For a while now, I’ve been writing about how to change your life so you can have all the freedom and fulfillment you’ve been craving. The only reason I have anything to say about it is because I’ve walked through it. Many times. Since I’m here, asking you to let me be a part of your journey, it seems only fair that you know how this came to be.
Here’s some of my story…
The Churning Waters of Change
Change has been a constant companion in my life. Many times, I’ve been the creator of this movement. I need the refresh, new scenery and experiences. I’ll flit from interest to interest, looking for something else that captures my attention, after I’ve had my fill of the most recent one. Travel, writing, playing competitive softball, psychology, spirituality, and photography, are just a few interests I’ve had over the years. It would take pages to list all the different elements of life that have tugged at my curiosity!
When I was younger, I didn’t understand this aspect of my personality very well. I thought there was something wrong with me because I just couldn’t seem to stick with anything long-term. Every time I would switch majors in college or get a new job, I’d think, “This is it! I’ve found my thing!’ Because everyone has a thing, right?
This need for change and variety caused a great deal of anxiety. I’d feel that rumble starting deep inside and that little voice would start whispering, “Nah, this isn’t the thing. It’s time to move on.” Ugh. Here we go again. I would prepare myself for the judgement and critical questions from others. “Well, NOW what are you going to do?”
Eventually this would lead me to switch jobs, doing something completely different. Every time I would update my resume, it felt like trying to put a puzzle together with half the pieces missing. There’s no way I can count how many times I got the question, “So what is it that you really want to do?” in job interviews. “I’m not sure. I want to explore, and I’m still searching for my thing.” didn’t seem like an appropriate response, so I’d make up some bullshit I thought sounded believable. And then I’d wonder, “Yeah, what do I want to do?” Again, still searching for my thing.
Burning Down the House
When I didn’t listen to that voice soon enough, it usually ended in total destruction. I’d light the torch and burn down that part of my life and start rebuilding from the ashes. While the liberation was necessary, this wasn’t the ideal way to handle these situations. It seemed the door needed to be slammed shut and locked before I could feel the freedom to dive into the next thing. Part of this was because I was still fumbling in the dark, and if that door was left open, there would be a temptation to return to something familiar and safe.
Over time, I wised up and started to see my patterns. When the rumbling started, I knew what would happen if I didn’t do something about it. I learned to listen to myself and my intuition. This part of me was still a mystery, but at least I was beginning to understand its power. It couldn’t be stopped. No amount of “sticking it out” ever fixed the problem. Things always just got worse. This part of me would burn the house down if change didn’t happen.
The Ultimate Showdown
In 2012, I did the scariest thing I’ve ever done. You may have heard me talk about it, because it was a pivotal moment in my life. The rumbling was happening, and it was getting LOUD! I didn’t want to listen.
My job was miserable, but I’d made it! I’d achieved success! Isn’t that the trade off? You get to check all the boxes and have the money you want (because that’s what we’re told it’s all about) and you basically hate your job, which bleeds over into your life. The vast majority of what I’d seen around me seemed to confirm this story. Why was I so desperate to run? Why couldn’t I just get with the program?
Long story short, a series of events pushed me to the crossroads. That’s one of the funny things about Life. If you don’t take the action required to find your truest path, Life will take matters into her own hands. I was faced with the choice of compromising my desire for more freedom and personal values or keeping this job. I chose myself and my happiness.
Walking out of the building on my last day was completely surreal. I had no job lined up, no idea what the fuck I was going to do next, I just knew I couldn’t do this anymore. I’d been preparing for this over the last six months, so I had a little time to figure it out. Basically, I’d just torched my golden ticket to the life the world told me I was supposed to spend my days chasing. Fuuuucccckkkk…. Now what?!
Disrupting the Patterns
What happened next? I survived. I figured it out. One step at a time, I found my way. My life started coming together in ways I NEVER would have guessed. Opportunities showed up for me, and I took them. I learned to listen to myself and follow the signs of life.
Now, when things start to feel like a struggle, I back off and find what flows with more ease. This means a life of constant uncertainty, only focusing on the next right step, and trusting more than I ever imagined I was possible. It’s so fucking challenging, but I wouldn’t change a bit of it because it also means adventure, wonder, surprise, and following my heart.
How do I manage to sleep at night? How do I keep from totally losing my shit everytime something goes awry or the path forward seems totally unclear? After that final torch, the one thing that has helped me constantly look my fear in the face and keep moving forward is this:
Once you’ve done the scariest thing you’ve ever done, nothing else is ever that scary.
From that experience, I learned how to work with change in positive ways, rather than burning and running. My constant need for change is still there. It probably always will be. Now I see it as a superpower. It helps me to be courageous, resilient, intuitive, and open to adventure. I still scare the shit out of myself on a regular basis. But my favorite quote and motto to life by is this,
“Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” ~Neale Donald Walsch
Life is one grand adventure in learning, letting go, and self-discovery. I refuse to believe it’s meant to be doing work we hate, so we can buy shit that makes us feel better, and die sitting on a pile of money.
I believe we are here to explore, to discover ourselves, to connect, and to have all the fucking fun we can with the time we have. It’s not always easy to change your life and follow your own path, but, for me, it’s worth it.
That, my friends, is my version of an extraordinary life and a bit about how I came to live it.
Use Your Voice
How have you changed your life over time? What scary things did you have to do to make it happen?
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