“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.”
A few weeks ago, this Anaïs Nin quote made its way into my life, and I broke down in tears as soon as I read it. I knew that for too long, I had remained tight in a bud. I was playing it safe, too safe, and I knew I had to make a change. While my heart was trying to let me know what I wanted, I used logic instead and told myself to wait, that it wasn’t my time yet. Deep down, I knew that wasn’t true.
I was in a bad place, so when I got to North Carolina for my backpacking trip, I knew that I was going to have to do some soul searching on the trail. For five days, all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other, so listening to my heart became easy.
By the end of the trip, I knew what I had to do. It was time for me to stop sitting at the crossroads and go after my dreams, even if it wasn’t going to be easy. Which is why, for the first September in eight years, there was no classroom for me to decorate, no lessons to prepare, no seating charts to make up, and no back to school jitters. While all my friends and former co-workers meet for the first day back at school, I’ll be off on a new adventure.
This is very bittersweet for me, as I loved teaching and the place I taught for the past seven years, but deep down, I know this is my time; everything about it feels right.
That’s not to say I am not scared, terrified is the word I have been using. But, I keep thinking of Georgia O’Keeffe’s words,
“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life, and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”
I get that you have to jump off cliffs from time to time, but I have never jumped without seeing exactly where I am going to land. I have plans for my future, and I know what I’m going to do, but it is entirely up to me. There’s no contract, no set salary, no structure; it’s a risk, but it would be equally risky not to go after my dreams.
As a teacher, I always pushed my students to reach their goals and pursue their dreams. I would constantly tell them to listen to their hearts and their callings in life, no matter what anyone else had to say. What role model was I if I didn’t at least listen to my own advice?
So, I am setting out to create the life I have always wanted for myself. I know there are bound to be plenty of ups and downs throughout its creation, but I also know that if I don’t do this now, if I don’t take this leap, I will never do it.
“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”
Hugh Laurie has a point, and while there are aspects of this decision that are definitely scary, I know without a doubt that it’s the right one for me. The next few months are going to be filled many interesting adventures and stories, I can promise you that.