Today I want to talk about what recent event inspired my drive for personal growth. Virtually every moment of every day throughout my sophomore and junior year of college was planned. Between having two jobs (averaging about 50 hours a week), being a full-time college student, and maintaining a happy marriage, I had no spare moment for myself. Going to the gym was my release. I thought I was fine and that I didn’t deserve anything better. My thought process was “If I can make everything happen successfully and get to bed on time, why change?”
But then, an opportunity confronted me and unleashed my suppressed spirit.
This past spring break I was given the chance to go to Ireland with one of my semester classes. Normally, I would have never applied due to finances and stress, but an inner voice told me that this trip was meant to be. I am so glad I listened, and I quickly found out that I had been accepted. For one week I had the chance to experience a different and beautiful culture, feel the wind blow through my hair as I pedaled across the shore of an Aran Island, and drink my first legal Guinness in Dublin. I can’t even begin to describe all the wonderful memories I have of my trip, but one day in particular stands out above the rest.
Towards the end of the trip, we took a charter bus up to Giant’s Causeway on what appeared to be an overcast gloomy day. All I knew was that it was some sort of natural destination. I had no idea that its beauty and grandeur would transform my perspective on life. In case you don’t know, Giant’s Causeway is a beach up on the northern coast that is made up of polygonal rock columns. It’s hard to explain, and it’s hard to capture in a picture as well. The pictures I have don’t convey the strong wind blowing from the water, the warmth of the sun as it bust through the clouds as soon as we arrived, or the adrenaline pumping through my veins when I was hopping and climbing on the rocks. The uniqueness of the rocks was created and transformed by strength: I could sense in the air.
For the first time in years, I felt a peace in my soul and a passion for adventure.
I realized that I hadn’t been giving myself any time to stop and appreciate both myself and the world around me. Beauty and strength had always been a part of my existence; I just hadn’t relaxed enough to let my guard down and let the positive energy flow in. I realized that my life needed to change. It took every ounce of willpower in me, but I quit my restaurant management job that I loved dearly. While I do miss my co-workers and the extra money, I am enjoying discovering a different person: myself. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity.
Not every day is great, and my stress did not magically disappear. However, I know that there is something great in store for me if I just persevere. I believe there can be something great in store for everyone. Even though the grass is truly greener in Ireland, there is power that can be found in every city and in every soul. It’s up to us to find it.