Change is scary! It is so easy to stay inside your comfort zone and miss out on all kinds of exciting things that life has to offer.
In 2003 I threw all caution to the wind and with a shout to the heavens of “what the hell”, I packed up my belongings, quit my job and moved to a new city where I knew no one. This may have been the most courageous thing I’ve ever done. Braver than learning to fly, even.
Actually, this sounds way more adventurous than it actually was. To tell the truth, there was a series of events that led up to this leap. I hated my job, my house finally sold after 2 years on the market, my son was out of school for the summer, I had a golden retriever and a Jeep. On top of all that, my boyfriend of two years and I broke up as I was packing up to move out of my house after it sold. I was devastated, but also primed to jump out of the rut I felt I was in and into the life I knew I could have. I knew there would never again be a time in my life when so many cards were up in the air that screamed for a big life change. I packed up my things and drove down to Charleston without a clue about what would happen next, without knowing a soul, and without a job. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I knew this was a leap I was going to take and that the net would appear.
That net did appear, but not before I hit rock bottom.
I struggled through several temporary jobs before hitting that bottom. From the bottom, the only place to look is up.
There was one particularly cold night in February where I slept in my dark living room on the floor by the fireplace, crying myself to sleep because my power had been turned off. My son had gone to live with his dad in our hometown because I could no longer provide for him, so I was all alone, with just my dog, whom I could only feed because of a generous dog food donation from a friend. I couldn’t even call anyone for help because my phone had also been turned off.
I spent almost a full year in a terrible, dark and lonely place and I realized I was doing all of this to myself. Self pity is a terrible thing. I was blaming heartbreak, but self pity was the real issue. I did a lot of deep digging in my soul that first year down here and I learned more about myself than I had ever though possible. I had been struggling with life for a very long time because I was trying to live up to perceived expectations from family and society; I had never really allowed myself to just be me. After a year of soul searching with the help of a lot of alcohol, I began to get a glimpse of who I really am and I learned to trust in myself. I also remembered that part of the reason I moved to Charleston was to change my life, which also meant my career. I had been trying to find a full time “respectable” job, but I realized that what I really wanted was a break from all of that reality. I decided to wait tables for a while, which was one of the other best decisions I’ve ever made. That made for a few fun and carefree years of living for the moment and making some really great friends.
I have often said that this worst year of my life was also the best year of my life. Maybe it was because of the extreme growth I experienced, or maybe it was just because I was living at the beach, but that year will always be a very important era in my life.
In October of 2005, around the time I really felt I was getting my life back together, I met my now husband, Ben. I cherish every step I took on that broken road. I became a mother while I was really still a child. Since I missed out on some major mental growth opportunities because of skipping college and growing up way too fast, those times were very necessary for me to become the person I am today. The person I am today is very happy to have been ready for the relationship that bloomed so beautifully into a wonderful marriage.
I’ve been toying with some changes in my life for the past couple of years. Recently, I decided to make a list of big scary steps to get me closer to some goals I have set (yes, I’m being vague on purpose). Step one was to find and buy a home that will require less maintenance so I can travel with my husband without worrying about our home. We just closed on our first home together, a modest condominium, on July 20th! My next few steps have also been set into motion, and will be revealed in a month or two. Stay tuned…
Take that leap. The net will appear, even if it looks a lot like regret in the beginning. Just trust it.
Live your dash…. Jump!