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. cavegirlmba 08/20/2013 at 12:53 am #

    On finding Mr. Right… if you feel you’ve waited to long, just make the firm resolution to slap his face and ask him where he has been all these years once he shows up. This usually works wonders.

  2. towerastextiles 05/22/2013 at 1:02 am #

    You say so many things I really agree with and relate to here… Good luck stabilising life, seizing the day and finding that house ‘where love is spoken, and laughter is plentiful’ (beautiful). And I look forward to enjoying your very funny and well written posts along the way!

    • Jen and Tonic 06/04/2013 at 11:25 pm #

      Thanks! I’m glad you can relate. Here’s to the next year bringing us exactly what we want. *Cheers*

  3. Adam S 05/19/2013 at 7:46 am #

    You’re dating a guy that you met on the Internet? What the hell’s wrong with you, Jen?! 😉

  4. Monk Monkey 05/19/2013 at 2:25 am #

    Puppy on tummy thing works for you hey you are so good at the puppy on tummy thing and I am sure one day it will happen to you and then you can say goodnight to your puppy and go to bed and when you wake up in the morning will he still be there…?

  5. trjensen 05/16/2013 at 12:52 pm #

    You want to know one of the best ways I’ve learned to deal with my anxiety about anything. Do whatever you are worried about anyway. It is exciting and you mydear are so capable and overcome sooo much. You have to do what you want. If that doesn’t work think of your your worst case scenario. As long as that doesn’t happen you’ve achieved something you didn’t expect. I adore you and I am so happy for you and your success.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/16/2013 at 6:57 pm #

      As my friend would say, “Sometimes you have to step into the punch.” And he’s right, sometimes you take a hard hit to the chin, but it toughens you up, and you’re a better person for it.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve met so many wonderful people here, and it has been amazing to watch us all transition and do great things in our lives.

  6. Soul Walker 05/15/2013 at 8:51 am #

    I like your attitude. Still… there are perfect moments. I don’t mean to detract from anything you said here in this post… but I just want you to know that I am one of the least naive most pessimistic people you will ever come into contact with and I have to tell you that I have had some perfect moments. I haven’t had very many of them mind you… but they were awesome. You should keep being awesome and have a lovely day. Cheers.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:43 am #

      I do agree with your point, but I think that exists in the attitude about whatever it is. A perfect moment to kiss someone, get married, to finally go skydiving. There is risk involved in all of those things, but we don’t perceive that for whatever reason.

      I’ve had them too, and when you feel it…you FEEL it.

      • Soul Walker 05/16/2013 at 10:31 am #

        True… and you are completely correct about never having ALL of your ducks in a row before having to make big decisions.

        • Jen and Tonic 05/16/2013 at 12:00 pm #

          And even if you did, one of those ducks could get out of line the moment you make your decision. I think you’re right, just enjoy the few perfect moments we can have.

  7. christineandthewords 05/15/2013 at 8:42 am #

    This post made my morning :). Well, this post and a whole crap load of coffee!

    • Soul Walker 05/15/2013 at 8:52 am #

      A crap load of coffee goes a long way… I’m about to start with that myself.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:40 am #

      If you ever have to make a choice between reading this blog, or drinking coffee, just know that I fully support your choice of coffee.

  8. mollytopia 05/15/2013 at 2:17 am #

    I completely relate to this whole post and I love it… “living in chaos, like my adult life to be as controlled as possible…I’m the most imperfect perfectionist you’ll ever meet.” Awesome. (me, too)

    And this: Complacency is the death of a person’s spirit, and that seems significantly worse than any other possible outcome. (yes!)

    There is beauty and magic in beginning. Looking forward to updates!

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:38 am #

      You’re right, there absolutely is beauty and magic in the start of something. I think we (I) get so caught up in the thoughts of the future that we fail to see all of the wonderful starting points happening all around us.

  9. benzeknees 05/14/2013 at 10:55 pm #

    I bought my first house when I was 21 – I just couldn’t justify paying someone else’s mortgage anymore. I had to borrow money for the down payment, borrow money for the closing costs & borrow money for the lawyer’s fees (parents & grandmother). Then I worked a lot of part time jobs until every penny I borrowed from my family was paid back & I only had my mortgage to worry about.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:37 am #

      SMART! Borrowing from the bank, or borrowing from family, it’s all the same amount of work to get it paid off. I love that you had that kind of sense at a young age.

  10. PinotNinja 05/14/2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Do it for the Hoff!

    Seriously though, by being able to articulate this, and to do it so well to boot, you’ve shown yourself (and all of us, too, but you’re the important one here) that you are absolutely ready to throw down some roots and stake out a little piece of this world to call your own.

    I accidentally bought my house (really — those real estate agents are tricky. I was just putting in an offer “for practice” so that I could learn how real estate worked and then it was accepted and then i had a house. What?!) almost 5 years ago in a city I had just moved to with a job that I knew would only last for 2 years. It was bananas. But, 5 years later, I found another job that I absolutely love and hope to do for a very long time, I made an incredible family of friends, and, after a lot of love, frustration and time spent you-tubeing home repairs, my little accidental house has been transformed into my very favorite place that I get to fill up with my friends and family all the time.

    If I could make it work, anyone can. Trust me. I’m a mess.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:36 am #

      A coworker used to have a sign above her desk that read, “Accidents Happen.” I asked her about it, and she said it reminded her that sometimes the best things happen to us by accident. Her husband, kids, home, that job, her car…they had all happened sort of on their own. She believed she had the best life because she believed that bad “mistakes” led to good things, and good “mistakes” led to great things.

  11. Lyssapants 05/14/2013 at 4:37 pm #

    You deserve good things. I am excited for you!

  12. The Waiting 05/14/2013 at 4:23 pm #

    This is amazing and wonderful. I have told myself many of the same things before but I never believed them because I doubt my own credibility. I’m bookmarking this post and keeping it so you can remind me that there is never a perfect time for things. Your words are really powerful and motivating, Jen.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:30 am #

      Doubting one’s own credibility, that’s what it is! It’s so funny because if someone was to come to you, you’d encourage them, telling them they can do it. That it’ll all be okay. We need to start doing that for ourselves.

  13. The Bumble Files 05/14/2013 at 4:00 pm #

    Jen, I really like what you said about that fear just exists in the moment right before your first step. Because once you jump off, that’s it. There’s no turning back. Well said! Yes, do it. You won’t look back, and I have a feeling, you won’t regret it either. Wishing you the best!

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:30 am #

      Exactly. You can’t say, “Hey, you know what? I didn’t want to jump off the ledge. Air, if you could just push me back up, that’d be great.” You just have to get into cat mode, and land on your feet somehow.

  14. Dawn Clancy 05/14/2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Love this right here! “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” I really needed to read this today. Thank you:)

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:29 am #

      I’m gad it helped. Whatever it is you’re worried about, I’m sure it’ll all work out!

  15. writerwendyreid 05/14/2013 at 3:49 pm #

    Good for you Jenn and good luck! I also love the checkerboard floor in the kitchen. 🙂

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:28 am #

      Checkerboard seems to be popular! I’m going to pay someone to do it because if I do it myself, it will end up looking like an impressionist painting.

  16. Amanda Fox 05/14/2013 at 1:51 pm #

    I laid a black and white checkerboard on the kitchen floor in our first house. I miss it. Good luck with everything. And no, don’t wait.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:27 am #

      Checkerboard is just so damn cool. I think I have a strange obsession with diners and the 60’s, and things that make my floor look less messy than they are.

  17. TJLubrano 05/14/2013 at 12:09 pm #

    AH! I’ve could fly through the screen to high five you I so would! There will never be the “perfect” time, just like there is no “perfect balance”, it’s perfect until change occurs again. I am SO excited and happy for you. You deserve only the best in life 🙂

    Make time yours, lovely lady.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:27 am #

      “…it’s perfect until change occurs again.” Totally true. You just have to just go with the flow which is NOT easy for me, but something I’m actively working on.

      When I buy my house, you and Ancilla will have a place to stay if you ever visit 🙂

  18. Anette 05/14/2013 at 11:58 am #

    Jen, this is wonderful! A nice lil kick in the rear end. Thanks for sharing your Hasselhoff collage.

    • Jen and Tonic 05/15/2013 at 11:22 am #

      Feel free to print it and swoon anytime you want.

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