Many months ago I signed up for the Bright & Gutsy newsletter so that I could receive the free e-booklet with 33 questions (or rather, prompts) to ask your heart. The purpose of it is to sit back and really think about each question intently and answer honestly. Some questions required deep reflection and soul-searching, and some were easy.
I’ve been meaning to make myself find the time to do these, and finally this past weekend I did. Of the 33 questions, three stood out to me. Three made such an impact, and made me feel like I had such a revelation, that I had to share them.
This week, I am going to discuss each of those three. The first:
Think of a time when you felt most alive.
This was hard to answer at first. I mean sure, I have tons of great memories in my life, but not all of them made me feel really alive. So I stopped overthinking this one and went with my gut. I thought of it as moments that made me experience something so deeply that I’ll never forget it. I said to myself, gun to the head, go! Then it became easy. Three moments immediately came to mind, and they are…
Ziplining in Las Vegas
I did this during some downtime during a work trip where we traveled for a convention. I’ve always been curious about ziplining, but never would have suggested it myself. When a friend and co-worker asked if I’d go with her, I hesitantly said yes.
This was big for me because it was a brand-new experience; it’s something you rarely get an opportunity to do, and I’m afraid of heights. Not only that, but I always choose safe experiences if I have the chance. I would much rather sit quietly in a corner than do something scary or life-threatening. A risk taker I most definitely am not. But, it was just after my birthday, it was my last trip with that job in Vegas, and I went with it. I am so glad I did.
It was terrifying and exhilarating and thrilling. It’s one of those moments you have no control over, and if you can finally let yourself submit to the experience, it’s pretty incredible. I had my eyes closed for half of the trip down the line and a death grip the entire way, but I finally opened my eyes and thought it was so amazing flying over Fremont Street.
I actually can’t wait to go back and do it again.
I wish I could find the photo we took immediately afterward, but I can’t. Instead, I’ll leave you with this gem from that same night when my friends forced me to take a photo with this man. Oh Vegas!
Walking Leisurely through New Orleans with My Husband
One of the greatest feelings is having no one to answer to, no obligations, nowhere to be and all the time in the world to do whatever you want. And that is exactly what my husband and I did on our honeymoon in New Orleans.
We had only one planned activity each day so that we still had several hours each day to play it by ear. Most of the time we just walked around and took it all in. The sights, the smells, the people, the shops, the food (oh the food!). New Orleans reminded me of Europe in the sense that people have a slower pace and way of life. It just felt so relaxed in the neighborhoods we walked through (and of course busy and loud in the French Quarter, but we stayed in a different part of town, which I am grateful for).
It felt like complete freedom, and I loved it. Some times we didn’t even do anything – just laid around our B&B, soaked in the Jacuzzi, and on the last night we ordered Domino’s and watched Netflix. Because we could. And it was glorious. Funny how not having a care in the world made me feel so alive and full of happiness. What a feeling.
Traveling Solo in Fresno
Of all the work trips I went on, there was only one that I did completely on my own. I always had at least a couple other co-workers to help navigate around the city, hang out with and attend the conferences. My first trip alone was both terrifying and exciting. I had no one else to rely on. It was up to me to make sure I got where I needed to be, to mingle and network, and to represent my company. I actually had quite a bit of anxiety about it and definitely had some internal meltdowns.
I flew in to Fresno then had to find a cab to bring me from the airport to the casino 45 minutes away. I’ll admit: when the cabbie stopped at a super remote and sketchy gas station, I was convinced I was going to die. But we made it to the casino, I checked in all by myself, found my room by myself, settled in by myself, wandered around to find dinner by myself, then snuggled up and watched free HBO by myself.
The next morning when the conference started, I was feeling really anxious. I’m incredibly shy and awkward and was so used to having my co-workers as a buffer when talking to new people that doing this whole experience alone was scary. I got down to breakfast and sat by myself even though I knew I should have forced myself to make an early friend. Thankfully a few other people asked to sit with me, and they turned out to be the speakers, and they were wonderful and easy to talk to. I made new friends! OK, well they friended me but I took it!
By the end, I actually felt really empowered and proud of myself. I successfully navigated a place I had never been to, networked with new people, got all my work done, and actually had a really nice time! Having to rely on only myself definitely was a pivotal point for me and helped me grow, for sure.
These three moments that made me feel alive are very different, and I like that. The thrill of ziplining, the freedom of a laid-back honeymoon, and the independence of traveling alone, were all important moments in my life.
I also just realized that all these moments were out of my town, which I think definitely demonstrates the amazing things that can happen when you travel and broaden your horizons.
So tell me: What moments in your life made you feel alive?