I happened upon this quote the day after I bought my ticket to Argentina. The timing could not have been more perfect. I had gotten slightly dizzy and felt something close to panic immediately after clicking the purchase confirmation button. I had just committed to embark upon my first truly solo trip out of the country, to a place where I didn’t know the language or a single soul. I had no idea where I would be staying or what I would be doing. I had no tie to the culture, no connection to the country, no knowledge of its history. It was terrifying, even though it was also something I really, really wanted to do.
Rilke’s words assured me in the most beautiful way that fear is just the flip side of exhilaration, and it may even be something to relish and embrace instead of running away from. That’s exactly what happened with Argentina. I leaned into the fear, it quickly dissipated, and my trip turned out to be one of the most enlivening experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve come back to this quote whenever I need a reminder of that important life lesson. Including now, when I’m afraid I’m wasting my time attempting the impossible with this later-life-language-learning thing.
(Photo: Wordjoy on Etsy)