Saturday, March 16, 2013

Another $%#@! epiphany: part two




After 31 years on this planet, I've come to recognize that the way I process things comes in a series of cycles. I set a goal, I throw myself into it, often losing touch of whether or not I'm happy. I go into denial, ignoring the signs that it's not right. Then I have a series of epiphanies and an intense wake-up call before I finally admit the truth to myself. What normally follows is a big, bold move, a leap of faith. Sometimes I land. Sometimes I get squished like a bug on the windshield. But I never stop leaping.

One day my best friend told me I needed to stop "waiting" for opportunities to come to me and create my own. It hurt my feelings, because I thought she was implying that I was sitting on my ass waiting for the right job to find me which was the furthest thing from the truth. I was sacrificing every evening to the mundane task of job-hunting, often at the expense of relaxing for a few blissful moments before I had to wake up and do it all again.

But I thought about what she said. And I thought about the business idea that's been forming in my mind for years, that I put on the back burner because it wasn't the right time or I didn't have any money. And I realized what she meant, and that she's right. With few exceptions (there is one company in this area that I'd sell my soul at a chance to work for, no matter what the hours are, because their passion is the same as mine), I'm never going to be happy working for someone else, working on someone else's dream.

I'm tired of trading my life for something that's never going to pay off for me. I want to spend it doing what I want to do. And I owe it to myself to try. That's the scariest part. I've tried and I've failed so many times, I don't know how much more I can take. But through all my many failures, at the end of the day, I've always still had the things that matter most to me, my husband and my health.  Staying where I am will surely rob me of at least one.

I have often been guilty of using timing as an excuse. And now is far from an ideal time to start a new project. But now I see that there never will be an ideal time. And if I keep putting it off, I'm never going to do it. It might take me years, but it's better than waking up at 40 going, "I wish I had started this at 31!"

And it's not like I won't have any support. Seattle is filled to the brim with strong, savvy, smart, amazing, wealthy female business owners who have broken free of the 9 to 5 and followed their hearts….successfully. I'll have support groups, networking events and plenty of paths paved for me. Now is an amazing time for a woman to become an entrepreneur. It's the motherfucking age of Aquarius, for crying out loud.

All this has been on my mind for months, but it took an invitation to my sweet Sin City to lure me into action. My Spokane-dwelling best friend Yennifer, whom I miss every day, was all set to go to Vegas next month with her friend A. Except poor A contracted a horrible worst-case-scenario case of mono with terrifying side effects. She needs to rest, and Vegas is not where you go to rest.

I've been invited to take A's place. And no matter what my situation is in life or how abysmal my finances look, you cannot just dangle a trip to Vegas in front of me and expect me to pass it up. I agreed to go, which has put me into serious hustle mode. Now instead of spending evenings and weekends applying for jobs that will bring me more of the same feelings, most of which I wouldn't actually want, I spend my time doing freelance work with a purpose (VEGAS!) and figuring out how to make my vision a reality.

Travel is everything to me. And while I love that my company has a very generous Paid Time Off policy, I typically can't afford to go anywhere exotic with it. The thought of not being able to travel, because of money or any other reason, is devastating to me. The thought of turning down Yennifer's awesome invitation was more than I could bear.  No secure job, with all its benefits and stability, is worth it if I can't ever do what I want to do. I do not live to work, nor do I work simply to survive.

This isn't about having a sense of entitlement, where I feel that I deserve to have it all for nothing or be overpaid for what I do. It's about working hard for myself, on my dreams (which fortunately involve helping others), and being able to afford random Vegas trips with Yennifer or even retreats to Hawaii to finish my book because I have a flexible schedule and the money to fund them. That's far better than a generous allotment of vacation days that right now I'm using one at a time for things like catching up on errands or cleaning my apartment. True story.

I think everyone on Earth deserves to be happy and live their dreams, myself included. I want to work for myself, and I want to travel. If I am burned out on a Friday night, I want it to be because I have put so much effort into my dreams that I am completely exhausted but have a giant smile on my face….not because I have stayed late under the fluorescent lights every single night that week, being thanked with the offer of a warm PBR. Also a true story. 

I have no idea what my steps will be, how long it will take, or what the end result will be. But I'm finally ready to start taking those steps. If it leads to nothing, at least I will know I tried. And if it leads to a break in the repetitive cycle, no more denial, no more bold life-changing moves and no more turning down trips I'm desperate to take, it will be worth every minute. 

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