Bold is 13 states in 17 days. It’s squeezing your entire life into the impossibly small backseat of a little sedan, and making your mom ride 1,800 miles across the country with a crockpot, a stack of records, two pillows and a few books at her feet. And hoping she still loves you enough to help you unpack afterward.
Bold is shushing the adamant, resounding, nagging worry in the back of your mind—the one that’s saying, Holy shit. I live in Vermont…—for one that says, Holy Shit! I live in VERMONT! Again and again and again.
It’s not a task for the faint of heart, this disappearing into a new life at a moment’s notice. I’m not sure it’s a task for me, either, but I’m doing it.
While my mother and I were making the drive up to Vermont, I had nothing but time to contemplate my new blog endeavor—life endeavor, really—of being bold at all costs. Simply making the conscious decision to live more boldly ensures it’s constantly in the forefront of my mind, along with the wonder if I’m really living boldly enough.
My mother selflessly did most of the driving on our road trip to Vermont, and left me to gaze listlessly out the window at the slow-changing landscapes, wondering to myself where I’d find my fit within it all. I thought of all the bold choices I’ve made lately, some of them intentional, and some organic. I thought of cutting off my hair, arguably my most treasured physical attribute. I thought of packing up my belongings in mere hours. I thought of how long it’d be before I saw my family again. I thought of what it’d be like to be single, if things went that way. [Update: they did.]
My mother listened patiently, intently, as she always does. She engaged me with probing questions, wonders, worries. She listened actively, but moreover, she opened up new opportunities for conversation—conversation centered solely on me. All of this while darting through road-rage ridden Priuses, gas-guzzling trucks, lane-floating semis, and the occasional patch of rain, roadkill, and rush hour traffic. She was graceful and gracious.
My mother later went on to not only help me unpack my things and move them into my apartment, but also comforted me when said apartment was less than what I’d expected, held me as I cried like a child over all the newness, went grocery shopping for me, fixed me meals when I was too tired to do so myself, and outfitted my apartment with carefully selected, taste-matched touches of decoration to make my new place feel more like home.
All without ever being asked. All without ever asking for anything in return.
If I’m honest with myself, I admit that bold isn’t about moving anywhere at all. It’s not about leaving your family, your friends, your job, your boyfriend, your home, or your comfort behind in favor of some sight-unseen possibility. Bold isn’t about glory.
Bold is about what you do without ever being asked. Bold is about making selfless choices based on pure listening and a genuine desire to give and serve. Bold is about who you are of your own accord—bold is having the courage to be the woman your mother raised you to be, and raising your daughter to do the same.
My mother and I had a fantastic road trip together. It was something I never thought we’d get to do, but am so glad we finally did. You learn a lot about yourself when you finally relax into honest, thoughtful mother-daughter conversation, when both parties are finally able to meet and accept the oldest versions of one another. I re-met my mother that weekend. It might be the boldest thing I’ve done all year.
This Sunday, I’ll wish a happy Mother’s Day over the phone to the boldest woman of all. As she says, “You’re only as happy as your unhappiest child.” I’ve got that motto in my head these days, and I’m saying ‘yes’ to the boldness that comes with deciding to be alright.