I’ve always been someone that likes to push the limits. From lifting heavier weights and holding a plank a few seconds longer to natural childbirth and single parenting to public speaking and starting my own business. My dad has even nicknamed me ‘bull dog’ and I love it. Building some gritty mental strength to keep things just a liiiiittle uncomfortable is so important to me. I can be an over-thinker at times and pushing outside my comfort zone is one way I’ve found to combat paralysis analysis. Will power is much like a muscle and it’s important to challenge it in new ways and prove to yourself that there are no limits if you choose to believe so.
My most recent limit pushing adventure included taking my two kids on vacation solo. My vacation must haves included a state side destination, warm temperatures and the ocean. A good friend helped me narrow down some options and we landed on Orlando, Florida. I was a bit reluctant to book inland but very few (read: none) beachfront properties let you book for less than a week during the springtime months. The solution became to rent a car, a convertible, because YOLO, and happily take a day trip or two to catch some sun and the ocean breeze.
The planning, preparing and packing were all underway and our trip was in motion. We flawlessly navigated parking, security and airport lines with a thankfully uneventful flight. Once we arrived in Orlando we took a tram to the baggage claim, got our luggage and made our way to the rental car counter. I pridefully handed the woman my credit card and license and couldn’t wait to hit the road in our rental convertible, a love that’s followed me since childhood.
“Ma’am, do you have another license?” the lady behind the rental car counter asked.
I laughed to myself. Do I look like someone that’s trying to pull something over with my two young kids as my trusty side kicks?
“No I don’t. Is there a problem?” I asked.
“Well your license expired on your birthday two weeks ago so I can’t rent you a car. Is there another adult in your party?” she offered.
I pleaded, asked very nicely and then did a little begging with no such luck. My heart sunk as I rewrote our trip plans in my head. The kids and I took a cab to the hotel until I could figure out what to do.
Grocery delivery services and Uber quickly became the unsung heroes of our vacation. There were many inconvenient moments but the kids kept great attitudes all week long but still I was determined to get us to the beach. I felt claustrophobic almost, being so close to the ocean yet feeling so far away. With no option to rent a car, a friend in the area to give us a lift or direct bus route we took to Uber once again.
After an hour ride that cost more than I care to admit, we made it to the beach. We jumped out of the car and ran for the ocean. The smell in the air, the sun on our face, the waves crashing at our feet made every single bit of effort and obstacle worth it. It was the most perfect day and I couldn’t have imagined anything more magical. I will never forget the memories we created that day.
24 hours after our toes were in the sand, as the Covid outbreak quickly unfolded, we made it home safely before the country shut down. Was traveling with two kids solo stressful? Yes. Were there moments that would have been easier if there was another adult or two there? Yes. Were there parts I had to bite my tongue and check my attitude? Yes. BUT we did it. We stuck together, navigated curves as they were thrown at us and made the most out of our time away together.
My grit was expanded, my mindset challenged and my self confidence boosted.
How do you approach hard things? What things do you do to step outside your comfort zone? What have you proven to yourself lately that you are proud of?
You are capable of incredible things, my friend. All you need is a little bit of courage and I know you’ll be proud of what you’re able to prove to yourself. You are far stronger than you realize.