I am in the middle of completing a vision board, a collage with images and words which embody my life’s aspirations. I don’t believe in the idea that the mere creation of the board attracts some universal juju which will make my wildest dreams come true. Rather, having this visual representation of my ambitions will remind (and motivate) me to go after the things I really want.
One of the larger items on my board is a clipping of a home as I’ve recently decided I want to buy a house by the end of 2014. Being a homeowner is a very meaningful thing for me, something that reflects the hard work I’ve done to become a stable and financially independent adult.
I probably could have bought a house a couple of years ago, but never really put the effort into making it happen. I wanted to be sure my job was stable (it wasn’t). I wanted to be sure my boyfriend and I were going to end up together (we didn’t). I wanted to wait until I didn’t feel nervous about making such a big purchase (never going to happen).
I’m always waiting for the perfect moment to do things, but I’ve come to realize that perfect moments don’t exist. They only exist in movies, or in what we think we see when we scroll through others’ photos on Facebook. Real life is much scarier.
I spent the majority of my life living in chaos, and as result, I like my adult life to be as controlled as possible. I’ve often said I’m “Type A in a good way” (note: I’d never put my issues on anyone else.) The thought of letting go and accepting that some things are out of my control is something I’ve really struggled with. I’m the most imperfect perfectionist you’ll ever meet.
The last few years have been filled with one broken promise to myself after another. I didn’t leave my job when I should have. I didn’t go to events for fear of being around people I didn’t know. I didn’t respond to calls for submissions even though my pieces were really good.
I kept telling myself that I’d get around to it. Tomorrow. Next month. Next year. I’d do it when I had some arbitrary amount of money in my bank account. I’d do it when I lost 10 pounds. I’d do it when I had more time.
In 2008, I actually grabbed my cajones and moved from San Jose, CA to Portland, Oregon…with a guy I met on the internet…without a job lined up…or a network of people waiting for me. I’m pretty sure my parents thought I was going off the deep end. To be honest, I wondered the same thing.
I cried a lot when I first moved. I was homesick. I couldn’t find a job. I had a hard time making friends. There were so many nights when I lamented over the fact that I had made the biggest mistake of my life. Almost five years later, I can’t ever imagine going back to California.
The time between conceiving the idea to move and actually moving was nearly four years. I just kept putting it off, making excuses as to why I couldn’t go. Truth be told, I was scared to death I’d ruin my life by taking such a huge leap of faith.
The funny thing about that kind of fear is that the huge risk you think you’re taking only exists in the moment right before your first step. After that, you’re in the thick of things, in straight up survival mode. There isn’t time to be emotionally paralyzed because you just have to keep going forward.
We must open ourselves up to failure in order to get the things we really want in life. At times, our only option is to run full speed off of a cliff, not knowing if there’s a safety net below. Sometimes there is, but sometimes we hit the ground so hard our entire soul shatters into a million pieces.
I’m not waiting anymore. There’s a strong possibility I’ll never find Mr. Right, and I could very well lose my job after I’ve signed on the dotted line. I’m still buying that house. I’ll lay checkerboard tile in the kitchen, and install a red front door. It will be a place where love is spoken, and laughter is plentiful.
Happiness is extending its hand to me, and I just need to reach out and grab it. I’m going to close my eyes, take a breath, and dive head first into what could be an empty swimming pool. Complacency is the death of a person’s spirit, and that seems significantly worse than any other possible outcome.
The time is now.