In a few days, I will be taking on my fourth career opportunity, and I cannot explain how super, wicked excited I am. I even started lining up my outfits for the first week. (I’m totally in my new kid on the first day of school mode!). While most of the feedback I have gotten has been positive and encouraging, my personal leap of faith has scared the crap out of some people. I’ve had people asking me how I will handle my new commute to DC or how I feel about starting back from scratch with vacation time and 4O1K benefits. I even had a now former co-worker admonish me (in a elder statesman way) about leaving my most recent position before my three-year anniversary.
As the worrywart that I can sometimes be, I started plunking these concerns and fears around in my head like a pinball machine. What if I was leaving too soon? What if my new job’s benefits weren’t as good? What if I got stuck on the Metro and couldn’t get home? Before I knew it, I was driving myself a little bit West of Crazy. When I finally decided to come back to reality, I realized that these fears weren’t mine; they belonged to OTHER PEOPLE.
Many of these people that were “afraid for me” were really afraid for THEMSELVES. THEY couldn’t imagine doing something different so they were projecting their fears on to ME. I heard a lot of “Girl, that’s good for you. But I’m too old to start over again,” or “Doing something new might be interesting, but I’ve worked hard to finally get these five weeks of vacation.” I began to see that underneath a lot of these fears was the belief that age, time, limitations, and life circumstances dictated their choices instead of realizing that EVERY DAY gives us the opportunity to powerfully choose our own life adventures.
When I was younger, there was an awesome series of young adult mystery books called “Choose Your Own Adventure.” The neat thing about these books is that you didn’t read them straight through cover to cover. As you read each chapter, you could choose your own adventure based on which part of the mystery you wanted to solve. For example, if the story was about a jewelry heist, the end of the chapter would say, “If you think John stole the jewels and is now on the run, turn to page 29,” or “If you believe that the jewels are hidden in a secret dungeon, turn to page 40.” You could literally read the same book and have six different adventures for the same mystery.
As human beings, I believe that God gives us this same privilege to choose our own adventures, too. If you want to know if that guy really likes you, put on your fiercest outfit and ask him out. If you want to discover how your life would be if you chose a different career, get your resume together and apply for that dream job. If you want to travel to another country, get your passport and your dollars together and GO! The only thing that stops YOU is…(wait for it)…YOU.
Sometimes the comfort of where you are can be the greatest trap for where you REALLY want to be. Don’t get me wrong; comfort, stability, and a steady paycheck are great things. But how much more awesome could our lives be if we chose the adventure of starting that new business or getting serious about our fitness goals or joining a new spiritual community?
One of my favorite scriptures is “I’ve come that you might have life and life MORE ABUNDANTLY.” (John 10:10) That’s not just some pie-in-the-sky fantasy that sounds good in theory, this could be your life. LIKE FOR REAL, not for play play. (I’ll explain “not for play play” to you non-Baltimoreans in another post. ) But my point is why hold on to what’s familiar and safe instead of reaching for a life that is SPECTACULAR and AMAZING?
I realize that I am a very happy vagabond, and I actually thrive on taking new adventures in my life. As my sister Donna so accurately described me a few years ago, “Leah is quite a free bird.” But even if your wings aren’t as loud, colorful, or as bold as mine, I implore you to get out there and CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURES! There’s nothing standing in the way of you having the life you want except for YOU. Stop letting time, age, and circumstances dictate your life and get out there and live that abundant life that is YOURS for the taking.