They say change is good. Try something new. Follow your gut.
But what happens when all of the above seems as scary and unnecessary as well, staying in the same place?
The truth is, for all of 28 years, the only place I ever followed my gut was to decide on dinner plans. Raised with an innate sense of "You can't do that," I always thought the big bad world outside of my comfortable little Long Island cocoon was there for others to conquer and take over, while I sat back and dreamed. Staying in the same place felt like the only option.
As a complicated woman, with a serious past and some even more serious self-confidence issues, I had convinced myself that the "happy endings" were for everyone else. All of the pressure to settle down, get married, and start a family became white noise in a brain that was certain I was not worthy of such a typical outcome. I knew my faults and my quirks and hated myself for them -- and began getting comfortable with the notion that I'd be on the sidelines forever, as everyone else continued scoring life-changing touchdowns.
Eternally desperate for something new and hopelessly looking for thrills in all the wrong places, (such as at the bottom of a Patron bottle) I always wondered how long it would be before I cracked, threw in the towel, and finally worked up the courage to set out on my own and actually live a life I deserved. I began wondering if all the right opportunities had passed me by. I grew anxious with the thought of life as I knew it being all I'd ever know. My gut stirred and stirred, but it had yet to connect with my brain.
By the fall of 2011, life felt stale. My relationship was a train wreck. My family had fled cold, dark, New York for a warm winter in Florida. I'd wake up each day hoping to magically figure things out -- and go to bed at night feeling defeated for not having figured it out yet.
On the morning of January 6th, 2012, I got all the answers I'd ever need. As that white car sped toward me, head on, coming for me like a bat out of hell, I had a brief moment of "this is it, this is how it ends, my worries are over." Instinct (and my gut) quickly kicked in, however, and I thought fast, trying anything to save my life. I braked as hard as I could, trying to swerve out of the way before realizing it was too late -- and braced for impact.
For almost 5 months, the broken bones, the scars, the surgeries, and the anger were all I had to keep me occupied. My life, my body, and my spirit, had all literally fallen apart. Yet strangely, I knew instantly that this was the best thing that had ever happened to me. This was my chance to start over -- yet again. Realizing now that I had been broken down so badly, this 2nd chance at life not only became a blessing in disguise -- it was my opportunity to rebuild. Only this time, I was going to make it count.
Six-months post recovery, I watched as my belongings got hauled in a large moving truck as I set off for the airport one-way ticket in hand. On the morning of October 14th, 2012, I finally did it. I started over. I left all of my friends, a boyfriend, and the comforts and discomforts of all I ever knew behind in New York, with a fearless determination to start fresh in South Florida. While the thought of leaving behind every safety-net I had ever known scared the shit out of me, and with a confidence level that was not quite where it needed to be, it took coming this close to death to finally trust my gut, believe in the power of the universe, and MOVE -- onward and upward.
The truth is, my gut always knew that there was a life, a better life, waiting for me in South Florida. I visited Miami frequently throughout my childhood and would beg my mom to relocate us. I traveled to Miami monthly with friends in my adulthood and would beg anyone I knew to move down south with me in search of something different. I had no concept of why I wanted to be there -- but my gut always knew.
To say that following my gut was empowering would be a gross understatement. It was the most liberating, self-confidence-boosting endeavor I'd ever undertaken. Being forced out of my comfort zone brought me opportunities I never dreamed of. The ones I had long ago deemed as "not for someone like me."
It may not seem like a huge move for you, but for me it was everything. With one bold move, one amazing experience of letting my life fall apart, it all came back together again: stronger, faster, and better than ever. I picked up the pieces, and put together many more.
My friends back in New York often make remarks about how different I am now. I am different now, I needed to change. They mention how much happier I seem since I made my move, built a family, and began finding success in my dream career. I am happier, I deserve to be.
Some say, "You're so lucky, everything turned out so much better for you."
To that I say, "It wasn't luck -- it was my gut."