I’ve always been one to have a plan. Always knowing what’s next, living without surprises, and having it all mapped out. Call it dull or lame, but it’s this non-spontaneous lifestyle that has gotten me to where I am today. I’ve taken the ‘safe’ route time and time again, settling for what seemed like the rational thing to do, even if it mean turning something down I was passionate about. Some of this can be attributed to how I was brought up, but a lot of it is based in fear. Fear of failure, fear of disappointing myself and those who have put their faith in me, and fear of the unknown.
Finally, after 23 years, I’m throwing caution to the wind and I’m facing my fears, breaking away from the routine, and doing the craziest (and probably best) thing I’ve done in my life so far.
Those of you who are close to me – or at least have spoken to me outside of ‘the Pants’ – know that the past several months have been a whirlwind for yours truly. Online, I (we) have managed to create an amazing community here on the blog, 50 of us gathered together for the Inconvenience of Change series, and I’m working on writing my first book. Offline, in the ‘real world’, I’ve been deriving a master plan to pack my bags, leave my home town of Nashville, and start the next chapter of my life with my fiance in Chicago.
Many of us have been through moves – but living in a new place isn’t what I’m afraid of. It’s what I’m leaving behind, the memories, friends, and family. It’s not knowing what the future has in store for me, wondering what the hell I’m going to do with my life once I get there, that scares me to death.
Last week I put my two weeks notice in at my current employer, and here I am, one week away from packing up my things and heading north, face-to-face with unemployment and a very limited amount of savings to my name. It’s something I never wanted to or planned on doing. In fact, it’s something I’ve spoken out against in the past, calling it ‘stupid and senseless‘. After spending months networking, several trips to Chicago for interviews, and having sent a countless number of resumes and cover letters for jobs of all different shapes and sizes – I still (so far) have nothing to show for it. That recession everyone has been talking about? It’s real. Very real.
On top of that, I’m getting mixed support from my family here in town. They are the ‘voice of reason’ telling me that I should take things slow, spend more time planning, and be ‘realistic‘. Maybe they’re right – maybe it is crazy. I don’t have an argument other than ‘this is what I want to do‘. But isn’t that a hell of an argument? Isn’t life about doing what you want even if it doesn’t make the most sense? Even if it seems completely crazy and there are a millions reasons why you shouldn’t?
It’s not easy for me to leave this part of my life, the only life I’ve known for the past twenty-three years (ehem, that would be since birth for those of you trying to guess my age). It’s hard to say goodbye to it all. But I understand that in order to build toward my future, I have to break away from the past.
To say this has tested my will 100 times over would be an understatement. It’s been insanely stressful. I’ve doubted myself and my decisions over and over again. But I continue to learn more and more about who I am and what I am capable of. To quote American Beauty, “It’s an amazing thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself”. I am doing just that, surprising myself, learning what ‘living to your full potential‘ really means.
I wish I had a noble conclusion – some eloquent parting words to sum it all up. But if there is one thing all of you can take away from this, one ‘moral’ to my story, it’s have faith in yourself. Believe in yourself and what you want to do. Only YOU can say what’s best for you. We all have passions that go unrealized because we’re afraid to leave our comfort zones. We’re afraid that we might fail. And you know, you very well might. I’m stepping outside the box and making myself vulnerable. Odds are, it won’t all go according to plan – but I have faith, and that faith is supported because I know I’m giving it my all. I remain vigilant in my career search, I continue to network, I pray, and through it all, I make time for myself, my writing, building relationships and continuing to grow this community. I might fail, in fact, I already have – but failure makes you tough, it inspires you to try that much harder next time, it breeds success!
I’m happy. I’m nervous and scared as hell. But I’m happy. And in the end, that’s all that matters. When it’s all said and done; after I save the world, get the girl, and the dust settles, I want to be standing on top of Bowser’s castle knowing that I lived life on my own terms. Played by my own rules. Achieved what everyone told me I couldn’t achieve.
Life is a crazy thing, but every day I learn to appreciate it a little more. Upset the established order you’ve created. Be in the moment. Live without a plan and without restrictions. After all, isn’t that what life without pants is all about?