"With each passage of human growth we must shed a protective structure [like a hardy crustacean]. We are left exposed and vulnerable – but also yeasty and embryonic again, capable of stretching in ways we hadn't known before." ~ Gail Sheehy
Trying something "new" – you know that feeling where it can feel a bit on the vulnerable side. In a way, you're putting yourself out there – not knowing for sure how it's all going to turn out. (but then – do you every really know…)
Recently, Ive begun the process of looking at colleges for my oldest son, who is a junior in high school – and right at that age where he's thinking about this (and really – about "what's next" after high school is finished). It's been a fun (and enlightening) process of visiting various schools and seeing the energy of the youth at these campuses.
I'm digressing, though…
One of our visits took us to Colorado. And on this trip – it would be just myself, along with my two sons – a boys weekend (plus) away – along with a couple of college visits built into our plan. This seemed like a perfect time to venture out and try something new.
As I looked for a place for us to stay – I recalled a movement I'd heard of in the past. Couchsurfing.org
Couchsurfing (defined): referring to the practice of moving from one friend's house to another, sleeping in whatever spare space is available, floor or couch, generally staying a few days before moving on to the next house.
In this case – the term "friend" could really be described as someone whom we had never met, yet someone who was committed to opening their house up to us – based just upon a profile I'd created at the Couchsurfing website and a few email exchanges.
It seemed like such a great idea – to meet someone who lived in the area, to save some $$$ on lodging, and to make a new connection along the way.
And then I told my two boys how our lodging would go down. We would arrive at someone's house who we didn't know at all, and we would sleep wherever there was space for us (bed, sofa, floor…). They were convinced we would be eaten (eaten!!!), that our lives were in danger, and this was a BAD MOVE! (I guess you could say that our culture of fear and distrust had reached their young souls…)
…and then, I began to wonder…
Was this really a smart move? After all – we didn't know the guy we were staying with, we would be arriving late at night, would he have a place for all three of us to sleep, was there something I just wasn't seeing about this guy, etc, etc, etc.
In short – I was feeling a little vulnerable. Here I was putting myself (and two of my kids) out there into an unknown for us.
And…it was an amazing experience!! (I highly recommend couchsurfing – it's a great way to meet people and see a new locale!)
We stayed with a gentleman who lived in the mountains, gave us beds to sleep in, made breakfast for us…and that was just the start. He took time out of his schedule to hang out with us during our free time – showing us around the local area (Boulder, CO specifically) and truly expanding our horizons (including thoughts of a naked pumpkin run…don't worry, I haven't signed up for this one…yet…)
And…those two boys who thought they would be eaten…well…they now email their new-found Colorado friend regularly!
Life is what we make it. We can choose to stay where we're at (geographically, intellectually, etc) and be okay with the status quo.
What if, though, we opened ourselves up to new experiences (whatever that might be) – knowing that we may feel a bit vulnerable in the whole process? What might be?
Sure – things may go the way of our fears. (is that really the worst thing, though…)
Or they may wildly take us to new heights within ourselves.
And in the end – will we truly regret those "chances" we've taken (I think not).
So, today I encourage you to step out from where you are – being okay to any vulnerability you feel – and expand your being in new and wonderful ways!
by Lance Ekum