Walking into the unknown

I plopped down on my therapist’s soft, cozy couch for another weekly session after leaving my husband.

It was a sunny March afternoon in 2014. Soon I would be turning 60. My kids were grown & gone and I had finally faced the reality that our marriage was not a marriage anymore, despite many years of therapy & a couples support group. I did all I could. It was time to part.

It was very painful after 30 years to leave my home & my marriage. I felt like I lost everything and had to start all over again. I didn’t fit in with our old married friends anymore. I was suddenly single. Where did I belong now?

My therapist explained why it’s so hard to leave & enter the unknown, even when it’s the right and best thing to do. She said our brains were created to protect us from danger & harm. Long ago, humans survived in groups or tribes out in the wilderness. To leave the group and go out into the wild alone, with lions, tigers, and bears, meant certain death.

For thousands & thousands of years we humans have survived together, not alone. We were, & still are, social creatures. This is why, she explained, it is so hard to leave our group, our marriage, our home, even if it is harmful to stay.

Even though we now live in civilizations, leaving our group and what’s familiar still triggers fears of the unknown “wilderness” that we once inhabited long ago. Our brain still sends out lots of fears to slow us down, to try to protect us from danger and death, even though there is no threat of lions, tigers, and bears.

Fears can stop us from going any further
with our dreams

No wonder leaving my familiar home and marriage felt so scary and overwhelming. It also felt very freeing to be true to myself and start a new life. But it sure wasn’t easy. I had to face my fears and move beyond them, one step at a time.

I had to leave a familiar couples group, a familiar home, a familiar life, and move on to new unknown horizons; new friends, new home, new life…

New Horizons

I had to trust myself and trust I’d find a new home & make new friends and keep the old.

Social connection is vital to our survival

And, guess what, it eventually turned out better than I could have imagined.

Now, nine years later, I am pursuing the next big change in my life, the possibility of moving to Oregon, my homeland.

Mt Hood in Oregon

Once again, my brain is sending me those same old fears of entering the unknown.

However, this time I realize I’m really not alone in the “wilderness.” Thanks to the Internet and my blog, I have all of my supportive readers with me.

Your many kind, supportive responses to my recent post, “Pursuing Possibilities,” remind me how connected and similar we are. Your supportive comments are a great comfort to me as I prepare to fly to Oregon next week to explore possible places to live.

Getting ready to fly

I will keep you posted during my travels, as I continue walking into the unknown…..

Thanks for walking with me.

“Don’t let the sensation of fear convince you that you’re too weak to have courage. Fear is the opportunity for courage, not proof of cowardice.”

~ John McCain, In Search of Courage

Martin Luther King quote about fear

6 responses to “Walking into the unknown”

  1. I love that your therapist explained the fear of the unknown because once we name it, it seems so much easier to tame. And now you are doing it again with all the bravery and strength you’ve earned! Good for you! I hope your trip next week is fun and productive.

    Liked by 1 person

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