As we come to the end of our splendid adventure and I look back at all the places we’ve been–I am reminded that every place is special. Every country and city we’ve visited has its own unique gifts to offer the world. I’m so glad that Greece isn’t trying to be Switzerland, and that Venice isn’t trying to be London. It makes me realize that I need to embrace what makes me unique too, and not worry about how it compares to what other people have going on.
As I look at these places, I don’t want them to be anything but what they are.
A Bit About Me
I was born in the unassuming town of Pocatello, Idaho. Growing up, I wasn’t gifted at athletics. My sister Natalie recently reminded me of “Field Day” at Victor Elementary School and how she would always win tons of ribbons and I would always come home with only a green participation ribbon. As we revisited this memory, it was strange to feel that the old, familiar pain of not being enough was still in there.
I didn’t fare much better in music. I tried to sing but my voice would shake. I learned to play the piano a little. Oh, but how I envied my musically gifted friends who could sing beautifully or dazzle people by playing their instrument.
And the list goes on. If I wasn’t envying someone’s talents, I was probably jealous of their hairstyle or their skin. Skin! Oh, the people with the dewey, flawless complexions. How I wanted to be one of those people.
Part of growing up means that you learn who you are, and also learn to let go of who you’re not. Over time, I have discovered that I am athletic, despite being allergic to any and all sports that involve a ball. But I love yoga, hiking, and even climbing mountains.
I have found that I have creative talents and I rejoice in those, and I’m finally glad that they aren’t the same as my friends’ talents.
I am proud of my home state of Idaho, and my travels have only reinforced for me what a special place it is on the planet.
I am learning to accept and be grateful for my body, my hair, and yes, even my skin.
I have discovered that I am enough.
Our time in Europe has shown me what it means to be authentic–and that authenticity means embracing your flaws, your age, and your story. This is true for cathedrals and castles, and it is also true for people. We visit places because of their uniqueness, not because of their sameness. And yet, as people it often feels so risky to lean in to what makes us different. I’m hoping this adventure has given me the courage to do just that.
For more reflections, visit 25 Reflections: Releasing Attachment to Outcomes.