The Time Is Now

14 May

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.

Just kidding. This is what my board really looks like.

Just kidding. This is what my board really looks like.

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.

Credit: Rework by 37signals

Credit: Rework by 37signals

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.

114 Responses to “The Time Is Now”

  1. Fat Bottom Girl 05/14/2013 at 11:02 am #

    Good post, and very timely, because I have been thinking a lot about relocating and trying living in a different part of the country for awhile. ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW when you do the checkerboard floor, don’t use those self-stick tiles!! I did that, and it turned out disastrous. The floor looked great for a couple of months. Aesthetically the checkerboard still appeals to me, but I ended up ripping it all up because of shitty materials. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:20 am #

      You’re thinking about making a move? DO IT. You might get there and totally hate it, but you could get there and love it. Moving around does wonders for a person.

      • Fat Bottom Girl 05/15/2013 at 11:36 am #

        I agree! However, I do have a child to consider, which makes everything a bit more challenging. I hope to figure something out though. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:41 am #

          Ah, yes. Slightly more complicated! The thing I need to worry about is how easy it is to get bacon where I’m living.

          • Fat Bottom Girl 05/15/2013 at 11:46 am #

            Which reminds me, did you see Yankee just came out with the “Mmm. . .Bacon!” candle?? I kid you not! Bacon makes everything better. . . wish I had some right now.

          • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:48 am #

            HOLY SHIT. That is both terrifying and awesome.

  2. calahan 05/14/2013 at 10:58 am #

    I want to harness your mind-set for myself and make sure it never gets away. I really hope you get to buy a house or even buy a bi-house.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:19 am #

      You already do! I’m pretty sure you’re the only one out of us who is making a living off of writing right now.

      • calahan 05/15/2013 at 11:21 am #

        You are mistaken, unfortunately. It’s been dead for me for a few months.

        • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:34 am #

          WHAT? Don’t tell me you’re now wearing a suit and tie…or khakies and a polo…or pajamas. NOOOOOOOO.

          • calahan 05/15/2013 at 11:59 am #

            I look good in a suit and tie. However, I will be dragged to my death before I don a pair of khakis and a polo shirt.

          • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 12:07 pm #

            Send all pictures of you in a suit and tie to

  3. UndercoverL 05/14/2013 at 10:53 am #

    Congrats on those goals! I am excited for you! As someone who made a decision that has forced me to be reliant on other people for the rest of my life, I also sort of hate you and in my seething jealousy of a well-laid plan want you to fail miserably. Not really. I am happy for you, Jen! Way to go!

    • UndercoverL 05/14/2013 at 10:54 am #

      Also, would that I were the Sharpei in Hof’s lap. Oh gross. I just vomited a little in my mouth.

      • Fat Bottom Girl 05/14/2013 at 11:03 am #

        I did too! Wouldn’t that be considered cruelty to animals??

        • UndercoverL 05/14/2013 at 11:12 am #

          Absolutely! For shame, Hof! For SHAME! Where is Pamela Anderson when she is needed?

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:19 am #

      I’ll make sure, if I fail, to send you plenty of pictures of me crying while looking at my bank statement!

      • UndercoverL 05/15/2013 at 2:30 pm #

        Oh please don’t. That’s all I do all day… when I am not trying to blog. LOL Send me, instead, a picture of your envy-worthy library in your new digs!

  4. La La 05/14/2013 at 10:11 am #

    Love this post. The time is totally now!

    Buying a house was important for me as well. I was single at the time and I felt like it is a huge part of what made me independent and feel like an established and stable young woman.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:45 am #

      Still blows my mind that you already own a house because you look about 20, and I don’t think most 20-year-olds have that much money. You may receive some “what the hell am I doing” e-mails during the closing process, just be warned.

      • La La 05/14/2013 at 10:54 am #

        Seriously, feel free to send me any emails. I thought that the whole time! And thank you… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. saradraws 05/14/2013 at 10:08 am #

    …and there shall be a housewarming party of epic proportions….or not. Your choice BECAUSE IT’S YOUR HOUSE. I’m envious. I’m not sure I want to own, but I’m envious you have a choice, and it’s one that excites you. You deserve this, and I have every intention of visiting one day. Yup, just invited myself. I’m all tact.

    Awesome post. Totally worth coming over to wordpress for.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:44 am #

      You (and the rest of the circus) are always welcome. I want to buy a house tomorrow just so I can see you sooner.

      You’ve made some choices too. You extend yourself freely to people who are practically strangers. You had a kid when it wasn’t part of your life plan. You took a chance on loving a crazy man we know as Le Clown. You’ve confronted some personal problems head on. You’re figuring out what the next steps are in your life. You’ve been bolder than you give yourself credit for.

  6. becca3416 05/14/2013 at 10:00 am #

    UGHHH I just… love you! You go for it Jen! You are my #1 inspirer.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:40 am #

      Awwww โค You're about to take some big leaps in your own life soon! I can't wait to hear about the ups, the down, the in betweens…and how you wouldn't change a thing.

  7. Claire Rachael Pitt 05/14/2013 at 9:56 am #

    Grab it! I am not grown up enough (financially secure enough) to buy my own house/apartment at the moment, but in order for my doodly empire to expand I am seeking out my own studio space. I have found one that looks very cool indeed and fingers crossed it will be mine very soon. It is a giant leap into the unknown for me, but I am excited. I hope you find somewhere awesome ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:38 am #

      I think that going after your doodly dream is a huge risk, especially now that you want to take it to the next level. You’re already significantly happier than the majority of the population because you’re doing what you want with your life. Maybe in 10 years you won’t want to do this anymore, but for now you’re able to say that your job is your dream being realized. That’s really cool.

  8. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 05/14/2013 at 9:53 am #

    I totally need more of your attitude in me – I’m a fraidy cat of losing my safety net.

    I can’t wait to see your rockin’ house!!

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:37 am #

      You’ve got it in you. I’ve read your work, you do.

      “Can I do this? Will I fail? Will this be the best decision of my life? Will I regret having done this?” The answer is yes to all. Maybe the key is to be okay with whatever outcome is because at least you did something in your life.

  9. Amy West (@AmyWest) 05/14/2013 at 9:47 am #

    “The funny thing about that kind of fear is that the huge risk you think youโ€™re taking only exists in the moment right before your first step. After that, youโ€™re in the thick of things, in straight up survival mode. There isnโ€™t time to be emotionally paralyzed because you just have to keep going forward.”

    Yes. That.

    I’m a firm believer in “leap and the net will appear.” Because you’ll fucking make it appear. โค

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:35 am #

      How does that net always appear?! Even when we don’t realize we’re working on it, we are. At the exact moment we’re sure we’re going to plunge to our emotional deaths, we look down and see that we weren’t really in danger to begin with.

  10. Colleen Dubois Photography 05/14/2013 at 9:45 am #

    Love it

  11. Viciously Sweet 05/14/2013 at 9:28 am #

    This makes me want to do all the things I promise myself too. Oh Jen, I totally believe in you and all of your dreams. And when you buy a house I’m going to have to send you a house warming gift that will make you smile.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:31 am #

      You should. The question we need to ask ourselves is, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and follow that quickly with, “What’s the best that can happen?” I’d venture to say that the latter usually far outweighs the former.

  12. Justcallmegertie 05/14/2013 at 9:19 am #

    Couldn’t agree with you more! I spent 3 agonising years thinking about buying a bigger house as my girls were getting bigger and started looking like goldfish in a pond in their tiny rooms. When I get my next bonus, when I know where this relationship is going, when the property market gets a big better, and last year I just decided, F that, I am buying the house. Best decision made in last year (after I dumped the stupid boyfriend!).
    All the best!

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:27 am #

      Good for you! So happy that you were able to take those first steps. I bet you can’t imagine what your life would be like if you hadn’t done those things.

  13. Kayjai 05/14/2013 at 9:15 am #

    Nice post and as a professional procrastinator, I know you are right…tomorrow just always seems to be so damned perfect to me.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:26 am #

      Doesn’t it? Tomorrow is a sexy little temptress.

  14. twindaddy 05/14/2013 at 9:11 am #

    Jen, you are wise beyond your years. Buy your house and enjoy it. There are no sure things in life so take what you can when you can.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:25 am #

      There aren’t any sure things! For all I know, Westboro Baptist Church could be right, and I’ll be suddenly gobbled up by a fire-breathing dinosaur sent from hell.

      • twindaddy 05/14/2013 at 10:27 am #

        Hey, it could happen. And I’d miss you terribly.

        • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:29 am #

          It’s funny- I almost didn’t start this blog. It was only the result of some huge drama taking place at the last website I wrote for. Now I can’t imagine not having met you, or my other blog besties on wordpress.

          • twindaddy 05/14/2013 at 10:32 am #

            I know. I’ve met sooo many kick-ass people here! Including yourself. You’re so bad ass.

          • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:33 am #

            Thanks, TD. I’m in good company *tips hat*

          • twindaddy 05/14/2013 at 10:43 am #

            *raises glass* To us! Cheeeeers!! *passes out*

  15. iRuniBreathe 05/14/2013 at 9:08 am #

    This is inspiring Jen. There is a balance between being reckless and being realistic, but I don’t think fear is a good enough excuse not to try something. You go girl. Much happiness to you.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:24 am #

      Agreed. The guy who recently lost his life savings at a fair in New Hampshire? Dumbass. Those of you fall flat on our faces because sometimes life kicks you in the shins that way? Hey, at least we tried.

  16. Madame Weebles 05/14/2013 at 8:56 am #

    You are my hero. Seriously. I know you’ve slogged through a lot of crap and you’ve emerged as the kind of person anyone would be proud to be. Your attitude is fucking inspiring. You deserve so much happiness and success, in whatever form you want.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:23 am #

      Ugh, how do you manage to be so sentimental, but still sound badass at the same time? I guess this post is an homage to that journey, to going through some shit and somehow bouncing back. My life has taken some left turns for no reason whatsoever, and other times because I messed up. Somehow I still ended up exactly where I’m supposed to be.

  17. Dani Heart 05/14/2013 at 8:55 am #

    Good for you Jen. I know this post will inspire those who read it. I too have decided the time is now for so many things. Truly you never know when your time is going to run out so it has to be now, or it could be never. Love this… shared. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:17 am #

      You’re right. I’ve thought a lot about death lately, and it scares me. I’m not afraid of dying, but dying before I have a chance to do things that are really important to me. I could live for another 40 years, or only for another 40 days. I better start crackin’ the whip.

  18. SocietyRed 05/14/2013 at 8:01 am #

    This post reflects the attitude that makes me and everyone else love you. “…a place where love is spoken, and laughter is plentiful.” Really what more is there?
    I remember that scary first time I dove off a diving board when I was young. Ever since then when I come to a jump off point in life I say to myself “are you a head-first guy trusting yourself and giving it all you have, or a feet-first guy pinching your nose and cupping your balls hoping for the best”. I think you know who you are.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:14 am #

      I actually thought about you when I wrote that line. You and Mrs. Red and Mama Red all living in a house together. Is there anything better than being constantly surrounded by two women you love? Well, maybe that moment when your mom suggests you “boom boom” while she’s out.

  19. El Guapo 05/14/2013 at 7:02 am #

    Something else about the moment right after you do the thing – it becomes the right moment to have done it.
    The mental trick I use to get myself to do something – will the regret of not doing the thing outweigh the risk of doing it?

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:13 am #

      It DOES become the right moment to have done it. Last year? Nope, then XYZ happened and that would have ruined it. Next year? Who knows what will go down. It does end up working out to be perfect timing, even if you don’t know it at the time.

  20. Katie 05/14/2013 at 6:45 am #

    What a great message. If you were brave enough to make that move, buying a house won’t be nothin’ but a thang. I’m guilty of the “waiting game” myself sometimes, but the past year I’ve been trying to say “fuck it!” and throw caution to the wind. It’s resulted in a good job and a wonderful boyfriend, so I’m slowly becoming an advocate for carpe dieming.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:12 am #

      That’s just it! Looking back we think, “Oh yeah, I’d totally do that again. Absolutely worth it.” Hindsight is 20/20 which is funny because I think you have to be somewhat blind right before the fact.

  21. jeanjames26 05/14/2013 at 6:32 am #

    Good for you. I got pregnant 1st (oops), then got married, then got a house and had two more kids (oops x2). Life is too short, you just have to go out there and lasso it at your own will. Good luck with the house!

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:11 am #

      Sometimes “oops” gives us the best things we’ve ever known. When my sister got pregnant, it was not a “normal” situation by any means. Fast forward six years later, and I can’t imagine life without my nephew!

  22. The Cutter 05/14/2013 at 6:24 am #

    Good for you! It’s good to see someone take action rather than wait for life to tell them what to do.

  23. donofalltrades 05/14/2013 at 6:17 am #

    Go on with your bad self. When you get to be my age, you’ll have lots of friends saying things like “don, you’r so lucky that you did this or that” because they lament having waited. It ain’t luck, pal, I thought about what I wanted to do and I did it. Consequences be damned! There’s no perfect time to buy a house just like there’s no perfect time to have a kid (not saying you want to, but lots of folks say they’re waiting until the right time)! If you know you want to do something and you have the means, then do it! Sorry, I ranted because I literally just yesterday was yelling at a friend who is always bitching instead of doing. You get that house and don’t look back! Lol.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:09 am #

      *goes on with her bad self*

      A basketball coach once said, “She’s only scoring more than you are because you just won’t put up the damn ball. It’s not about her skill versus your skill, it’s that she has the ability to let the ball go.” I think that’s just it. Your luck isn’t luck, it’s just you taking more shots than other people.

  24. nobodysreadingme 05/14/2013 at 6:14 am #

    Sometimes you just find yourself having to do things. I made four major career changes, al of which were forced on me, and they all turned out pretty good. Personal stuff? I regret some things i didn’t do, but very few of the things I did do.
    The right time isn’t always now, but it’s not always then either.
    Good luck

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:07 am #

      A forced change is a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you had absolutely no say in the process which is bad news. On the other, you have the opportunity to prove to yourself that you can make it through the tough things.

      Regret does go both ways, but I think “what if” is worse than that.

      • nobodysreadingme 05/15/2013 at 1:31 am #

        I’ve pretty much given up on the whole ‘what if?’ thing. That doesn’t mean I’m a fatalist; it’s just no use fretting about things you can’t change, and you absolutely cannot change your past.

        • Jen and Tonic 05/16/2013 at 12:20 am #

          This is why you’re most likely more emotionally stable than I am.

          • nobodysreadingme 05/16/2013 at 1:25 am #

            I can’t lay claim to that. I’ve suffered from episodic depression for over 40 years. Don’t catch me on a bad day.

  25. The Hook 05/14/2013 at 6:06 am #

    The time is definitely now. The world is yours, my lovely friend! Be a wise and benevolent ruler, all right?

    • Jen and Tonic 05/14/2013 at 10:05 am #

      No iron fist here. The great thing is that the world is for everyone, we just need to accept that before making our move.

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