Fans of the movie Willow will get the reference as Willow Ufgood nervously clutched his weapon, prepared to defend the prophesied infant, Elora Danan, from the approaching army, no matter that he was outnumbered, outgunned, with grim odds.
That’s my mantra going forward.
No, I’m not protecting a magical infant against an evil horde, but I’m preparing mentally and physically to undergo a change in my life that will require courage, tenacity, and faith.
When I say it’s a big thing, I’m not being dramatic.
And I’m leaving the country to have the procedure done.
My family is apprehensive but supportive.
To say I’m not nervous would be a lie.
Anything could go wrong — I could die.
Many people, before undergoing this change, make sure their will is updated, and write letters to their loved ones in the event something goes awry. I’m not sure I’m going to go that far (I’m going to bank on the power of positive energy) but I understand the purpose.
Closure is a powerful thing.
No one likes to think of complications happening but no one is promised tomorrow.
Because of this, I’ve found myself more reflective on life in general. I’ve accomplished a lot but there’s always room for bigger dreams, loftier goals, especially when you’re ambitious.
And I’ve never been short on ambition.
The next big milestone seems around the corner or in the distance but sometimes when you’re chasing dreams, that grand prize seems to remain just out of reach.
That’s how I’ve felt for some time now. I’ve spent a lot of time searching for ways to improve myself — from mentally to physically to emotionally and spiritually — and I’ve made significant progress in ways that make me proud for the journey.
But I’m just getting started and there’s still so much work to be done.
I want the second half of my life to be something of wonder, filled with happiness, love, and personal fulfilment. It’s not enough to simply plod through one day to get to the other. My kids are nearly grown. I want to travel. I want to see places I’ve never visited. I want to meet interesting people. I want to be true to myself in all ways. I want to create amazing stories that leave readers with a warm and fuzzy feeling. I want to feel free to embrace life with the abandon of a young child who hasn’t yet learned that life can be cruel.
I can’t do any of those things without the work I’ve been doing to prepare for the new me.
I’ve never been afraid of hard work. I enjoy learning how to be a better version of myself.
I’m finally ready to leap into the future without fear, trusting in the process, filling my heart with love for myself and those who have earned it, and vowing to make the second half of my life everything I wanted it to be when I was too young and inexperienced to make it happen.
So, I say again, “Courage, Willow” because something great is just around the corner.
Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide occasional columns.