Cliche´, I know, but an oft ignored one. As human beings, we crave stability and like to avoid our fears.
However, today, September 3, 2013, is the day I finally acted upon it.
These two elements of stability and fear often get in the way of us reaching for what we desire most, be it a career, a move, the end of a relationship, the decision to marry or have children; in essence : change. Change can be quite scary. Our emotions lie heavily in our routines. When disrupted, for better or worse, we feel something. And change is an upheaval of our cherished routines. Change may require us to rethink what our stability has been over a period of time and often face our greatest fears.
Because we want to be stable, and we fear what may happen if we go ahead and leap toward the unknown. So, we wait until it's the right time. And we continuously bargain with ourselves; if this, then that. If I save enough, I will ... Once I have my life together I will ... Before I turn 40 I will ...
The problem is there is never a right or a wrong time, and we waste years waiting for the right time to present itself. Sitting on a porch at 80 wondering what might have been.
In my 20s, it was much easier to run unabashed into the unknown. I had tons of time before I had to grow up and worry about retirement or my path in life. As I entered my 30s, I had a little more hesitation but still possessed extreme wanderlust. Now as I stare down the imminent transition to 40, I am downright frozen, wondering why I was so stupid at 24. It has gotten harder and harder to make bold moves, romantic moves, dream moves. Because I have real bills and an empty savings account.
Seven years ago I enrolled in art school. I was nine years post college and a degree, but I craved, I yearned, I KNEW I wanted to be a photographer and an artist. I knew everything to that point in my life was leading up to what I had wanted to do as a kid but never tried. I was trepidatious because I was so much older and starting so late, when a very wise woman told me "You are going to be 35 someday, you are going to be 40 someday, you are going to be 50 someday. You are heading there eventually, so why not be doing what you love when you get there? Just start. Just chase your dream. It won't matter how old you are. Only that you never tried."
I lasted a semester and a half because fear took over. I can assure you, looking back, if I had stuck through it, I would be seven years ahead of where I am now. And that SUCKS.
Because I was too afraid to leap.
For the past six years I have put my life on hold in a boring, unfulfilling and toxic job with no prospects of advancement because I thought this was what I had to do in order to prepare myself for living the life I wanted. I couldn't just walk away until ... I couldn't pursue my dreams until ... I had to wait until ...
All the while dying inside. And never really getting anywhere. And certainly not living the life I fantasized about daily. There was NO WAY I was going to live that life until I stopped the nonsense, faced the fear and LIVED that life.
So. Today I let go of the stability of a paycheck. I stared fear in the face and leapt. I walked away from that job because another single hour working there was an hour preventing me from being who I wanted to be. And BELIEVE ME, I am not sitting on a pile of money or have a spouse who can carry the weight of the bills. So, yes, yes, you can, too.
I have all of the faith in the world that I am talented. That I can hustle. That I can make it work. And for the first time in years, I am infinitely happy. As of today, I am doing what I really, really love. Full-time. All the time. Instead of answering the dreaded "what do you do" question with I manage a wellness center, but I am trying to be a photographer, too. I can happily say "I am a photographer." And leave it at that.
It took me far too long to learn what I am now telling anyone who will listen : "It will never be the right time. Your passion, your health and your dreams should always come first."
So stop waiting. Do it. Do it now.
Because, hey, there is no day like today.