I recently read a quote: “F.E.A.R has two meanings: Forget Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise.” I used to follow the “Forget Everything And Run” and realize now that fear stopped me from enjoying possible new experiences.
The first time I can recall allowing fear to stop me was when I wanted to apply for a high-quality fellowship which combined volunteering, leadership development, and internships throughout Israel. This gap year program combined so many of my passions! But my fear of being away from home for a year caused me not to apply. What would my family do without me? What would I do without my family for the Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving, and birthdays? At the time, I could not imagine spending a year half-way across the world. (Although it all worked out in the end since I instead worked at Hillel at the University of Georgia where I met my future husband.)
Working at UGA in 2005-2006, I learned a lot about myself and enjoyed creating a community of my own. But before I even applied for the position in Athens, GA, I knew I would move back to Baltimore, MD for Graduate School after the 10-month fellowship ended. Returning to Baltimore was comfortable and easy and I did not want to upset my family.
Nine years later, I decided to face one of my biggest fears. A few weeks after my wedding, I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio and then two years later moved again, this time here to Charlotte. I feared starting over, living in a different community, figuring out how to build my own Jewish life, and most of all, living away from family. But as I start my fourth year away from Baltimore, I am thankful that I had the courage to face my fear and find new adventures in new places.
Megan Harkavy is the Director of the Consolidated High School of Jewish Studies of Charlotte (Hebrew High). She moved here September 2017 with her husband Andy and son Eli and loves being an active member of Temple Beth El and a part of the entire Charlotte Jewish Community.