It seems there’s a movement going on that is pushing people to take risks and prioritize for their own happiness. Folks are changing jobs, opening their own businesses, and moving to new places to start over and find joy. I don’t know if this is happening just to people in my circle or if it’s a larger trend, but the word has been that the slow economy has held people captive in jobs they don’t enjoy for long enough and they’re ready to take a risk and move on. I would like to join this movement.
For three years, I’ve worked in a job I don’t enjoy, in a state I don’t want to live in. When I think about why I’ve stayed, it’s been about a guy, money, the fear of picking up and finding a new job in a tight economy, and the realization that I’m getting close to 30 and I don’t want to have to buy yet another set of dishes (or admit that I don’t really have roots). If I could do anything that’s at least somewhat practical and doesn’t require expatriation, I would go back to Boston and take my life back. But I haven’t yet. Because I’m scared.
Four years ago, almost to the day, I moved away from Boston broke, cold, and defeated. I quit my job by accident* and didn’t have anything to fall back on; temp-work is great, but it’s hard to pay the bills that way when there are student loans and high rent. I guess you could say I couldn’t hack it; I failed. I moved back across the country to my home state and have regretted it ever since; I really don’t enjoy it when I run into people from high school. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve said “when I lived in Boston,” annoying absolutely everyone, I would be able to take that pile of money and fund the move.
I know people will argue that our demons follow us everywhere; I’m fairly certain that mine are just as tired of moving as I am, but I think they liked Boston. At least they mostly left me alone while we lived there. I felt like I was home, or at least closer to it than I am now; I had a life that I was in control of (except for that job thing) and felt proud and whole and strong. Last week I visited Boston for the first time since I moved away and it was magical to be back on the East Coast with friends who haven’t forgotten me and still love my quirks. There really is something about being in synch with the city around you and knowing that you belong there; it’s an unmistakable feeling.
One of my favorite people in Boston and my former yoga teacher quoted Bikram Choudhury (the founder of Bikram Yoga and an interesting character all around) by saying “if you have your feet in two boats, you go nowhere and you split your ass” when we were talking about the possibility that I may be moving back. He followed that up with, “come on Westcoast, don’t be a chicken shit” (I miss these people more than they could ever know). I believe he has a point.
Because I don’t want fear to completely stunt my life progress, I’m going to put both feet in my Boston boat and see what happens. It’s the New Year after all and people always get crazy ideas around this time, so I’ll have something to blame it on if I fuck it all up and end up destitute.
So, dear readers, is there anything you’re not doing because you’re afraid? Or have you made a big life change lately that has been positive and all that you’d hoped? Share your stories!
*It’s generally considered a bad practice to tell your less than loyal employer that you’re not really happy doing what you’re doing and you’d like to start looking for other employment. What I thought was fair and considerate was actually my unintended two-week’s notice.