I’m not used to feeling all this excitement, freedom and sense of possibility! I almost don’t know what to do with it! There’s no rush, grasshopper.
So. I quit my job just over 24 hours ago. And there is no doubt in my mind, now, of the transformative powers of stating your goals and desires outloud to the universe and then actively following through with them. I feel great. I’m happy, I’m excited, I feel light and focused all at once.
I’m also scared. But I knew that would be there. I’m human.
I reconnected with my old therapist, Karen, a few weeks back. During my early twenties I spent five years in and out of her office, even seeing her twice a week sometimes. We hadn’t been in touch for a couple years, but then she recently found my blog through someone I referred to her, she commented on this post, and we ended up exchanging a few wonderful emails that were really helpful to me. It was awesome to check in with her and I’m so grateful that she generously reached out to me to share her thoughts about my journey.
Something Karen said to me in one of her recent emails was, “Any question beginning with “what if” can be tossed as that is just anxiety rearing its ugly head.” That is such an invaluable reminder. I think many of us spend our lives not only paying attention to the “what if”s but dwelling in them – setting up shop and wallowing around in them until we’re covered with mud and muck and we can’t see which way is up. And the saddest (or perhaps most comical) part is that the “what if”s don’t even exist! They’re imaginary! They haven’t happened, they won’t happen – at least not exactly as you’re anticipating them, they’re daydreams! Actually, they’re daynightmares. And who the hell wants to spend their mental energy palling around with daynightmares? Not me. The goal is not, in fact, to all together avoid that kind of thinking, because it will be there. It’s natural. The goal is to notice it, recognize it as unnecessary brain chatter, and choose to ignore it. When you give it weight, it wins.
I’m jumping around from thought to thought now, but bear with me – I’ve got a lot to say today!
I’ve been known to detach from my emotions sometimes. It’s a coping mechanism I developed when I was younger, but it doesn’t work for me anymore. I miss out on things because of it and as much as it might have protected me earlier in my life, it’s now bled over to my sometimes detaching from good things that happen to me too. It’s almost as if I’m watching them happen to someone else, I’m standing on the sidelines cheering that person on, but I miss out on fully living through the feelings. I’m not going to do this with this new chapter in my life. I’m going to be fully here for this experience. This IS it, this is the time I’ve been preparing for and dreaming about. The only task I have is to be sure to experience it completely.
My brain has been abuzz since yesterday when I walked out of my boss’ office. I told my other boss a few minutes later and was surprised to hear him say that he doesn’t want another assistant, he’s worried about not liking her, about her not doing a good job. I said, “This office thing just isn’t for me. It’s not my thing.” And he said, “I know. I was surprised that a creative like you would work here for so long anyway.” A “creative.” Ha! I guess he doesn’t think of himself as a “creative.” Maybe, from his point of view, creatives aren’t supposed to work in offices. I’ll take it.
The outpouring of comments, facebook notes, personal emails, text messages, voicemails and congratulatory hugs I’ve gotten in the last 24 hours has been so amazing. And I know those will die down and there will come a time when I’m no longer flying on the fumes of this big risk taken, when I will have to continue to move forward, make choices, cut down the jungle weeds with my machete. (Like that scene in The Princess Bride where he’s chopping down giant plant stalks to get his princess safely through the forest? Like that.)
I don’t feel a tinge of regret. Not a tinge! I feel more validated and ready for this than ever. I don’t feel like a little girl making a grown up decision, either. I was worried I’d feel that way, that I was being irresponsible or impulsive. (Me? Nooo.) But I don’t feel that way at all. I told the truth to my bosses about why I’m leaving, I sent my mom a long email letting her know what I was thinking and feeling, I might have to combat some practical, fear-based questions from the grandparents or from other people who choose to stay within a certain box, but that’s okay. That will just help me reitterate my plans outloud.
I’m excited to start writing more, something I’ve always *always* loved, felt deeply connected to, and been able to do well. I’m excited to spend my days – oh hallelujah how my soul sings at the idea that this is going to be real soon – exercising, cooking, writing, performing comedy shows, working on the bakery and pursuing things that fulfill me. I’m excited to discover where the income will come from! I’m teeming with excitement at becoming someone who believes she not only deserves any sort of success, but someone who believes she is more than capable of obtaining it. I’ve told myself so much in the past about who I am, what I do or don’t deserve, what I can achieve, the limits I’ll never exceed – I think a lot of people do that. And those statements that play over and over in our minds like broken cassette tapes are quite literally the only things stopping us from doing anything we want to do, from being the things we daydreamed about being when we were children.
Imagine sitting down with yourself at age 12 – you, today, getting a chance to talk to that little kid. And imagine you told that little kid the story of your adult life so far. And then imagine saying (assuming, for the sake of discussion, that this is part of your story), “And then, you found yourself stuck in a circumstance you didn’t care for, stuck in a job that didn’t suit you. And guess what you did? You decided to change it! It was a huge risk, but you decided to take the leap. And guess what else? You succeeded! You became a (nurse/poet/actor/race car driver/basketball star) just like you’ve always wanted to be. You almost let the weights of adulthood get to you, but in the end, you prevailed.”
That little kid would high-five you. Kids are awesome like that.
It is going to be it’s own sort of full time job for me to shake the potential for nasty, negative self-talk off my body every day, but I’m commited to doing it. Why NOT?! Why on earth would I continue to listen to that stuff. “I’ll never be a published writer. That’s for someone else, not for me.” “I’ll never open a successful bakery. That’s too much work and I’m not smart enough.” “I’ll never be able to make money by working for myself. Those lucky breaks are only handed out to the most popular, attractive people.” “My weight loss expertise isn’t valuable. It’s all been said before.” BULLSHIT. I’m calling BULLSHIT on all of it. Let’s imagine, for a moment, that all that bullshit is true. Even if it were, why would I hang onto it? If it’s true, then it will eat me up anyway. If it is true, it will keep me from my dreams no matter what I do to work around it. So shouldn’t I just have a fun, naive experience in the meantime and live it up?