Looking back on my life, I realise that I used to be afraid of things going wrong and worried constantly. Sometimes I was not fully aware that I was doing this but it was an undercurrent in my life. Taking the Gap Year gave me a chance to realise this.
If you think about it, we have managed to buy a boat, take it to England by road and then by water to Paris and Berlin without any major issues, with an inexperienced Captain and crew (Nuala). It all happened because we decided to take on this challenge. For once I did not let the fear of doing something which I knew was right for me but others might regard as foolhardy stop me.
Instead we decided we wanted to do it and set about planning to make it happen. Nuala was great. She has always said “feel the fear and do it anyways”! But while I had heard of the expression I never really believed in it.
There were hours of research. Could you actually get from Dover in England to Berlin by water? What size of boat would fit? How big an engine would you need? What paper work was necessary along the way? How would we manage in Germany without the language?
We planned as well as we could. We researched boats and bought the best and most suitable boat we could find at the price we could afford.We figured out the best way to get it to Dover in England and then onto Paris and Berlin. We were not afraid to ask people to help us and they did. But I had to feel the fear and do it anyway.
I found that when I took the energy and time that before I would have put into worrying and used it instead to plan and research the Gap Year project, I felt better and more confident in the project. Knowing that we had planned for so many eventualities, helped me to feel confident and keep the fear under control. This helped me form the belief that as we had planned as well as we could, that when something went wrong, we could work it out and thus, I did not slip back into fear mode.
I learned that when you are in a fearful place you make bad decisions. I started to trust that if it’s not going according to plan, it’s for a good reason. Don’t get afraid, sit down, review the situation and move in a new direction if necessary.
When you think of it, we build up a set of beliefs or rules based on what our past experiences, what society or our parents taught us. In our parent’s case, they are passing on some beliefs that their parents taught them. So many of the ideas we have may be centuries old and no longer serve us. It’s nobody’s fault but we have to examine the beliefs we have and see if they still serve us. Maybe we are afraid of something that does not exist at all when we really think about it! I certainly found this to be true.
We now still plan all the time. We have an overall plan for the remainder of the Gap Year until we return to Ireland. We meet each week and review it and adjust as needed.
There is no point in past regrets- how many other wrong decisions in the past did I make because I was not able to “feel the fear and do it anyway”. But how many lessons do we all learn and then slip back into old ways. So I keep a good eye on myself and make sure I am not slipping back into old habits.
But this time I did feel the fear and do it anyway and we have had a magnificent year!