On November 7th of 2015, I got on a my first transatlantic flight. I flew to Oslo, Norway. From there I would spend the next six months of my life meeting amazing people, exploring new places, expanding my world view, and learning quite a lot about- myself. But this isn’t that story. This is me thinking a bit about something that I learned in hindsight, looking back at all of the things that got me on that plane.
In the months leading up to my departure, I knew that I should be making plans, saving. But I’m a habitual procrastinator, and I often just let life- well, happen. And it did. Quite hectically for a time. Really it was a bit of a mess. For our purposes, the most important thing was that I bought a plane ticket anyways. Because I made this crazy plan and I was going to follow through with it no matter what. Even though life events made saving more difficult than I’d planned. Even though I wasn’t exactly sure yet where I’d stay or how long I’d be gone. There was no job waiting for me when I’d come back. I had a place to stay and a place to work for the first month and a half. And then I had place to work and a possible place to stay for the third month. Everything else was still up in the air. Even how I would get to place to place. Overshadowed by uncertainty- or maybe freed by it; I took a leap of faith. Bumbled my way through the Visa process (I know a lot more about that now). A few friends helped me put my shit in storage, I spent a couple days trying to get the rest of my stuff in some semblance of order, and with an immense outpouring of love and care from the friends that have become my New York family, I left.
What I am trying to remind myself of now- what I learned from this experience; is that it isn’t necessarily having all of your ducks in a row, or being the best planner, or having your life be in whatever kind of place you might think it needs to be in order for you to succeed. It’s the motivation to just do the thing you want to do that’s more important than all of these things. I’m not saying don’t plan. Please don’t take this as an invitation to be as crazy as me. What I’m saying is that my motivation to get on that plane and to go abroad and follow through with this plan was more important to me than all of the obstacles in my way. Including the obstacles that I put there myself. I made it happen. With a little (okay a lot) of help from friends and family. But it was my motivation that got me there.
“I have to remind myself over and over again that I am the one that will make my goals a reality. It’s not always easy to remember.”
So now let me explain why I’m back reminiscing on this particular life lesson. Recently I moved to California. I decided that I had a small business to start and a goal to reach. I was going to find a part time job, an apartment in the Bay Area near friends, and get to work on my business plan. A few months have gone by. Finding the right job and a place to live have proven difficult. For a while I was stagnant on my goal to grow my business. What was I waiting for? A place to live, unpacking my books and my computer, a job that I could rely on for a steady schedule. None of that was happening. None of it. I’ve been living basically out of a suitcase for over 16 months. My life has not been “normal” or “settled” for a long time. I wanted to unpack so bad that that became my goal. First unpack, then work on my business. I got stuck. Then I got frustrated with myself. Why was I setting barriers in my way? Excuses. There wasn’t anything that was stopping me from getting to work except myself.
I decided to stop waiting for my ducks to be in a row. To move past this idea of normalcy and to just push myself to start making something. Life- is going to keep happening. Because I am still me- it will probably keep happening quite hectically. I will hopefully find a job that will allow me to concentrate on the work that I think is important. I will hopefully find a place to live, so I can unpack my computer and improve my workflow. So I can spend a little less time in the car and more time being productive.
“Don’t forget how important life is while you’re waiting to get it in order.”
I’m not holding my breath. I have seen that when something matters, you find the time, you make the effort, you move on it. You get your butt out of bed – stop snuggling with all of those pillows, Amanda, I mean it- and make a change. One step at a time. One day at a time. And- remember that you have friends. Use them. They are a great help. For encouragement, accountability, inspiration, or even just an excuse to take a break. To live life. Don’t forget how important life is while you’re waiting to get it in order. (HA!) Or stop worrying so much about getting it in order and embrace its chaos. Heck, I don’t know. I’m trying here.
Knowing myself, I am aware that this is not the first or the last message of self motivation that I will publish. So thank you, for bearing with me.
All of the best,