Hi, my name is Nicole and I’ve decided to upend my life for the sake of happiness and adventure and new beginnings.
So what does that mean exactly? It means that I’ve decided to leave my steady, full-time job where I’ve been becoming increasingly unhappy since sometime in 2016. It means that I’ve decided to embark on a month-long adventure in South America, specifically in Chile and Peru. It means that when I return, I’ll most likely be moving to a new city, exact details yet to be determined.
As I’m writing this, it feels like a natural next step, though I realize many people will find it shocking. But the seed for this new beginning was planted ages ago, and I’ve been actively planning for this transition for months. In fact, there was never a pivotal moment where I made the decision to move forward with my plans. It was a gradual process- first it was just a daydream, then I started seriously thinking about it and researching plans, pretending as if I was actually going through with it. And then I began telling friends and making more detailed plans, and suddenly one day I woke up and realized that in all my thinking and researching, I had already taken the necessary first steps. The rest was just following up on what I had left to do.
Since I first started talking about my ideas I’ve experienced a full range of reactions from people. Some were surprisingly supportive, others predictably so. Some were outright against it and have tried to convince me that I’m making a mistake. Some people told me I’m crazy. Some have supported me in order to please me, but haven’t really hidden their trepidation. Some people have been excited for me in the same way they’re excited about robots or space travel: it’s really cool, but they’re too far removed to really care. Some people tell me they just don’t understand why I’m doing this, and honestly that’s the hardest for me to deal with.
Why? Because I don’t know how to explain the complexities behind my decision. There is no one reason why I’ve decided to seek a new beginning, and none of the reasons that I can identify are easy to describe. How can I explain what it’s like to look around and realize my life choices have led me to a place I don’t really want to be in? Or that I don’t want to be the person I’m on track to become? I feel like somewhere along the line I’ve changed, or maybe I’ve spent too much time living up to others’ expectations and I’m just finally getting in touch with what I really want.
Over the past year or so I’ve tried to pinpoint specific areas of my life that were contributing to my lack of spirit: this coworker, that toxic friend, this part of my job, those relationships that ended, etc. But focusing on these areas didn’t bring about much change. I was focusing on small details, but I needed to step back and look at the big picture.
There were so many small things piling up that I began to see. It was clicking the “spend analyzer” button on my credit card account, and realizing that I’ve been spending way too much money dining out and drinking in order to distract myself from my own reality. It was an incredibly stupid and out-of-character decision I made that could have had catastrophic consequences. It was hearing the bitterness in my voice when I talked about certain situations, and noticing that I’ve been dropping way more f-bombs than I ever used to. It was a difficult, drunken conversation that I only half-remember with someone I cared about, someone who has probably impacted me more than he will ever know. It was being surrounded by bold, inspiring women on a mountaintop in Oregon and finally understanding that I, too, am a #ForceofNature. It was finally letting all those quotes I liked on Instagram sink in- that big rewards come from big risks, that nothing changes if you don’t do anything differently, that it only takes one step to start moving forward.
So here I am in 2018- it’s a new year and soon I’m embarking on new adventure and anticipating a new beginning. In another week or so I’ll have a new haircut to complete the “new year new you” cliche. I’ll be updating this blog with stories about all my experiences near and far, so feel free to follow along and laugh/cry/judge at your leisure. I’m excited about everything that’s happening, and I can’t wait to see where these adventures take me.