India trip notes part 2
My good friend Suzanne is a world traveler. She’s become a role model to me as someone who has had extraordinary dreams and achieved them, so it’s fitting that a conversation with her was the catalyst that started to make my dream actually begin to take form. We were talking about our travels one evening and I brought up the fact that I’d always wanted to see the Taj, to which she posed a simple little question: “Why don’t you just go?” I responded with plenty of reasons why I couldn’t “just go,” after all, I’d spent the last 20 years coming up with very good reasons not to go.
“Heather wouldn’t want to go,” I said, logically.
“Well, you could go by yourself. If this is important to you, I know she would support you doing it,” Suzanne logically replied.
She was right. Actually, supporting each others dreams is a hallmark of our marriage. I knew very well that this was no obstacle at all.
“It’s too expensive,” I said.
“You could save up,” she replied.
Now, I’ve never been good at saving money—like NEVER—but if this is as important as I say it is, why couldn’t I make it a priority and just save money to do it? Damn! My very good reasons are withering in the light of Suzanne’s dogged optimism. Her absolute refusal to accept my self-imposed limitations was starting to get annoying! In actuality, I was annoyed with how easily the excuses I thought were serious obstacles were not holding up once exposed to the world outside my mind. I mean, do I want to do this or don’t I? What’s the real reason I’m not pursuing this with more vigor? It’s an interesting experience talking to someone who’s done what you want to do, especially when that someone is a friend who believes in you. Reasons for NOT doing seem to fall hollow on their ears—they know your impossible dream is anything but impossible. That’s what was happening here. Suzanne’s view was simple: if this is your dream, do it. Most annoying indeed! Eventually, my annoyance was replaced by serious introspection. What were the actual obstacles lying beneath my lame excuses? In the hours, days, and weeks after our conversation, I continued to ponder these questions, and (unbeknown to me at the time) a teeny, tiny door opened just slightly and a brilliant light of possibility shone through the crack. This was the light I needed to see the opportunities to come.
My boss called me into her office and gave me my next work assignment: a project in Jakarta, Indonesia. I would be there for 2 1/2 weeks. Cool. While I’d been to Jakarta before, this time was different somehow. It was the light. Instead of seeing a mere business trip, I also saw it as a possible vehicle to achieve my dream. When I talked to Heather about the trip, she suggested I just add on time at the end and go to India. In all my travels over the past decade, this was the first time she’d ever suggested I add to a trip. That’s the funny thing about the light of possibility—it activates people in your world who love you and want to see your dreams come true. Heather, who knows the workings of my heart better than anyone in the world, has become an expert at seeing this light in me even when my door is closed and bolted. Now that it had been opened a crack, it was like a blaring alarm to her. She responded with the perfect amount of encouragement, as usual. My heart raced. Could I actually do this? I kicked open the door of possibility and bathed myself in its empowering light. With my new mindset, a new work assignment putting me in the region, and Heather’s loving support, there was only one thing left to do: plan!