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  • It took me almost three decades of living to figure out that my biggest fear in life is not spiders.

    What I actually fear most is having a really short obituary. I don't want my life to be summed up in just a sentence or two about where I worked or who I married. I don't want to be so forgettable.

    Once I realized this, I got very listless and wanted to do something, anything, to change course on my comfortable but dull life. In September 2009, at the age of 28, I donated most of my belongings to charity and left California for New Jersey. Why Jersey? It sounds a little silly now but I love the music that comes out of that state. Between Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, I just felt that if there was a place that could turn out so many highly-talented individuals with such interesting stories to tell, then I wanted to see that place. So I went.

    The funny thing about adventures is that they don't always turn out the way you expect them to. I knew moving cross-country would be difficult but I didn't know exactly how much I'd lose, or gain.

    I didn't know that through injury, canceled unemployment benefits, and my then-husband's desire to stay in Florida with his mother, I would end up spending 4 months living in my Jeep during one of Jersey's worst winters. I didn't know that I'd lose the support of almost all of my family and friends because they didn't understand why I'd left my middle-class life in the first place. I didn't know what it was like to wonder if I'd make it through the night.

    Then again, I also didn't know how kind complete strangers could be; how much beauty can be found in everyday moments when you have nothing to do but observe. Or how truly blessed I am, even when it might not look like it at first. I now know who I can really count on. I know what's important to me and I see the value of fighting for your dreams even if you're the only one who sees any sense in them at all.

    It might sound like a grisly train wreck of an ordeal, and parts of it were, but things got better and that one risky undertaking started me down a path that I wouldn't trade a single second of. I might end up getting myself killed on one of my adventures but at least if I do, they'll have something to write about me beyond "Was born, got married, died."
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