Today, weak in the knees,
On Being Weak in the Knees
By: Heather Redderson
I remember the exact moment when I got off the plane in Rome. It was January 1996 and I was just beginning a long-term study abroad program in Italy. I remember the stunningly surreal realization that I was in another country... another world exploding with possibility and life. That single experience of stepping off that plane resonated in my bones. And it changed me. Forever.
Fast forward 13 years to 2009. The year I decided to throw all caution to the wind and make some changes. BIG changes. I was living the life in New York City - making money hand over fist, experiencing professional success like never before, enjoying a bevy of friends who were always up for drinks and laughs, and savoring my apartment in Greenwich Village that I had lovingly curated into my dream home. But... it wasn't enough.
Sure, it was 'enough' from society's perspective and I should have been over the moon with my success, with my surroundings. But I wasn't sleeping, I was extremely unhealthy, I was emotionally drained and constantly stressed-out and I knew something had to give. At the most random moments – while sitting in a meeting at work, while ordering another glass of wine, while waiting in line to purchase yet another expensive handbag, a memory would suddenly make me go weak in the knees and I would have to stifle a sob. It was the memory of how I felt that day I stepped off the plane in Italy. The memory of how free and how new I felt in that solitary moment in time.
And then something began to happen. Instead of pushing that memory to the back of my mind, I sat with it. I felt it. I tended to it. That single memory gave me the resolve to quit my job, to end the lease on my apartment, and to begin a journey with no destination.
The journey has been, in a word, amazing. I've had many people ask me if I came into money to fund my travels; if I had a ton of money saved before quitting my job. They are always shocked when I tell them no. There was no safety net. For some reason I just trusted that mine was the right journey and I would figure it out along the way. And I have.
My experience over the last three years has been frightening, exhilarating, freeing, emotional, and at times, overwhelming. But there is something priceless about knowing, without a doubt, that I am doing what I am meant to do and am exactly where I am meant to be... even when I don't have all the answers.
So, where am I now?
After spending the last three years traveling the world and finding a curious contentment with my life I recently moved to the UK and currently live in Devon, England. I am one month away from getting married to the love of my life whom I would never have met had I not been willing to hack out a new path and a new place for myself in this world. I am pursuing my passions for hiking, photography, yoga and simple living. I am in the germination phase of creating a yoga retreat in the UK that encapsulates all I have learned in the last three years into an experience that can be shared with others.
I am exploring.
It is no longer a memory of stepping off a plane that makes me weak in the knees. What does it for me now is life, my soon-to-be husband, a new and fascinating country to explore, and unique memories just waiting for me to find them.
Hello life. Hello marriage. Hello United Kingdom. Let's do this.
|Heather spinning prayer wheels on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal|