This is the day that I have been dreaming about for years, really. The day that I take hold of my future and grab it, pulling for all its worth. This is the day that I decide to pursue a long-standing dream, ditch the golden handcuffs I’ve been wearing for a long time, and move ahead with what my passion screams out to be. I am quitting my full-time “day job” to take a much-less paying position as a small-town lawyer. I can hardly wait.
I’ve been at my day job for 14-1/2 years. It’s provided well for my family. It allowed me to travel the world. It allowed me to visit every major city in the U.S. other than Indianapolis and Minneapolis, neither of which I have a great deal of interest in, anyway. It allowed me to meet many good friends. It allowed me to break away from an abusive marriage and eventually meet my Sweetie. It allowed me to build buildings that can be seen on any drive along the major thoroughfare in our city. It allowed me to learn a lot about real estate, the law, and life. I leave it with many good memories, with many good friends, and with a continuing connection to them all. I enjoyed some of my time there; other times I did not enjoy at all. As in any job, it had its good and bad days, but lately those good days had become few and far between, honestly. I knew it was time for me to move on, and I knew that because I knew it was time for me to pursue the remaining portion of this crazy dream I’ve had for so long.
Tomorrow, when I turn in my notice, I’m sure that there will be a few shocked faces. Most of those close to me already know that this offer has been on the table for three weeks, and they also know it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time. They know that this is best for me. The ones who feel it’s not, who feel that the “grass won’t be greener on the other side”, don’t know me very well, and for that, I am sad. They only live in their small bubble at the edge of something great, and they don’t understand. Until they poke their heads outside of that bubble, they won’t understand. Some of them will never do that.
I’m scared to death, as well. What happens if I fail? What happens if I am not successful? This is a one-shot deal – either I succeed or I fail. It takes bravery, and that has been something that has been lacking in me for a long time. I have spots of bravery, of course, like anyone, but my bravery spots are spotty at best. I am forcing myself to be brave this time, as it’s now or never, I fear.
A friend who knows about this opportunity asked me a few days ago what I would want to see in myself in 10 years, 5 years, even 1 year. Did I want to look back at this place, having worked there for 34 years by the time I will likely retire, to say that it was “okay”, or did I want to look back 20 years from now and say “that was an adventure”. I choose the latter. I am, although not always brave, adventurous at least. It fits me.
My friend, Valerie, once warned me, as a fellow blue-eyed person, to be sure to wear sunglasses so that I wouldn’t get cataracts when I got old. She never made it to be old, dying in a car crash in 1999. I think back to that, often, when I have to make a long-term decision. I have to think of the potential bad consequences, of course, but then I have to consider what I’ll miss out on if I don’t take the plunge. In the present situation, I’d miss out on a lot. Retiremement is not a guarantee. Tomorrow isn’t either. I have decided to take those chances and do my very best. That’s all I can hope for.
So, as this journey begins tomorrow, I will keep you updated on the progress. The strife. The struggles to learn this new profession at my (advancing) age. I know, 43 isn’t ancient. It just feels like it is, sometimes.
I’ve cried more in the past three weeks than in many years, combined. I ask myself why, and I think it’s a combination of a lot of things – fear of the unknown, fear of where this step will take me, fear of how this will change my life, fear of how this will change my relationships, fear of what my life will be like in a year, fear that I’ll not be able to travel again for a long time, and the disbelief that I’ve actually been offered this opportunity.
What an amazing journey this life is. Amazing in its simplicity and complexity at the same time. Eat, drink, sleep. Those are essential. There are other things that are, as well, but at life’s most basic, those are the absolutes. If you can make those three happen, you’re a success in life. Golden handcuffs or not, this girl is about to jump off a cliff to see what’s on the other side. Let’s do this thing.
Make life happen today.