By Kim Lowman
Wellness Program Manager
There’s a bridge in Rhode Island that connects Portsmouth to Bristol where my son attended college. I don’t like bridges. I’d rather a tunnel any day. This bridge is the scariest bridge I have ever driven on. It barely has sides and its old, shaky, steep, very high and at least 4 miles long. Although my son says I exaggerate and it’s more like a mile long. Either way, in my mind ’s eye, I could be catapulted off it at any minute by some strong rogue wind gust. Yes, an irrational fear but very real to me. It’s called The Mount Hope Bridge. The first time I drove over it I was not expecting it to be there…it literally looms up ahead without warning as you drive through a residential neighborhood. There it is. And there is no turning back. Sort of like Life. Boom—deal with it! I was shaking and very anxious that first trip over the Mount Hope Bridge and frankly, every time I drove over it for the following 4 years. Did it get easier? Not really, but oddly I started to look forward to that “scare” because I felt like I was meeting a challenge every time I traveled across it. Facing a fear. Staring it down. Plus I had no choice if I wanted to visit my son, unless I took an hour and a half detour to avoid the bridge (which I considered many times).
Isn’t that what life is sometimes? A bridge that connects us to where we want to go, that may be a little scary and gives us no warning and can feel shaky, steep, high and four miles long. But, doesn’t it feel great when we meet a challenge or face a fear? What if we embraced 2019 with a new outlook and challenged ourselves to start living life to the fullest and to start crossing more bridges. Not literally… but metaphorically. What if we stepped outside our comfort zone and tried new things that may scare us a little? Complacency isn’t very fulfilling. There is no growth with standing still. Perhaps there is a new skill you want to learn that can open new doors for opportunity. Maybe there is a lifestyle change you have been avoiding because it seems overwhelming. Do you have a talent you are keeping secret for fear of failure? Did you make a bucket list once upon a time that you put aside? Is there a person you haven’t seen in a long while or a relationship in disrepair that needs attention? Ask yourself if you are willing to face a fear or will you be taking the detour.
January 1st is one of my favorite days of the year for two reasons. The first reason is that the days are getting just a wee bit longer and the skies just seem bluer and second is that it feels like a fresh start with endless possibilities ahead. The Mount Hope Bridge is no longer part of my life…but I am grateful that it was for so many years. Conquering that bridge led me to be able to cross an even scarier bridge- The Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Again, no choice as my older son got married on the other side! And that bridge truly is 4 miles long! I am guessing there are more bridges ahead. Maybe not as scary…but I know if I want to live my life, I am going to have to continue crossing them. I want 2019 to be a year of growth and possibilities and I hope you will join me.
Happy New Year!