So here's the thing: my whole life I have felt like everyone around me has had this mentality that to be successful meant going to college and being $50,000 plus in debt, getting a job that pays the same per year, getting married, having kids and buying a house. Maybe getting a dog and for sure having a car they paid well over $10,000 for. I have never agreed with that though. I don't think that to be successful means owning a house and being in a relationship and having what "everyone else" does. Being successful means doing what makes you happy, and doing what you're passionate about. Don't have a fancy car? That's fine. Aren't tens of thousands in debt? That's awesome! Don't want to get married and "settle down?" As long as you're happy, who cares what others think!
I don't want to settle down at 28, get married, and be "stuck." Yes I've been content with my life for the last 8 years in Idaho, but the same restlessness that brought me here is pulling me in another direction. I don't feel like I've accomplished everything I could here, there's always room for more, but I do feel pulled to go do more living. For the last 6 years I've been stuck at a job I'm not passionate about. For 4 of those years I loved it. I loved being able to come in and enjoy my job and feel content, but the last 2 years have shown me why I've never wanted a desk job where I'm not doing anything but lining the pockets of already rich people; I'm not doing any type of social good-- I'm not helping anyone the way I feel I should be.
I moved to Boise when I was 20 years old with a U-Haul trailer full of furniture, 2 cats, a dream job I'd wanted since 7th grade and the only person I knew was my dad, who I had a strained relationship with. Since then I've owned my own "home," (a trailer without hot water, a stove and a quarter of a roof), lived with various different people, was adopted by 2 stray cats, made friends, lost friends, gone to therapy, purchased a dream scooter, become a Big Sister in BBBS to an awesome now adult, helped mentor several children, grown a family of friends, became a Christian, helped start a church that my heart was and is still truly invested in, and been happier than I ever have in my whole life.
2 years ago I was at an Iron and Wine concert at the Knitting Factory where a band I had recently heard of was opening. I went to see the opening band more than I&W and after the show I had a chance to stick around and talk to them for a bit. Besides being one of the best live bands I've ever seen they were also some of the most down to earth people. I ended up talking to one of the guitar players/singers for a while and we were talking about places that are cool to play and where we were from etc. He said he had always wanted to live in Seattle so one day he moved up there. I told him I'd like to live in Austin or D.C., those are my dream places. Then he said something simple that has stuck with me ever since; "why don't you?"
I remember at the time saying something like "work, life, you know." He shrugged it off and accepted it but honestly I have thought about that hundreds of times since that day. At the time I was perfectly content with my life. I had a job I liked, I had a house to live in that I loved, I had great friends and I was doing things I felt were important. Why would I leave when I liked where I was at?
Well fast forward 2 years and I am no longer content with where I am at. Yes I have a place to live that I love, yes I have great friends that take care of me, yes I finally have a church home that I ADORE and truly believe in, but there is still that part of me that isn't settled. I have felt for the last year that I was stuck at my job and I wouldn't be able to leave until I got into the teaching program at BSU in about a year. It honestly never once occurred to me that I could leave. It was always "I'm going to stick it out. I have a secure job, it's not hard, it pays for me to help other people, I have seniority, benefits, vacation time etc. I have an amazing life." But those things aren't enough. Yes the good outways the bad, but I'm not happy. Why stay with something that I'm not happy with? I always say that if people aren't happy with the way things are going, to change it. Yet here I've been for a year doing the same thing and not changing. Well that's all about to change.
I would like to announce that I plan on moving to California in January and seeing where life takes me. The current plan is to stay until August or so and come back, but we'll see what happens. I'm going to be selling all of my stuff gradually and taking only 30ish possessions with me, including my cats. I've processed this with 4 different friends, and each gave me different advice. One said that I need to make sure when I go I make sure I am living with purpose. Another said it's a terrible idea, what are you gonna do there? What are you going to do when you come back? How are you going to afford it? Another said it's a great idea and she's jealous but excited I will be there to go to Disneyland with her. The other was God and he said in no specific terms that I should go and life a life I've imagined and one that will bring honor to Him-- and I will do that.
Several things have happened in the last few weeks that have encouraged me to do this. One of them was a friend from church that without knowing any context or knowing that I have wanted to do this for a long time said to me, "If this is what makes your heart sing-do IT! We would miss you, but you need to live life on purpose!"
Another was a Twitter post of this picture by Zach Braff:
This is something I've been chewing on for a while, and I've wanted to live in California for like a year since I was a teen, and these things happening are helping solidify my decision.
Like I said, this is currently my PLAN. It does not mean this will happen, but with God's will and the prayers and good thoughts of friends and family, this will come to fruition. I don't know where I will stay, I don't know anyone there, I don't know when or if I will come back, I don't know if I will have a job, and I don't know if this will actually happen, but I do know that with a little planning, a lot of heart and determination I will do what my heart desires and live a story worth telling.
Here's a song by the band I was talking about seeing, it gives me chills every single time. Also, they have since become my favorite band and I've traveled to see them several times. When they were in town last year and everyone in the crowd sang along was one of the greatest moments of my life.
Rivers and Roads
Here's another song that I find inspirational. Because there ARE too many things I haven't done yet, and too many sunsets I haven't seen.
Things I Haven't Seen