I once read that physically, chemically, emotionally, and mentally, more change occurs in humans from age 8 to age 18 than any other aggregate time in their whole life. Think about the significance of that for a moment. Over the span of one decade, you will change more than the whole rest of your 75-90 years of life.
No wonder teenagers appear so unstable; they literally are just that!
The truth of the matter is, I FEEL like more change has happened in the last 5 years of my life than any of the other 27 years (I'm 32. Just so you know. Some of you will think this makes me a baby, others will think this makes me an old lady. It's cool either way).
When I was 20 years old, I got my first real job. I say “real” because it was a very grown-uppy job and was something I thought I might do for a very long time, if not forever. I was dating a man I thought I would spend my life with. I had a PLAN, by golly! Years went by. I began to realize I was very unhappy. Unhappy with the grown-uppy job. Unhappy with the guy. Don't get me wrong, it was a fine job, and the guy was very nice, but....they weren't what I wanted.
Here is the problem. I didn't like where I was, but the idea of changing where I was scared the (insert bad word here) out of me more than being miserable did. So I stayed in the job, and I stayed with the guy, and I got more and more unhappy. Then my unhappy became something much scarier. It got clinical. It had to be medicated, just so I could get up and go to the job and deal with the guy.
Please don't misunderstand...the job and the guy did NOT cause me to be unhappy, depressed, anxious, and all the other scary stuff. The fact that I was living a life I was not supposed to be living and settling for things that I didn't really want DID. It dawned on me one day, as I took my medication- or maybe it was as I laid down to sleep, or on my way to work...irrelevant when it occurred, relevant that it did- the fact that I needed to be medicated in order to survive the situation I was in was probably a huge clue I needed to do something differently.
And then I took a pill really darn quickly, because the thought of making a CHANGE was scary as (insert another bad word here) and gave me another panic attack.
But one day, it just felt okay to make a change. I felt strong enough. I ended my relationship, and though there were tears, the bigger feeling was of relief. I didn't know how I was going to pay the bills without our shared income, but I just felt it would be okay, somehow. I didn't need the medication anymore (which was ironic, now that my life was ACTUALLY getting stressful!). My finances got worse, my job became rockier, and I was scared to death, but there was a little voice in my head telling me to just keep putting one foot in front of the other, because it would be okay.
I filed bankruptcy. My position was cut at my job, and therefore I was laid off. Filing for unemployment was embarrassing. I decided to go back to school, because what else do unemployed 30 year olds do? At the literal last second, school fell through. I was back to looking for work, and took a job I really did not want, and which I despised every second for the four months I was there. I left that job with no other prospects lined up and no money in the bank, because the job was going to kill me (quite possibly literally- I fell asleep at the wheel on my way home for the first time in my life, and there were patient brawls, of epic proportions that included weapons, at least once a month for the four months I was there).
And yet, still...I had a feeling that everything was going to be okay. I was wandering around blindfolded and banging my shins on everything, but I just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other...
When I left that position, a side gig very quickly bloomed into a full blown money maker. It was miraculous. I was working 30 hours a week making more than I had been making full time. It was fun, too. I met some amazing people, and gained a ton of experience. I learned that I was really good at some things I had always been scared by at my first job. I learned that bankruptcy really doesn't ruin your life like they say it does (on the contrary....) I bought a new car (nothing fancy, but it sure is nice to have something reliable!). I started writing for the first time in over 2 years.
This lasted for exactly one year. Around the 9 month mark, I started realizing that I am not the type of person who can write a book and work a day job, at least not then. I know many, many of you reading this do, and I salute you with both hands, and both my feet, AND give you hugs and cookies and a million pounds of coffee beans- you are my heroes!
At the one year mark, the work dried up, and it did so in a way that left me eligible for unemployment once again. Now, I'm sure a lot of you are going to think less of me when I tell you this, but I don't care...I jumped on the UI wagon with glee in my heart and a song on my lips, because NOW was the right time to write a book, and go back to school, and I was not going to let the opportunity pass me by again.
As I write this post, I have approximately 10K left to write on my first novel. School is starting in a few weeks. I've been making a lot of physical and emotional changes, some on purpose, some not so much. I don't know what else is coming around the corner. Every night a million and seven things race through my head as I place it upon my pillow. Every morning I wake up and am reminded of how scared of all this stuff I really am. What is going to happen next in my life? Where am I going to be in one week? A month? A year?
Earlier this evening, something reminded me to think back to how scared I was 5 years ago to let go of a job and relationship I thought brought me security. I think about ALL the things that scared me then, and how much change has happened in such a relatively short time. I think about how glad I am I lost ALL those things I thought I needed. It makes me smile, and hug myself a little.
We are always changing. It's necessary, and healthy not to stagnate. Sometimes change happens slow, and sometimes change happens fast, but even when change is good, it can be super scary. Sometimes we choose to change, and sometimes we are dragged through it, kicking and screaming and crying, with great gobs of snot hanging from our quivering upper lip.
I had to write this post to remind myself...5 years from NOW, I'll still be changing, and Future Me will maybe read this post, and smile, and give Now Me a hug, because she'll know that everything really does turn out okay, if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other...
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." -- André Gide