Getting Out of My Own Way

I have always thought of myself as an adventurous person. I have never enjoyed sitting still and I enjoy trying new things and exploring. I love being outdoors in nature and a little bit of adrenaline. That being said, I would like to emphasize that I wrote that I like just a little bit of adrenaline. Not too much at any point. I like being in control.

After Mike died I realized I never really had all the control I thought I had. I had to go the flow. I had no control over the most important part of my life and I didn’t have the motivation or reason to try to gain it in other parts either.

I also understood the cliché that life is short. I realized that my life could be over at any point and I questioned if I was really experiencing it the way I wanted. I constantly asked myself: Would I be satisfied with myself and what I’ve done if my life ended today? My answer was often ‘no.’ I found that in many areas I was so cautious that I wasn’t really experiencing what I wanted to experience. I was so afraid of failing, or being embarrassed, or hurting myself that I held myself back and didn’t allow myself to fully enjoy the experiences I wanted. I was living but not to my full potential. I didn’t want to do that anymore. I figured that I would rather have a life lived to the fullest then have a long cautious life full of nothing. What’s the point of being alive until you’re old if you never really lived? It seemed all of a sudden like such an obvious waste.

So I started to make an effort to get out of my own way. I accepted my nerves and anxiousness and pushed myself out of my comfort zone to do the things I wanted to do. I told myself that I am capable and I can do it.  Some things were baby steps and some things were diving right in. For example, I have snowboarded for years but would constantly stop myself to slow down even though I had the skills to go faster. I pushed harder and challenged myself in all the things I enjoyed. It was exhilarating. I realized I was previously stuck in a middle ground of doing things but not fully doing them for years. It wasn’t until I started pushing and challenging myself a bit that I realized how amazing it all was and what I had been missing. I’m glad I took the risks.

Now, fast forward to today. David and I are going to Hawaii next month. We have all sorts of adventures we want to do while there. One of them in scuba diving to see the aquatic life. So this past weekend we started our scuba diving certification course. We finished the first of three weekends. It brings back many of my previous cautious tendencies. Despite previously completing my lifeguard qualifications and knowing I can do it, I have never been relaxed with  water. It is so powerful and scary. But here I am with this equipment on my back at the bottom of a pool learning how to dive. Soon I’ll be doing it in a lake and then next I’ll be doing it off the coast of Hawaii. It is still something that scares me a bit but also something I know I want and can do. It’s these moments that I’m grateful for my mindset that I have gained from my experience. Learning how to scuba dive is something I’ve always wanted to do but it is not something I would have previously done. I would have found all the reasons why I shouldn’t or couldn’t and let those win. Now I find all the reasons why I should. I’m trying to live my life the way I want to. I can’t see any other way to do it anymore and I’m glad.


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  • courtney Carolan
    commented 2018-07-05 20:54:09 -0700
    This brings me to tears! I hope all the happiness is with u! Mike is! N David as well! Xoxo
  • Karin Pearson
    commented 2018-06-12 11:52:00 -0700
    I’m not on FB, Olivia, but Stephanie is, so if things change you can reach out to her. Have a great trip!
  • Olivia Arnold
    commented 2018-06-12 05:03:49 -0700
    Karin, that’s great you have a group out there. I wasn’t planning on going to Kona unfortunately :( It would have been nice to meet up. I’m not sure how to privately send you my contact info in case something changes. Maybe find on fb?
  • Karin Pearson
    commented 2018-06-07 15:21:14 -0700
    Good for you, Olivia! You can do anything because you have already survived the worst thing that could happen to you. And thanks for coming to Hawaii, we need the tourism. If you get to Kona, I’d love to meet you & I know my friend Stephanie, the previous Thursday writer, would too. We have a small group of widow friends that enjoy each other’s company. Great post!