew how to translate the end of the sentence. My teacher, Carol, who is very dear to me got me thinking about much more than Spanish that day.
The word for “enjoyed” (“disfrutado”) paralyzed me in my translation, it was the one small “if” in an otherwise un-intimidating sentence. Growing up I watched people live in fear of the “ifs” of life, the “disfrutados” if you will. The “Well, I have always wanted to travel to France but I don’t know the language, and what if I get lost in the airport?” or “What if I get there and the hotel I booked is horrible?” I have come to the conclusion that the “ifs” are the adventure of life (the spice). Would it really be the end of the world if you had to ask someone to help you in the airport or find another hotel?
Go for your dreams one step at a time and when you encounter your “disfrutado” you will find your way around it, through it, and most likely come out with a great story (spice!).
Don’t let yourself be paralyzed by the “ifs.” pursue them passionately. No dream is too crazy. I firmly believe that you are capable of much more than you think. I’m not saying that it will be easy. More likely than not, it will be hard, require determination, courage, and a good sense of humor.
For me this way of thinking is a decision – a decision I constantly remind myself of. Life isn’t so scary. What it boils down to is; the simple things in life are the most important. When I am in the midst of an “if”, I am somewhere I don’t enjoy with people I don’t particularly like and I just want to go home, I can sneak away, sit on a swing in an empty playground, and enjoy the simple things like the warm sun, the birds playfully chirping, and the peace and quiet of just being. A deep breath, a few minutes and I am able to take on whatever “ifs” are headed my way.
Live in the moment. Keep your dreams, but don’t keep them on a shelf to look at every so often keep them with you, close at hand, so when an opportunity presents itself your dreams are sitting there waiting in the forefront of your mind, not pushed aside as a scary “if” or a “someday when I am better suited.”
The reality is the longer you stay the way you are the easier it is to stay the way you are. Meanwhile, your dreams get dustier and dustier with every day that passes them up atop that shelf.
Everyone says it, but somehow no one realizes it until it has happened to them; life passes you by in an instant. Many lives are wasted in a holding pattern telling themselves that next year I will have more time and money to take the trip to Europe. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Take things as they come, one thing at a time. I am not saying don’t be prepared, but that most likely, there will never be a perfect time to do what you want to do; so ultimately you never will be prepared. Take heart in each little step, realizing that it is a step closer to your dream. Believe in yourself. Everyone is extraordinary. The difference is some people don’t believe it.
If you happen to be one of those people who doesn’t believe in yourself, take a tiny step. See what happens. You might just find that one tiny step leads to the next tiny step; and before you know it, you will look back and realize you have found that extraordinary self.
So instead of focusing on what you don’t know, the “disfrutado”, start your sentence with confidence, passion, and the rest will come. Don’t let the “ifs” scare you out of experiencing life to its fullest…enjoy!
*This article was written back in 2012 for the Overland Journal Blog. I was reminded of it during a conversation with my mother-in-law and thought I would share.