In the last several days, I have had four or five people cross my path who have been trying to make some very difficult decisions about career, where to live, and other major life decisions that determine much of the proximate years.
Yes, this topic is coming around and around, over and over. It’s May and change is in the air!
Yes… CHANGE, and the ever present question, “What do I do with my life?”
I can hear my Mom lamenting, “I just have to get used to these changes!” Whether I’m leaving to school, coming home from school, leaving on a mission, starting a new job, moving to a new city, or getting married, Mom always says the same thing – “just so many changes to get used to…”
It’s not just my Mom, either. TLS recently went through some drastic changes with where they lived and what their life was like. She also hesitantly welcomed those changes, even when they were supposed to deliver her from the most nasty neighbor relationship in the world.
Most of us prefer to take shelter from change in the supposed comforts of the familiar, but too often we find that what we thought was a stable part of our life, those supposed comforts, also vacillate. Yes friends, change is all around us, and change is the only constant in our lives.
Which leads me to my platitude for the day… There are two kinds of people in the world: those who can cope with change, and the mentally unwell.
I have never really feared changes in my life, especially those that were planned and looked forward to my whole life. I’ve always had at least a moderately adventurous spirit. I’ve never been afraid of new people, new places, and changes in my routine.
While that’s what I want everyone to think about me, the truth is that I have struggled just like everyone else. There have been times when I just didn’t want to move, I was so petrified. Surprised? You should be. Most of those moments were very private moments which occurred right before I went out “on stage” and knocked their socks off. Only those closest to me (probably just my Mom) has seen them up close. Over my life I have experienced anxiety and fear over life’s changes and difficulties just like everyone else, but the key was that Mom never let me (and as it turns out I now never let myself) give up and go home. Rarely was I able to just cop out, give up, run to cover, and back to safety. I would force myself out into the unknown, did what I could do, and for the most part was amply rewarded for it.
I inevitably discovered the same thing each time: “this isn’t as bad as I thought it would be”, and oftentimes I even would be rewarded beyond my wildest dreams for taking a small step into the unknown.
Most demonstrably, this happened when I moved to Texas.
After graduation from college, I returned to work for a theater company in my hometown. It would be my third season with them in administration, and I was starting to really get good at my job. We had an incredibly successful season that year, and I felt like I was on my way to the big time.
In the back of my mind, I was working on some pretty heavy issues, though. I was excited at the prospect of working at a plethora of different jobs and getting to know a hundred different people, but there were aspects of the business I didn’t like – most notably the fact that every 3-6 months, I would be unemployed again. How was I to ever establish a home base, achieve financial stability, or feel any sense of personal stability in such a flexible industry?
These were background issues, though, and in the foreground I was excited for the adventures that lied ahead in my life. After all, I’m young, single, unfettered, and ready to attack life at the jugular!
Two weeks after my contract had ended, while I was enjoying collecting unemployment and looking for my next gig, the phone rang and I had very unlikely and unforeseen proposition — move to Texas and do some graphic design contract work for a few months. The catch? I would work in the fabric covered containers… the dreaded cubicle!
I hemmed and hawed. Should I do it? It’s not what I wanted to be doing. It’s not the future I had prescribed for myself, and it was certainly not the work environment I had envisioned. But then, I realized: it gets me 1/2 way to the east coast, puts some sweet coin into my pocket, and after all – it’s only temporary! It will be over in four months, and I will be back on track.
Well, the rest (as they say) is history. I came to Dallas, loved the city, loved the job, and loved my coworkers. A temp contract turned into a real job, and everything worked out in the end!
Will I be here forever? Who knows!
Was it what I thought I would be doing? Heck no.
Could I have planned all this in my wildest dreams? No.
Ironically, the wild adventure I thought I’d have by pursuing my Bohemian career in the entertainment business led to an even less expected and more adventurous life! It started when I got on the ‘expect-the-unexpected’ roller coaster and took a short ride to this typical, ‘boring’, suburban life – which I currently wouldn’t change for anything.
So I say: hold on for dear life, enjoy the adventure, expect the unexpected, and party on! The reigns of life are less for directing it then for just giving you something to hold on to while it tries to buck you off.