Love Letter #54: What Are You Waiting For?

“The (wo)man who goes alone can start today; but (s)he who travels with another must wait till the other is ready, and it may be a long time before they get off.”

Henry David Thoreau – Walden

I believe we are all here for one another and need each other, but not necessarily when it comes to stepping into our dreams. 

Waiting for others can leave us feeling frustrated, disappointed and resentful…signs that we are not meeting our own needs and a recipe for regret. I almost missed an amazing trip to Italy while waiting for others. 

After completing my undergraduate degree at the age of 57, I had promised myself a trip to Italy to celebrate this achievement. I had been there briefly some years before and I fell in love with Italy and promised myself I’d return. 

My initial plans included two other people whom  I adore. We kept trying to find days that worked and make plans, but that wasn’t coming together. One thing I’ve learned is not to force anything that doesn’t come easily. As our plans seemed to fall apart, I realized it was time for me to stop waiting and just go. 

A friend of mine suggested a travel agent, and I booked a solo trip starting in Rome, then onto Siena, and finally Florence before heading home. Nine days all on my own in a country where I knew no one and spoke only a few words of the language. I was excited, scared, and oh so curious. This was only my second time in a foreign country and the first time by myself. Yikes!!

There were a lot of fears projected at me from others. “Aren’t you afraid?” “ How will you stay safe?” “ You’re going alon…who does that?” While I was somewhat afraid of the unknown, I was never afraid to take the trip. This was something I knew, deep down, I would do and love.

As I found my way through each of these cities, figuring out trains, buses, streets, menus, and taking one death defying taxi ride in Rome, I was also learning how adventurous I was willing to be. 

Standing atop the Spanish Steps in Rome and then wandering Via Cordotti, I noticed how alive it feels to be totally present and in the moment. It’s impossible to be on auto-pilot in such unfamiliar surroundings. 

There were many moments of uncertainty. Taking the right train from Rome to Siena was quite the trip. When the train stopped in Chuisti instead of going onto Siena, it took a bit for me to figure out that I was supposed to get on a bus for the next leg of the journey. Fortunately, I’d been talking with an American couple on the train and we managed to figure it out. 

When I returned from this Italian adventure, I began asking myself, “What else is possible? What more would I love to experience?” That’s when I began planning my exit from a corporate career and redefined what success means to me. 

You see, the person I’d really been waiting for was me. I had to take the first step. I had to be willing to step into the unknown and find out what was possible for me. I’m quite certain that, had I gone on this trip with someone else, it would not have been the same empowering experience it was. 

Case in point. When that couple and I got off the bus in Siena, the two of them were huddled over a map trying to figure out where to go. Instead, I went off to find a shopkeeper and ask them for directions. The woman didn’t understand my American map, but when I told her the street name she happily pointed me in the right direction. I often wonder how long it took that couple to find their way? 

Today, I invite you to ask yourself, “What am I waiting for?”. 

What is it you would love to do and are waiting for someone else, or for some kind of permission, or signal to do it? What if you stopped waiting? 

I’ve had people tell me I’m brave, but truly I am no braver than anyone else. I have no special power. I simply chose to stop waiting and believed I could find my way. That’s it. 

Whatever it is you wish to be, do, or create in your life…stop waiting and take the first step. Let yourself be amazing…because you have far more courage and confidence than you might give yourself credit for.

With love,

There’s no better moment than now to start pursuing your dreams, and I’m here to assist you every step of the way.

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