From Our Readers
March 23, 2013 2:00 am

So many of us have that “one thing” that we have always dreamed of doing but there’s just something holding us back, something we can’t identify.

For me, that something was myself. Since I was fourteen years old I’ve been dreaming of living in France but I never took action. It was a distant dream. I’d tell myself, “it costs too much” or, “there will be time for that later, right now I have to focus on –insert excuse here-.” But what was really happening inside my head was, “What if I can’t do it? What if I fail?”

A few months ago I realized that my time was running out. Without truly realizing what I was doing I applied to study abroad in Rennes, France just a few days before the deadline because one of my friends was applying to study in Rome. Between then and now I’ve asked myself so many times, “What am I doing?”

I’m the type of person who just goes with the flow. I’m not a straight-A student; I’m not the life of the party; I’m not much of anything, just your average semi-introverted, book loving, fiendishly blogging twenty year-old college student.

The process was scary (just leaving all of my friends, family and entire life behind?) the cost was intimidating, and worst of all there was the visa process. I kept wondering why I was putting myself through such stress, to the point at which I would wake up with headaches, just for something that I could hardly even envision actually happening.

But now that I’m here, I can tell you that it was all worth it. I had to push against my own fear and resistance to get to this point, and I have to admit that sometimes it still isn’t easy, but I’m living the life that I’ve always dreamed of living.

I wake up in a French home, eat French food, attend a French university and I got myself here almost completely on my own. Most of the time I can’t even believe it.

A simple fear, the fear of failure, almost kept me from doing what I’ve wanted to do for over six years.

The fact of the matter is that the only thing holding us back from living the lives of our dreams is ourselves. If you can dream it, you can make it happen. The road may be long and hard, but there are always people who will help you along the way and in the end you’ll be able to take a step back and say to yourself, “Wow, I’m here. I finally did it. And all it took was that one push.”

That’s not to say that after you take the first step everything will be easy. I still have struggles every day with speaking in French and I haven’t made many French friends yet but I’ve been formulating conversations in my head before I go to sleep at night (if that’s what it takes!) and eventually I’ll work up the courage to talk to the students sitting next to me in the cafeteria. I know that even though it will be broken French and I might make a fool of myself the first few conversations I have the risk will prove to be worth it.

Babies don’t walk perfectly the first time they try; they start of shaky and wobbly and they fall down sometimes but with some practice and support they get the hang of it and eventually they’re walking pros. Where would you be now if as a baby you didn’t attempt to walk because you were afraid of falling?

We’re all like children when we try something new, something scary. Sure, you won’t be perfect and maybe things will go wrong sometimes but in the end at least you’ll be able to say you did it.

So don’t hold yourself back anymore! Take the risk and just do it, whatever it is that you’ve been holding yourself back from doing. You’ll never look back and regret making an attempt to achieve your dreams and in the words of former president FDR, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

You can read more from Holly Giovengo on her blog.

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