I watch my friends from home, continue to never make a new home, to never step outside of their comfort zone, and I can’t help but wonder how they don’t feel suffocated.
I grew up quickly two years ago, in a spurt of progress, a burst of epiphanies. I realized things that before I had ignored, I dug up things I had long ago buried. And as time has pushed forward, so has my faith, and my beliefs, and ideas and dreams and vision. I find that girl of old to be a shadow of who I am today: something attached only by the constraints of physical connection.
My hometown is beautiful; the fall leaves color the trees, and the ocean blesses the air with its sweet, salty fragrance. Downtown is littered with boutiques and locally owned restaurants, and people live eco-friendly, riding their bikes and recycling. People smile at you on your morning run, and dogs lick your palms when you see them in the park.
But what people forget is that this is simply a corner of the world, and literally the corner of the United States. We live in a pocket of small comforts and cloudy days. They forget that there is so much more to see.
I struggle to accurately describe this to my friends. I tug on their hands, but they never make any attempt to climb out of their rut.
It amazes me how so many people step into a pit of quick sand, and never even notice that they are sinking.
Sometimes, I feel afraid. Sometimes, I second guess myself. I second guess my abilities, and my skill, and my talent, and my dreams. Sometimes, I feel like what I want for my life is naïve and unrealistic.
I am a practical person. I enjoy making lists with check boxes next to them, and then checking those boxes off. I make schedules that are color coded. I recently discovered the organizational joy of budgeting. I am tight with my money, and cringe every time I fill up my gas tank. I think about my future family and how I want to give them everything; soccer uniforms, dance lessons, a college education. I like productivity, and knowledge, and control, and planning.
Being a nurse seemed to be the perfect career for someone like me, a practical, steady, guaranteed job. Yet, when I was on that path, I was losing myself.
Because there is more to me than the girl who wants to be stable not only for herself, but for everyone else that will someday walk into her life and be important.
I love music, and fashion, and the inner workings of people’s minds, and the chaos of relationships, and the way words can be used elegantly, and the way events fit into one another like puzzle pieces, and coffee shops that are open late, and city skylines that ceaselessly glow, and accurately describing a feeling, and capturing a moment through a lens, and music festivals, and people who make no sense to me, and people who completely make sense to me, and staying up late exploring a city, and long drives with your feet on the dashboard, and getting inside other people’s lives, and heightened senses, and culture, and puddle jumping, and long walks in the rain, and the perfect plate of phad thai, and the onset of fall, and jumping up and down at a concert, and swaying to the chords of an acoustic guitar, and hearing/sharing other peoples stories.
And I realized, as I discovered myself in writing that my life needed to include the things that I was so incredibly passionate about. I couldn’t stand on the sidelines, wrapped in the comforts of my practical career, while the characters in my stories lived the life I so desperately wanted.
So I took a leap of faith, one that is scariest probably because the fate of it all sits in my hands.
I may be poor for a while, I may have to write dozens of novels before I get it right, I may be a reporter for a daily newspaper, I may get hundreds of rejection letters, I may have to be away from my family for a while, I may have to sometimes relinquish the control that I crave.
But I’ll be damned if I’m not one of those success stories you read about, or hear about from a friend of a friend.