Right now fear is clutching my innards and giving them a good squeeze. Tomorrow I fly to North Carolina to help my mother move across the country. For someone who has a slight phobia of driving, this is not exactly a walk in the park. So this got me thinking about fear. How it’s such a restrictive emotion, how it keeps us stagnant in our perceived bubble of safety and comfort. How it keeps us from trying new things and following our dreams. How instead of reaching for the stars we are content burying our heads in the sand. At this moment I’m reminded of something my father says to me, “If something scares you, do it anyway.” So I am.
I also reflect on my crazy life for the past year. What happened to me could fill a book, but in brief, I quit my job in Washington, D.C. one year ago and moved back home with my parents. I kept applying for jobs in San Francisco and didn’t hear a peep from anyone. I felt so frustrated and restricted and like I was going to grow old and die in my parents’ house. When I lived in North Carolina I played it safe. I kept applying for jobs in California hoping to find something before I moved because I was too scared to take that leap. Playing it safe got me nowhere.
In February my dad’s best friend went out of town to Hawaii so I agreed to housesit for him. I flew to California on Valentine’s Day feeling terrified and crazy. Me — practical, responsible, always-have-a-plan me — jumped on an airplane with no plan. With no job. With no apartment. Knowing all of five people. On the plane ride to California tears streamed down my cheeks as I kept asking myself, “What am I doing? I’m moving because I kept getting signs?” I felt crazy and insane and unstable. And then I arrived.
I got off the plane and put on a brave face, soaked in the atmosphere, marveled at flowers in bloom in February. THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. And I fell in love. I felt better about my decision but still crazy. I then started my quest to Find A Job but the universe had other plans for me. A lot happened to me since February, but in brief, I will have moved nine times by September, I interviewed for several jobs, none of which panned out, and met a lot of people.
In the beginning of August while I was housesitting for a famous author in San Francisco I plunked myself down on his huge overstuffed couch and lost it. I started bawling telling God I couldn’t take it anymore. I declared to God I had reached my breaking point and could take no more. And I really couldn’t. Essentially I surrendered my entire self because I was tired of moving, tired of trying, tired of interviewing for jobs and getting rejected. And God listened.
Two days later I received a telephone call for a job interview, a job that I later accepted. Three days after my job offer last week I found an apartment in the neighborhood I want to live in, within my price range and without roommates. So now? I live in San Francisco.
My hope is that my story will give you inspiration. It took me a full year to get a job, but it finally happened. I dreamt big — I wanted to work for a magazine in San Francisco — and it happened. I am indeed working for a magazine in San Francisco. I took a giant leap of faith and my net appeared, not only in the form of this job, but also always having a place to live. There were many times when I didn’t know where I would be living two weeks in advance. There were many times I didn’t know how I would pay for things and money appeared in the form of housesits, refund checks and freelance work. I guess I just want to express how life can be so grand, so fulfilling, so rich if we didn’t let fear dictate us. If we trusted the money would come. If we trusted we would be safe and provided for. If we went for our dreams even though we were scared out of our minds.
I envision a world where people aren’t stuck in the muck dredging along, going through the motions of their lives. I envision a world where people are joyful and fulfilled and get rid of the entirely useless idea they have to do something that makes them unhappy just so they survive financially. I envision a world where people are happy and joyful and turn their faces up to the sun and smile with a full heart. Where they know they will be provided for. Where they live up to their full potential because they aren’t letting fear hold them back. I envision a world where people seize every opportunity that comes before them even if it’s scary because they want to see where it leads. I envision a world where people stop sticking to their comfort zone because it’s familiar and really go for it. Believe me, I know it’s hard, but I also know you can look fear in the face and wave goodbye.
I know another world is not only possible, it’s probable.