Something big happened last Thursday. It wasn't the first time it's happened in the past year, but it felt bigger. I cried. I cried out of complete and utter fear, blended with relief and joy and excitement and more fear.
Truth: I'm more scared now than I've been in the past decade. Despite giant life-shifting changes- my family structure coming undone and then being rebuilt in a new way, finding Crossfit, losing weight, moving, falling out of or into love, rediscovering my passion for music, quitting my old job, finding a new one- I haven't felt as much like I've been "staring down the bottom of a barrel" until now.
Almost 30 days ago, I wrote about taking a new "day job" and leaving my old one that had grown to be unfulfilling and not the challenge I needed or was looking for. "30 Days of Freedom" was the title of my experiment in being told not to come back to my office, but having time before starting my new position. And 30 days came and went quickly. Lots of self-discovery and soul-searching. And, if I'm honest, sleeping in, taking naps and doing under-attended-to life chores. Not a whole lot of earth-shaking, live-like-you-were-dying kind of stuff. And I couldn't figure out why. But then I did.
Nothing big was happening or being accomplished because, as I've felt for the past several years, I was still "under the gun". Still a slave with invisible chains to a life I never dreamed of or wanted. Working for someone else, doing something that I was invested in for the money, but for little else. In the 8 years since I graduated college, I've watched lots of friends make the same decisions as me- "the path mostly traveled" and I don't think any of them are necessarily UNHAPPY. But I've also watched a handful of friends take the path LESS traveled. Sure, they've spent some nights in their parent's basement guest room. They've surfed couches in foreign cities (or countries). They sure as heck haven't spent $200 a week at Whole Foods, and at times probably lived off of home grown zucchini and not much else (the grown up equivalent to ramen). Those friends have called me wondering how they'd pay a bill. But they've also called me to tell me they're going to <fill in the blank exotic place>. They call to say they've fallen madly in love with the girl/guy of their dreams. That they're starting their own business. That they're the opening act for a major stadium tour. That they're nominated for a Grammy. That they're doing some pretty, crazy, insane epic shit.
I've always fake pitied this life. "Who wants those kinds of extremes?" I'd ask myself. And I'd go back to faking contentment with my 8-5 job, building excel spreadsheets that were entirely meaningless to me, pulling in my mid-level salary with little to no promotion potential, and cook the same dinner every Monday through Friday.
Something happened with my new job that was going to push back my start date and I went into a panic. "What if I don't have a job? How will I survive? How will I feed my kid? Pay my rent? Shop at Whole Foods?". I was tail spinning. Shaun looked at me and started listing the ways I would be ok. He started listing the imaginary businesses I've been talking and dreaming about for almost a decade. The record I've poured my entire heart into that I'm getting ready to release. The menial, but flexible, odd jobs I could create or take to skate by. I sat there as he talked, unconvinced of any of this being "ok". And then he said, "But, it's fine. Because everything's going to be ok. You're going to start at your job. They'll call you and tell you everything's fine."
That. That moment. I walked into my kitchen where Shaun was making lunch from my laundry/dining/storage room and stared at him.
"You don't want to get that call...do you? You don't want it to be ok."
He was right. For the first time in my life, Plan B, though really shiny, and promising and well-compensating, was not enough. The idea of trading one 8 to 5 for another, the idea of waking up to go to work to make someone else on a higher floor in a corner office more money, the idea of further postponing my own wants and needs and dreams, was NOT OK.
So, on Thursday, I boarded a flight to revisit "home" (Cape Cod) from Nashville with my parents. Sure that they would tell me to be reasonable and responsible, I looked at my mom and dad with tears in my eyes and said simply, "I don't want to do this anymore". The "this" I'm referring to: Faking it, walking through life fearfully, feeling lifeless or purposeless or scared, doing enough to get by but never enough to feel amazing.
Me: "I want to be my own boss. I want to work for myself."
My Mom, My Dad, my friend, my trustees: "Well...yeah. Duh. Do it. It's about time."
And now I'm here. I've chosen plan A after almost a decade of plan Bs. And I'm terrified. But I'm ecstatic. I wake up feeling more and more like myself everyday. And, because I'm not chained by an invisible master anymore, some epic stuff has ALREADY started happening. I'm ALREADY regularly living like I was dying...except, I'm not dying. I'm living. For the first time in what seems like a lifetime.
Since you're probably wondering, what's plan A look like? Plan A looks like a lot of really cool stuff I'm passionate about partnered with a lot of other really cool stuff I'm passionate about:
So, there you have it. Terrified? Completely. But excited. I've often asked myself what I want to REALLY do, but I've never had the "means" to do it. And you know what? I still don't. I have NO idea how a lot of the details will fall into place. But I know they will. I know it, in my soul, the same way I knew I didn't want to get the call that "Plan B" was going to work out.
More than anything, I feel privileged (and frightened...are you sensing a theme?) to share this journey with you all. The possibilities are limitless. And for the first time in a LONG, long time, I have so much hope and excitement for the future.
Thank you for sharing my life, believing in me...and my plan A. :)