Everyone is so eager to change/quit things in their lives – moving, weight, hair, boyfriends/girlfriends, jobs. And I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve done it way more than most. I’ve lived in New York, Chicago, Baltimore, Nashville, Los Angeles, Paris, England, Princeton, New York, Philadelphia and even Altoona, Iowa (for a hot second). I’ve changed my hair from red to green to blue to platinum to brown to highlights to short to long to bangs and back again. I’ve changed careers from acting to writing to casting to social media marketing. I’ve dropped out of college and gone back to finish.
I thought of myself as never settling for status quo, as someone who always pushed the boundaries and sometimes, I would even accept that I was courageous for making these changes.
But there is a time when courage comes from staying put. There is a time when one needs to stop blaming outside circumstances for one’s unhappiness, shame, or tough times. There is a time when there is nothing that change will let you (me) hide from, run away from or ignore any longer.
When a job gets hard, our friends say “Just quit!” When we get in a fight with our significant other, our family tells us “Dump his ass!” When we complain about our constant headaches, our doctor shoves a pill down our throat.
I’m not saying anything new or anything you haven’t heard before, but the amazing thing to me is just how easy it can be to just leave. We convince ourselves of the opposite – we convince ourselves that change takes courage and triumph and balls, and that we are the better person for standing up for what we believe in. But what if instead of leaving and stepping out, we tried to learn from it? We had a conversation about it? Or we didn’t just quit?
Maybe it’s just me – maybe this is my pattern, and most people reading this do stick things out way past their expiration date, have never quit a job or moved to a different city. I kind of think with a 50% divorce rate though, that I’m not the only one. I kind of think that we don’t take time to sit still and learn from it..enough.
At this period of my life, one month before my 30th birthday, I’m ready to stick it out. Don’t get me wrong, if shit goes wrong, and I’ve tried everything I possibly can to fix it – and I mean everything, then and only then will I move/quit/leave. But I almost wonder if most of us know what that point is…have we truly stopped complaining and dreaming of the other side long enough to really know if we’ve given it our all? Or are we so consumed with keeping up with that idea of who we “should” be or who we “ought” to be, that we don’t listen to what we ourselves are doing wrong – what we are doing to make things wrong and bad.
I haven’t, and that is where I am in life. At this stage of my life, I’m ready to change…and by change, I mean, change me – not my circumstance, not my job, not my partner, not my city…but ME. And I suppose that’s easier to say from someone who, despite changing everything else, every other external circumstance, in her life – she realizes that through it all, shit has stayed the same…
There can only be one other thing left to do…
And this part of my life will be even more scary than any move/hair color/job change could ever be…because it’s time to face the music.