I spent the holidays in the Middle East. Not a common destination to vacation, but where my dad is from, and a place I hadn’t ventured to in 12 years. I got a glimpse into the life I could have led, had we not moved back to the States, and returned quite thankful for the life that I’ve gotten to lead instead. I’m allowed to have a voice here, to speak my mind, to have a large say in who I choose to marry, and am even allowed to drive a car.
On this trip we left Saudi Arabia and visited Bahrain, a country that holds the Tree of Life. The tree is over 400 years old and is out in the middle of the desert, with no known water source. It isn’t logical. Its survival makes no sense. We may not be able to explain how it’s there, but it very much is there. Standing in front of that tree reminded me of how life doesn’t always make a lot of sense, and how that really is perfectly okay.
Last year I chose a word of the year, so on this trip I decided 2014 probably needed a word as well. I thought for days, not wanting to choose a word that didn’t seem to fit. The final choice? Risk. Being in a space where I realized how much choice and freedom I have at home, I realized that I needed to be risking more. Perhaps I do want to move cities and start all over, apply for a job that I don’t think I’m fully qualified for, be more vulnerable in my relationships, and ask for what I need. It’s a very common word, and yet for me it speaks volumes. If I learned anything from visiting that tree it’s that not everything makes sense, and sometimes you have to make choices not fully knowing what will become of it. But that’s kind of exciting, isn’t it?