Don't Choose Unhappiness Over Uncertainty
When I was in my 20’s, I wanted to move. Quit my job, pack up my things and move. I was living in Jacksonville Florida working at a marketing agency. My life wasn’t bad, but I knew I was intended for more. I thought about moving all the time. I made list of cities I would move to - Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and Austin. I had only been to two of those cities at that time. I occasionally looked at jobs online, but that was a different time and the internet wasn’t anything like it is today and getting a job in another city wasn't as easy as it is now. I thought I needed a lot of money to move and I barely made any money at that point. Even living on a budget, I didn’t have a penny in savings. I’m making excuses. I just didn’t want it bad enough. The uncertainty of it all scared me. So I just wished and dreamed, but I didn’t act.
I stayed in Jacksonville for 15 years and it’s one of my biggest regrets. I feel like I robbed myself of so many things - life experiences, new friends, financial gain, the confidence that comes with taking risks and trying new things. In the spirit of pure honesty, I even wonder if my husband was in that city. I wonder how I haven’t, by 42, met anyone I wanted to marry (or who wanted to marry me, I guess) and I slip into this story that if I had just moved in my 20’s like I wanted to, he would have been there. In Austin. Or Chicago. Or Atlanta. Not Boston. Boston snows too much.
If I could go back to that young girl and whisper in her ear, I would say this: “you have every resource, talent and opportunity that anyone else has - probably more. You can do this. Make a plan and get the eff out.” I would have told her to get a part time weekend job and save like crazy to have enough to move and get a place. I could get any job (waiting tables, working in retail) in the new city while I found my new full time job. I would have told her she’d make new friends. I would have told her she’d pay her bills. I would have told her she wouldn’t be alone, homeless, jobless, a failure.
But I wasn’t there to tell that girl the truth. And she was too young to have the life experience to know things almost always turn out amazingly and that she could do anything she set her mind to and that the universe conspires DAILY for her success and happiness.
But I’m here now. So I’m telling you. If you’re reading this or listening to my podcast and you feel stuck or unhappy in some (or many) parts of your life, I want you to know something:
I didn’t tell anyone about my dreams of moving and starting over in a new city. I kept them to myself. Tell someone who you trust and love. Voice this dream to give it life. Then write down your plan. Do you want to move (apartments, cities, countries)? Do you need to end a toxic relationship? Do you want to start a business or a side business?
Stop choosing unhappiness over uncertainty. I did that for way too many years. I was playing small and playing safe. And for those of you reading this saying, “well yeah but if you hadn’t stayed in Jacksonville then you wouldn’t be where you are today.” I disagree. I LOVE my life now, but I can simultaneously love my life now and wish I had made different decisions in the past. They can co-exist. I don’t buy into that “no regrets” mantra. I have regrets. If I could go back, there are things I would do differently. This is one of them.
Don’t look back days, months or years from now and regret the unhappiness you’re choosing over the uncertainty. And don’t say it’s not a choice because you know it is. With very few exceptions, whatever the thing is that’s making you unhappy is a choice. I’ll say it again. Don’t choose unhappiness over uncertainty. Know that you’ll be better off than you are now because when you intentionally choose your path in life, the universe rewards you. Big time.