Tuesday, June 11, 2013

All My Bags Are Packed, I'm Ready To Go. My Fearful Adventure Awaits.

My birthday is 09/11.

It all started then. It’s kind of funny for a woman who earned her first wings at the tender age of 8 or 9 to have anxiety on a plane, especially since I often fly coast to coast.

Why the fear of flying? 
Because in the past year, I have lost the two people I was closest to the most and I almost lost a third. Although I witnessed death firsthand (and it wasn’t as scary as I thought it’d be), I fear when my time will come.

Will all the items on the bucket list be crossed off?
Will I have made an impact?
Will I be alone or surrounded by those I love?
Will I have seen the Eiffel Tower?

Because there is “work to be done.”
I am a solopreneur and stepping away from the screen to go on vacation seems like a luxury sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. I step away to go to yoga class, I definitely get my nails done. Heck, sometimes, I even drive a car! In all seriousness, I have a fear of failing at my business because I am needed and depended upon, because I am the only one running it. It's scary and stressful and damn liberating at the same time.

Why the Eiffel Tower?
This is where the story gets good.
There are a lot of things I love in life—my family, my work (did I mention I’m a workaholic), my lifestyle, my freedom.

But I have not loved love. 

Not in the way my maternal grandparents did. 67 years, 3 kids, 5 grandkids. And the “til death do us part”---that was even true.

My grandparents were jewelers and as their granddaughter, they would often say to me in their thick, Armenian accents, “Jaclyn, why you come with no ring?” “When you are going to get married?”

And all I could say was that I refused to settle. I refused to grab the next person who came along to satisfy societal pressures or statistics. I wanted what THEY had. True love, real love, partnership, respect.

When I think of Paris, I think of love. And macaroons. And more love.

Perhaps as I examine it, I wouldn’t go to Paris. Perhaps I’d go to Bucharest, Romania--the city where my grandfather first laid eyes on my grandmother, the city where he followed her home after a soccer game to speak to her parents because he knew, upon first glance, she’d be his wife.

Bucharest was the city where my grandparents once lived lavishly and had a television. Their parents had immigrated to Bucharest and Constanza, Romania to escape Armenian persecution. Bucharest was the city my mother was born in. It was the city my mother, uncle and grandparents had to leave behind to come to America because of comunism.

They left it all, just like their ancestors had done, they started all over again and again and again. Onto Greece, then Lebanon, then Israel and finally to New York City. They even left their egos behind because survival meant that much. Well off one day, immigrants the next. It didn't matter that they were lacking in food, clothing or shelter because their love was that abundant.

Perhaps as I examine it, that’s my fear. Not taking ENOUGH risks. Not having ENOUGH faith and not having ENOUGH love.

Through several immigrations, challenges and happy times, love was the only constant that helped my grandparents survive.

And love is what we gave them as they departed on the journey to their very last destination.

I held my grandmother’s hand as she took her very last breath.
There was no boarding pass, no foreign language to learn.
There was only love, the most intense love I have ever felt in my life.
I didn't need souvenirs or post cards to remember the memories. I had them all in my heart, forever. 

Three and a half weeks later, my grandfather was headed to the same destination. He wanted to be with her. That’s where he belonged—no matter what country, what city, what language, what landmark.

Her heart was his favorite destination in the world.

And my fear is that I won’t live up to that, that I won’t get to carry on their legacy or retrace my roots or explore the city where they fell in love and started their life as husband and wife. My fear is that I won't get to have a family or love someone THAT much....so much so that I couldn't live without them.

My fear is that this fear of flying more than 5+ hours will prohibit me from roaming the streets of Paris or Romania or even Lebanon for that matter.

I know I can't live my life behind a computer screen. I know I can't be satisfied with Instagram photos or Google images of other people's adventures. My grandparents used to cruise around the world and I have wanderlust just like them! And I need to explore, I need to see what they saw, I need to fall in love with another part of the world, I need to retrace their footsteps and remember why I am even an entrepreneur in the first place, to carry on their legacy. 

Inevitably, I will get on a plane in two weeks, I will get on a plane in 6 months. But each and everytime, I will be looking out the window then staring at the interactive map on display, wishing, praying and hoping we get rerouted. I will be thinking of my grandparents and how no boarding pass in the world can bring us to meet.

And I will think of LOVE. And that, somewhere roaming the streets of Paris or Bucharest or New York City for that matter, my match is out there. And that they, my grandparents, will have a hand in our worlds colliding.

Love with a Chance of Drowning – A Memoir by Torre DeRocheThis post is part of the My Fearful Adventure series, which is celebrating the launch of Torre DeRoche’s debut book Love with a Chance of Drowning, a true adventure story about one girl’s leap into the deep end of her fears.
"Wow, what a book. Exciting. Dramatic. Honest. Torre DeRoche is an author to follow." Australian Associated Press
"… a story about conquering the fears that keep you from living your dreams." Nomadicmatt.com
"In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction." Courier Mail
Find out more…

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