It’s hard thinking of myself as brave, but I’ve been hearing it more lately from people that see what I’m doing, and describe it as that. I definitely don’t think I’m anywhere near some truly heroic and brave acts done in the world on a daily basis. But in the context of my life and what I’ve done up to this point? Sure. It might not be grand acts of bravery, but they don’t need to be. They can be little things that, over time, add up to something great and meaningful in your life and the people you love. Things that make you brave to be who you are each day.
If I look at my schedule this year compared to others, I think this would count as the busiest year of my life. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing—like I don’t have any time to do the things I enjoy or relax. Instead, it’s been full of things that I want to do—most of which I held back because I felt like I was afraid of the responsibility or the time it would take.
At the start of this year, I really made an effort to say ‘yes!’ to more things I really wanted to do. And while I didn’t ignore the amount of time and responsibility involved in some things, I tried to put those below the positive benefits of doing them. It’s led me to be much more involved in local community projects, exploring the area I live in through photography, and traveling to new countries to get a new perspective on things.
They’ve all been incredibly useful for exploring different levels of my life: how I fit within my community, the city, and the world around it. All of these things have really pushed me to be someone I look up to, rather than depending on others to fill that role for me. And while it’s always changing, I feel braver for taking that challenge on—instead of trying to copy someone else’s life.
To distance myself from being pigeon-holed into something like that, I started by writing down the things that meant the most to me. Things like: being close to friends and family, liking the city I live in, having a tight-knit community in the city, having a good place to run outside, accessible food and drinks…
Since then, I’ve made those things a constant part of what I hold highly in my life—they’re now things that I strive to keep, and they help me decide between what I feel is important or not.