Perception | You are Worth it!
Two years ago, my boyfriend and I packed our bags and moved our lives from Calgary to Vancouver. The decision was quick, and on a whim. We moved knowing very little about the situation we were throwing ourselves into.
I’d accepted a three-month contract at the company of my dreams but had no way of knowing if I’d be extended beyond the probation period (and if not, then what?) We’d found an apartment to live in, but it was only available for two months, after which we’d have to find somewhere permanent (in a very unstable housing market). My boyfriend was moving with no secure job, hoping he could break into a new industry. We were in a fickle financial situation and moving to one of the most expensive cities to live in Canada was daunting. Our immediate families and close friends were all based in Calgary; we’d be moving to a place where we’d know a handful of people.
We were taking a risk, swapping comfort and safety for the unknown. What if things didn’t work out the way we wanted or imagined? What if they didn’t work out at all?
Regardless of the outcome, we'd made a pact to take this risk.
It was a Sunday evening and we were eating take out on our balcony. We’d just spent the day reorganizing and decorating our apartment. We’d moved in a few months before, but we’d both been working long hours and busy with other priorities that we’d put off unpacking and making our apartment feel like home.
“Are you happy?” I asked my boyfriend. I’d cut into his conversation about something completely irrelevant and off topic.
He looked at me, surprised.
“As happy as one can get,” he responded.
“But do you think you’re living a life that makes you happy?”
I knew the answer was no.
The fact that we disliked our current jobs and wished that we could break into new industries was a common conversation between us. Our careers were mentally and physically draining us. We weren’t passionate about what were doing, and we were only working in the industries we were in because the money was good. We also dreamed about living in a different city and taking the time to be selfish for ourselves, while we didn’t have kids and other personal responsibilities. But when were we going to make that step? I wanted to stop dreaming about the what ifs.
This struck me in a big way. Why had we settled like this so long, and what favors was this doing us?
I dropped my chopsticks in my lap.
“What’s holding us back?” I asked him.
“Why aren’t we living the lives we want to live - the ones we always talk and dream about.”
He stared at me for a moment. I half expected him to say I was crazy, since I’m the idealist in our relationship (and he’s the more rational one).
“You’re right,” he said.
It was there, we decided to make the leap.
We quit our jobs. Transferred the lease on our apartment and sold our furniture. Packed up our newly decorated home. Said goodbye to our family and friends. And, within two weeks of that conversation, we were on our way to Vancouver.
This was probably one of the craziest, scariest and riskiest things I’ve ever done. I’ve always made all choices in my life from a place of comfort and certainty, and this was completely out of character. If a decision requires substantial change, I won’t do it. If it scares me, I’ll immediately put the thought out of mind. If it requires adequate effort, I’ll ignore it. If I don’t know the outcome, I won’t even think about it for more than three seconds without it being a resounding no.
But, this means I’ve always settled for a mediocre outcome in every decision I’ve made in my life up to this point, rather than living into a life that best serves and excites me, keeps me on my toes and above all, makes me happy. I’ve been sheltering myself from a life that I really deserve.
And though this decision was not one that is characteristically me, I can wholeheartedly say: it is one of the best I’ve ever made because I’m living a life that I’ve always truly wanted.
I can’t even begin to explain the mental and physical shift that occurs within you when you put your time and energies into the things that you care about every day. And the magic that happens when you place yourself first so you can be selfish for YOU and what YOU want in your life.
Of course, some outcomes as a result haven’t been easy. But, these challenges have been beautiful learning experiences which have helped me grow and learn to embrace uncertainty and the pitfalls in life which I used to ignore (things which I’ve come to realize are perfectly natural and human).
If I can offer you one tip (channeling my inner Baz Luhrmann, while advising you to also always wear sunscreen) it would be this: never settle for a mediocre life. Live the life you want, the one that makes you happy and makes the hair on your arms stand up, gives you butterflies and excited to roll out of bed in the morning. You deserve it. And it's waiting for you.