You know those roads you drive down every day? The ones you don’t have to think about because they’re so familiar and easy to navigate? Well, after five years living in LA, I felt like my life was one of those. I had a cool job, a routine, and a great group of friends. However, I didn’t feel like I was growing as much as I would have liked. In fact, everything was
delightfully boring, and I was going stir crazy.
I needed to experience new things, so I made little half-hearted attempts to shake things up. Things like buying new furniture, rearranging my apartment, and trying new restaurants. But these were so minor that they ultimately didn’t do much to subdue that growing ball of tension inside.
I started thinking about bigger changes, like moving, getting another job, traveling more, or even – gasp – taking a dance class. But, wouldn’t you know it, the all-knowing voice in my head managed to come up with excuses for each and every one of them.
So, I stayed on the same road. The safe one. The obvious one. The path that would lead me to Success (with a capital S). The one that wouldn’t disrupt my life. The one that wouldn’t get me laughed at. The road that never left my comfort zone.
But when I take a deep breath and honestly reflect, I was really just on A path that appeared in front of me. I wasn’t doing much to actively head towards my own dreams1 – in fact, I had completely lost track of them. Opportunities would simply appear in front of me, and that little voice would know just what to say…
I think of dreams as the important things in your life that fill you with joy, and you’re happy to spend your time on. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve certainly worked on loads of important things over the years – I grew a department, launched new products, got promoted, worked with amazing people, (etc. etc. etc.). But the problem was that they were things that were important to other people. Worse yet, they had started to become things that made me dread getting up in the morning (well, not the coworkers – they were pretty legit).
I wish I could say the cause of these feelings was an easy thing to spot. But much like you sometimes don’t realize that you made a wrong turn until you reach a dead end, I didn’t come to this realization until that little ball of tension was about to pop. I had stopped seeing the positive things in life, and was letting fear and frustration be my GPS.
Time for a change
I decided I needed to make a serious change. That I needed to reacquaint myself with my dreams, find some new ones, and take time to figure out what’s important to me. After a lot of introspection, I realized the only way I would be able to do that is by plotting a literal and figurative route straight out of my comfort zone2.
I have since left my job. I’m giving up the sweet deal I have on my Westside apartment. I’m in the process of divesting myself of the rooms full of crap I’ve accumulated over the years. And I’m breaking up with the annoying little voice inside my head.
I hope to find a meaningful path. One that has me jumping out of bed first thing in the morning and still leaves me energized at the end of the day. One that helps me see the world in new ways, and lets me make some sort of an impact. Who knows, this new path may be a left turn away from one of those comfortable roads I already drive down every day.
But unless I take the time to explore, I might never find out. So my journey starts now. With a road trip.
Footnotes and junk.
- “Devin, you seriously used the word ‘dreams’ in a serious sentence?“. Yup, sure did. I know it has become a cliché for my generation, but I haven’t quite figured out a better word to describe what I mean. Shrug.
- One notable departure from my comfort zone is what you’re currently reading (all 5 of you). As an introvert, the thought of making my ideas available online elicits little twitches in my right eye. Add to that my opinion that writing a blog about yourself is an inherently narcissistic exercise, and the little voice in my head starts queuing up the excuses. But, seeing as how we broke up, I’m ignoring excuses and am doing it for two reasons:
- For me. When I look back on this time in my life, I want to be able to remember what I went through (the good, and the bad). Typically I keep a lot of what happens in my noggin’ safely stashed up there. However, I’ve found the simple act of writing it down helps to bring order to the chaos.
- For others. I can’t tell you how many people have asked me “where will I be able to follow your journey/travels/trip/etcetera“. After about the 50th person asking, I’ve come to think someone might find at least some part of what I go through interesting. Who? Beats me. But it will be here for your perusal. I
don’t intend tohope not to get long-winded with it, though. You’re welcome?