Twice in my life others called me courageous. Both times I believe courage and foolishness were a flip of a coin. I was in high school the first time someone called me courageous. My senior year was ending and a teacher pulled me aside and complimented me on the courage and integrity I displayed a few years earlier for admitting my participation in an unsanctioned party at the superintendent’s house (his son was in my class). I was the only one among many on the athletic code to admit my wrong. The athletic director dragged in student after student for questioning; it was a virtual witch-hunt until I gave myself up. My status as the principal’s daughter seemed to satisfy “the executioner” (i.e., the superintendent) and all questioning ceased. After that, my parents saw to it that I had the social life of a rock. Many times during those years I debated whether I showed courage or foolishness taking the fall for everyone.


 I was giving my notice to leave PATH the second time someone called me courageous. I spent the last 7 years working at PATH building my experience in public health. I carved out a niche role within my teams and made life-long friends. Chris and I enjoy our comfortable life with a terrific dog, great friends and family, paid-off cars, a low mortgage, and no real debt. Thus, giving it all up to travel around the world could be considered foolish. We debate every night whether we are showing courage or foolishness.


 Like the last time someone called me courageous, I hope years later I will look back on this time and recognize we were courageous, but only time will tell . . .

One Response to “Courage or foolishness—two sides of the same coin”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    A lovely post. I so relate to your feelings. We had so many people basically tell us we were nuts before we left, and I second guessed myself just about every day. It’s hard to give up the certainty of a comfortable life for the great unknown. But big risks almost always equal big rewards. Be brave!