It was right after the new year, January 4th to be exact. My eyes sprung open at 6 am after another night of less-than-awesome sleep. Again. And I immediately filled with worry and dread. Again. This morning routine was really starting to get old.
Laying in my bed that morning, frustrated and exhausted, I knew something needed to change.
My 2016 had been an exercise in futility. I was working a lot and accomplishing very little. I felt like I was running at full speed and going nowhere, which was exactly the sensation I was trying to escape when I bowed out of Corporate America a couple of years ago.
Somewhere along the way, I got lost among the trees, unable to see the forrest. I was unsure of what I should do or how I should do it. Luckily, a good friend was able to give me the perspective I was lacking. Over burgers one night later that week, he gently pointed out where I was going wrong.
I was trying to create a completely different way of life while also trying to maintain the same cost of living I had while working at my corporate job. I left that job (and the stable paycheck and health insurance that came with it) so that I could work on my writing and chase some dreams. But while my goals and priorities had changed, my expenses had not.
So I was working a bunch of jobs and ton of hours just to barely pay my bills. And that left me with little time or energy for creative endeavors and zero money for classes, workshops, or trips up to NYC. And here’s the thing: if I don’t have the time/money/energy to do those things (write, act, travel), then I’m just an over-educated hostess/babysitter/all-around miserable person.
Which then begs the question: What’s the point? If I’m going to be unhappy, then I might as well go back to my cubicle (at least I’d have some money to show for my troubles).
It came down to making a choice: choosing between what I want now (living my city life) and what I want most (having time for creative work and being able to stack some cash for the next steps of my master plan).
After crunching the numbers, weighing my options, numerous deep breaths, and more than a few tears, I made the decision: I would let go of the little city apartment I’ve had for the last 10 years and relocate to a place and situation that would allow and afford me the way of life I’ve been trying so hard to create.
But it was not long after I made the decision (and gave my landlady notice) that those mother chuckers Fear and Self-doubt came around, like clockwork, trying to talk me out of my decision.
But what if it’s only a matter of time before you never see your Philly friends again?
But isn’t this just getting further from your dreams?
But what will not climbing three flights of stairs and walking a couple of miles everyday mean for your 40-year-old metabolism?
But who will you be if you are not the independent, edgy (read: bitchy) girl doing it all on her own?
But doesn’t this mean that you failed, HARD?
I started to feel a little panicky and like maybe I should tell my landlady that I was just kidding. But I knew that wasn’t the answer. So tried something new: I forced myself to feel the fear and then examine it.
Because let’s be real:
A) Any friend I never see again probably wasn’t that close of a friend to begin with.
B) This, like everything else in life, is temporary. And no one said I can’t make another decision when the time is right.
C) It just means I will need to do more yoga which, let’s face it, is exactly this crazy face needs anyway and
D) Bitch please, this sass and independence knows no bounds. It can’t be limited to any particular zip code.
And it’s not like someone is suddenly paying my all of my bills in this new scenario. My bills just won’t be as high as they were, which is some strategic brilliance right there. So suck on that, Negative Self Talk.
It’s all about the story I choose to tell myself. Perception is reality. So sure, I could perceive this move as a failure. One where I took a leap, fell directly on my face, and lost my beloved apartment in the process. Or I could choose to perceive this as just another example of my bold and brazen willingness to do what it takes to achieve my dreams and goals. Life is about choices, my friends, and I choose the later.
Listen, I like change about as much as I like talking to strangers at parties (read: both give me heart palpitations and make me want to throw up on myself). Routine, regularity, and predictability are my life blood. But here’s the thing: if nothing changes, then nothing changes.
My new normal is going to take some getting used to. All of these birds chirping and opportunities for Lyme disease. Getting back into the habit of closing the bathroom door. Resisting the urge to leave passive aggressive notes about who’s turn it is to do the dishes.
The biggest adjustment of all will be my lack of freedom. Without a car and no where to walk to, I’m stuck at home a lot of the time. Although, it could be argued that being trapped out in the middle of nowhere with few distractions is probably just what this writer needs (I think makes me Jack Nicholson in The Shining).
It’s the end of an era and the beginning of a new chapter. One where I live in the suburbs. With two dudes. And an asthmatic dog.
There’s a sitcom in all of this, I can feel it. I guess it’s a good thing I’ve got nothing to do out here but write.