7.31.2017

Something > Nothing

A funny thing happens when you broadcast your life-altering decisions to the world: some people actually listen. One of the coolest things about the past year of my life (other than the fact that I can finally make happy hour) is that I've somehow become a source of wisdom/inspiration for a few people. I'm flattered and humbled, but also at a loss for what to say when people ask how they can shift their lives in a positive direction. It forces me to retrace my steps and ask myself: How DID I get here?

The simple answer is that it can't be defined by a single moment. Quitting my job may have seemed like a very assertive, final action that put everything on track, but in actuality it was one action that was flanked on either side by other actions -- some big, some small -- that were just as important as the birthday card/resignation letter saga.
The before... I pursued new relationships; I moved to a new part of town; I gave my boss an ultimatum that if things didn't change, I was going to find something new.
The after... I traveled to new parts of the country; I sat in my kitchen and applied to new jobs; I went to awkward networking events and met more new people.



All of these steps played a key role in where I've landed today. And you might also notice that they include a key word: NEW. New things can be scary; they can also be really exciting. I was outside my realm of experience and outside my comfort zone, but I was also learning and discovering the people, places and experiences I liked... and those I didn't.

The problem with "new" is that the "familiar" is just so much easier. So often the challenge of figuring out how to make a change leads people to settle for what's comfortable, hoping life will conveniently decide to reward us for inaction and offer something better.

These situations lead to cliches like "When God closes a door he opens a window" or "Things will work out in the end." Then there's of course the old favorite: "Everything happens for a reason." What these tired, overused, non-helpful words of encouragement don't tell you is that sitting back and waiting for life to happen to you will not open that window or make it all work out. And the reason things don't happen may be because you didn't do anything at all.


We were born with free will and the ability to act. It's important to know the finish line you want to reach, but just as important to also know you won't reach that finish line unless you start with a single step. Hopefully, someday you'll be able to look back and realize how important all the seemingly unimportant steps actually were.

And when you finally reach that finish line, odds are you'll realize the end you sought is actually the starting point for another race you couldn't even see from what you *thought* was the start. You may want change now, but have the patience that even the small stuff matters -- and don't be afraid to capitalize on the big stuff, too.

I leave you with this: None of us actually has a clue what we're doing. So just do SOMETHING.

Go ahead and live the life where you geek out over a picture of an iguana eating a lime.
Find the simple pleasures, and soak 'em up.