Discovering a superpower
One of the things I most enjoy about London is traveling on the tube. I love having appointments and places to go out and about in the city that require me to take it.
I love swiping my Oyster card and navigating the station and finding my platform without studying the map and getting on the right train on the first try. I love finding a seat and adopting that oh so nonchalant-ness as I take it, cross my legs, and look bored.
I do this every day my face says. Just like all the other Londoners.
I’ve been trying lately to pay attention to these things. Even the littlest things that I enjoy. It’s no wonder as I work my way through all this change and have spent a lot of my time, well, less than joyful.
I’ve been thinking too though, not just about what I enjoy but also why it brings me joy.
For instance, what is it about moving through a sometimes-intimidating system of crowded, noisy, often dirty trains and stations that I love?
Well, I didn’t grow up in a big, congested city where public transportation was necessary or readily available. I didn’t learn how to take buses or trains and neither did most of the people around me. I grew up riding in cars in places that were mostly built for them with wide roads and big parking lots and driveways. So did most of the people around me.
And while I know that having Google maps has made things infinitely easier, to many people especially in the US, especially in the suburbs, a train is still a foreign thing. Uncomfortable. Scary even. So, mastering it feels pretty good.
It feels really good, in fact. You feel smart and confident and strong and capable.
Which is how I discovered that this is my superpower.
Not taking the tube, of course, but finding my way through situations that many others find foreign, uncomfortable, and scary. I’ve done it many times – with education, with work, with relationships, with homes, with money, with traveling and adventures.
I love reminiscing about these experiences and having people exclaim oh, I could never do that! Oh, wow, you did that?! Then I adopt my nonchalant tube face and say, yeah, it’s no big deal.
But it is a big deal!
Or I guess that I do it despite it being a big deal is the big deal.
It’s not that it’s somehow easier for me, in fact, in a lot of ways, it’s probably harder. But I don’t really think about it like that. I just decide I’m going to do something – or perhaps, that I’m not going to let anyone tell me I can’t do it – and sort of figure it out as I go.
Obviously, there is all kinds of psychology behind it some of which I understand and some of which I may not, but the point I’m making here is that realizing this helped change my whole perspective about what I’m currently living through.
For one thing, I had confidence somewhere along the way, that I could figure this out, and realizing that is pretty cool. But it’s also that I’ve done this lots of times before and after it all – even the hard stuff – I don’t just survive, I thrive.
It takes away a little of the anxiety in the tougher moments.
When I can still somehow know in my gut, I got this.
Anyway, this week then, in honor of my discovery and of my 45th birthday on Tuesday, I’ll share some throwback pictures of the somewhat uncomfortable and scary adventure I had on my 40th birthday: hiking the iconic Half Dome in Yosemite National Park!
After fourteen long, hot miles, we came to our destination.
If you're wondering, yes, this was the moment when I nearly changed my mind that I could do it.
But if this kid can do it, I told myself, you better believe I'm going to do it.
The views of the insanely beautiful Yosemite Valley from the top - as it so often does - helped make it all worth it.