This birthday marks an important milestone. September 3rd, I will become the age my father was when he died. I have always wondered if I would make it past that point. It looks like I will. I am grateful. Utterly, absolutely grateful.
For the past decade I have chosen to live utterly, unapologetically out loud. I have leaped and landed more times than I can count. I ask you to take one small step today. That step is towards gratitude and into living. Really living. Not taking anything for granted. Making no assumptions. Being who you are. All of you. Even the darkness. Even the bits you believe are unattractive.
It was a long journey to being and becoming and embracing who I am and living out loud without regret. It was tiny, tiny steps:
Choosing to wear something that felt good rather than caring what it looked like
Buying bubbles for myself and to share with others because it felt good
Talking to Strangers because it felt good; I am a Storyteller after all and where better to find Stories than to engage and talk to people?!
Taking photos smiling wide on those mechanical animals (you know, the ones where you pop in a quarter and they take you for a ride, often in front of grocery stores;) )
The steps got bigger!
Left an unhealthy marriage. He and I are still friends. Grateful for all we learned.
Left my full-time job to pursue my passion as a Storyteller.
Sold my home & most of my possessions to create/facilitate a volunteer literacy project.
Moved to New York City when I was 40.
Started sharing FREE HUGS with strangers in NYC, then worldwide.
Couchsurfed with strangers on 4 continents; it is safe, I am still alive and so much richer for it.
Traveled solo. Everywhere. It always worked out. I’ve made friends in so many places I never expected. Enjoyed a food festival in a tiny village in Italy because I spoke to the woman sitting next to me and she practiced her English as we shared a sandwich; then she invited me to her village, Yes, Guilia, yes!
Auditioned for TED Talks worldwide Talent Search; selected as a finalist for the USA.
Auditioned for a Storytelling Festival in Kenya; somehow got chosen.
Reality check: Bank account = relatively small. I do not own many “things” I sometimes struggle. I have no health insurance.
But…. Heart, mind and Soul = expanded beyond my dreams.
Reality Check Part Two: Darkness descended. It took all I had within to reach out and ask others to remind me of the light. Shared my Story, slowly healing came.
Found the light. Lived out loud without regret. Every experience, every conversation is an opportunity for us to learn, grow, build and believe.
What is one tiny step YOU have taken to living out loud without regret? I’d love to know!