“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” – Steve Prefontaine
Our trip, our new lifestyle, is so close that I can taste it. Each day the what’s-to-come seems more and more real while the life we live now, the 9-to-5 in a cubicle life, feels like a charade. Our reality has shifted. What was once a future of good enough is now one filled with possibility.
There’s no escaping the fact that the only reason Brian and I are here is because I made a choice to listen to my inner voice and Brian made a choice to support my decision. My inner voice was telling me (screaming at me) that nothing would fulfill me the way that writing and seeing the world would. My inner voice said: Kim, writing is your gift. Use it.
It is scary for me to write that because I know that proclaiming to have a gift puts me in a smallish class of wingnuts and evangelists. Plus, I sound like an egomaniac.
But hear me out.
Isn’t it a gift to know what you love to do and have the ability to pursue it? When I write, when I go someplace I have never been, I feel like myself. How else can I describe it? It feels like settling into my bones. It is a gift to know what makes you come alive.
Here’s the other thing: I believe that everyone is born with a gift. Everyone has something that makes them feel most like themselves, something that feels natural like breathing, something that thrills them and fascinates them and comes easy. I believe this completely because I’ve seen it many times.
When I speak with people about what Brian and I are about to do almost everyone admits their gift to me. Some of them have followed it, most of them haven’t, but every single one of them knows what it is.
So what is your gift?
I just want to clarify: I don’t think I’m gifted. No, that’s a different thing. I’m bad at almost everything. I’m horrible at math, at reading maps. I can’t retell a story to save my life. I’m an average athlete. My vocabulary is lame.
The truth is that the only thing that I have ever been good at is feeling and then communicating that through writing and speaking. And this narrow ability has always been okay with me because it’s the only thing that I have ever really wanted to do anyway.
Someone said (I don’t know who): I believe ardently that you should drop everything and run toward your true self.
I believe that too. And after 30 years of running away, I feel like I am running towards my true self now.
I have no idea what the future holds now that I have decided to put my gift at the center of my life, but I guess no one is privy to that information. There are people that choose the safe path and those that risk it all to pursue their dreams and neither knows how anything will turn out, because there are no guarantees.
Brian and I have already given up a lot to live this dream, and we haven’t even left to travel yet. But there has not been one second that I have regretted the decision. There are moments of fear and horror and what the hell are we doing? but even when I’m completely freaking out I still never feel like we are making the wrong decision.
I think that’s how you know when you are honoring your gift. If it feels absolutely right, even though it terrifies you, that’s probably because it is.
P.S. I want to give a shout-out to my blog friend Torre who honored her gift and wrote a terrific book that the universe stood up and noticed. Seriously, read her story here, it’s as amazing as it is deserved.