Dream As If You’ll Live Forever. Live As If You’ll Die Tomorrow.

Dream BigChange is inevitable.  Change is the only constant.  When things in life are on the cusp of great changes, it is difficult to know just how long or far this uphill climb might be… or if it is really a climb at all?

For me, changes come with a mix of big-girl confidence and wavering what-ifs.  Sometimes these varying moods manifest themselves so obviously the only result is to be a bit embarrassed and remind yourself that someday it’ll be funny, maybe.  However, most of the time the evidence of how you really feel about something is as unknown as what to expect from pending possibilities.

For the most part I love change.  I love changing the color or style of my hair.  I love changing my views and visiting some place new.  I love getting out there and mixing it up a bit, and I mostly refrain from pushing myself into any sort of “been there, done that” part of life where forcing myself outside my comfort zone has no great benefit for me personally.

Forget the “if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger.”  That’s sissy stuff and seems, to me, to be be a way of going through life with your hands over your eyes recognizing the silver lining only in hindsight.  I’m more about…

Whatever scares you, is probably going to be the most worthwhile thing you’ve ever done!

As a kid, the click-click-click-click of a roller coaster on the rise was the most terrifying feeling ever!  Who am I kidding, those final clicks before a great fall still terrify me!  But it’s a good kind of terrifying.  I LOVE that fall met by last minute wishes and impending doubts on survival.  I have to remind myself that the roller coaster we call life shouldn’t be any scarier.

When I think about the stories I tell the most or any part of my life I tack onto my mental board of “Accomplishments,” the precursor to each of these memories were great struggles through a field of unknown.  I never knew if I could do it.  I never knew if it would be worth it.  I had to muster an energy that was often one part peer pressure, two parts self confidence, a dash of thinking going forward would always be better than going back, and a super sized dose of telling myself I had no choice.  The result?  TOTAL ANXIETY!  But in hindsight that anxiety was as momentary to my life as it is at the peak of the first rolling drop.  The ride back down, up, over, sideways, and around is never so bad as that initial break past the point the point of your previous ability.

Each time I find myself breaking through the barriers of self doubt and the confining space of a shrinking comfort zone, my biggest motivator comes from knowing how many times I have survived these freaked out moments before, and how, each time, life has been rewarding on the other side.  We tend to feel the grass is greener when we compare where we are to where we’ve been before, but the grass is always greener when you burst through a new tunnel and find yourself someplace you’ve never even dreamt of.

Stark and I have gone through these moments together, for each other, with each other, and entirely on our own just to find time and time again that the ride is never over.  While we’ve learned to navigate the ups and downs as one, we are still individuals with our own challenges and very, VERY different comfort zones.

In just the last few weeks, we’ve ventured together to far off places that neither of us had ever been and we purposefully did little to prepare for.  We visited ancient ruins and chased down llamas in Peru, we made a last minute decision to bypass to Panama, we stepped around terrifying creatures in the Galapagos, and we braved 17,000+ feet of dwindling oxygen to hike alongside Quito, Ecuador.

The first time we set out to make this trip about a year and a half ago, we took a pause for a new challenge in life when Stark took a promotion.  This time wasn’t too different.  As our first REAL adventure since his new promotion, we embarked on this trip after I had just accepted a new contract with a local Inbound Marketing Agency only to be asked to interview for a new position the day before we left on our trip.

Having very little time to break away from working double time with my clients and having yet to pack for our trip, I decided I had to do the interview for no other reason than it is always good to stay well practiced in interviewing.  I went in to the meeting entirely unprepared, with no plan of what to say and many glances at the clock as to when I could get back to my long list of things to do only to find that sort of distraction works well for me!

On our layover the next day, I received an official job offer for yet another job.  Cue a flood of “what ifs” and a sting of instant anxiety over having already planned to start another job when I return and now being challenged with a new position all while knowing that an interview I had way back in December was finally gaining a little momentum.  I had no idea what to expect from minute to minute at this point in my life!   I wasn’t even sure what my options or possibilities might be or how things might change.  All I could do was jump in!

The changes and challenges didn’t stop there.  Only a few more days and one of my longest lasting freelance marketing clients responded to a final email I had sent them to notify me of the decision they had made to cut back.  They thanked me for my time and while I knew it was the very best decision for us all and it was what I wanted to happen, it is always hard to take on the kind of change that isn’t directly in your hands.  I had left the decision to them.  So, in the end when they made the decision regardless of what I expected, the change surprised me and I had to make sure to separate myself from it during our travels to keep from ruining even a single moment over that entirely different breed of anxiety that is served as a side to “What now?”

I had to remind myself that I knew the answer to that.  Still, it has been YEARS since I have started something entirely new.  Clean slate.  No hand off from one comforting part of life on to a new challenge like I had done last time I made career changes.  This time it was a clean cut from the old and a fast “ta-da!” for the new.  So I was excited for this new life.  I had everything to look forward to and nothing holding me back.  I felt confident in what was ahead of me even if I had never been in that exact place in my life before.  I felt a resilient “I’ve Got This” about life and reassured that there would be no other surprises.

Wrong!

One of the great joys and challenges of being in a serious relationship is knowing that, despite being individuals with your own choices and challenges, you still operate together and you’re on this roller coaster together.  So basically, when I think the tracks up ahead are whipping right, I forget that there are two steering wheels and Stark’s track can just as quickly whip left.

So here we are, whirling around the loopty-doos of life’s roller coaster feeling as though everything is up in the air and unsure which way is straight ahead or what route we just came from.  It’s an exciting place to be.  It’s a point where you stomach goes a little bit squeamish but you still tend to scream out “Weeee!” with your heart floating somewhere in your chest.

What will happen next?  I don’t know.

Will we survive it?  Probably.

Will it be worth it? Always.

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