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The Next Chapter: In Action

Between being single (and dating app-less), travelling solo through the Rockies, and getting stuck for fours hours (literally) hanging on the side of a cliff (from which Squamish Search and Rescue thankfully saved us…), I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on my life over the past few months.

Besides concluding that this summer was quite possibly the best of my entire life (and a stark contrast to last year’s) I came to a number of realizations:

  • I wasn’t as happy as I could be.
  • In order to be happier, I needed to live closer to the mountains, I needed to follow my passion and work in a mental health related career, and I needed a vehicle (to get me to the mountains obviously).
  • For any of this to happen, I had to make some serious changes.

In the back of my mind, I was aware that these were things I had wanted for a long time, but in my many solo summer moments of reflection, I knew the time had finally come to set the plan into motion.

Thoughts Become Things

If you see it in your mind, you will hold it in your hand. – Bob Proctor

Back in the spring, when I first started toying with the idea of leaving my job and moving (see ‘The Next Chapter’), I asked a friend for her advice on reprioritizing my life (and confirmation that I wasn’t crazy). In response, she requested that I write down a list of my goals with specific timelines on a sticky note and put it in my phone case so that it was with me at all times. To be honest, I wasn’t really buying into the idea that the constant presence of a sticky note list could change my life (and maybe even thought she was the crazy one…) but I rolled with it and did as she asked.

As I write this post five months later, the sticky note (which has accompanied me on many hikes, crag climbing days, and survived being dropped into an alpine river [along with my phone…and myself]) is still in the back of my phone case (albeit a bit worse for wear).

Perhaps it was simply a subconscious awareness that I was almost nearing the end of my (subjective) timeline to achieve these goals, but in the span of two weeks – after writing an excessive number of pros and cons lists, calculating my finances, questioning my sanity, and a few conversations with friends/family – I quit my job, found a roommate, gave notice at my apartment, and signed a lease for a place in North Vancouver (with both the mountains and the ocean a stone’s throw away).

Yup. It all happened pretty fast…and definitely not in the order I had initially anticipated. I mean, ideally the security of a new job would have come first – but the opportunity to move presented itself and was far too good to pass up.

Needless to say, there are still some (major) details to iron out – like employment and buying a car (I concluded I can hold off on the future husband for a bit longer) – but I’d say I’ve made some pretty significant progress thus far.

…I guess it turns out that a sticky note can change your life after all.

Me First

Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you – John Maxwell

This summer, for the first time in a very long time, I prioritized my happiness; I dedicated time to my passions; I embraced my independence; I learned to love myself; I followed my heart; I took risks; and most importantly –

I put myself first.

For the majority of my life (or more realistically all of it) I’ve played it safe. I’ve always done what I believed was expected of me. I made responsible choices. I had back up plans for my backup plans. The ducks were always in a row.

Travelling alone in the backcountry? Quitting my job without another job? Moving without knowing where I’ll be working? Sharing my most personal struggles with the world?

I can assure you that these are not things the person I was a year ago ever would have done.

But I am not the person I was a year ago.

I am stronger, I am braver, and I am me.

Falling with Purpose

I’m not going to pretend I’ve got it all figured out.

I’m overwhelmed, I’m stressed, there is a lot of uncertainty around my future, and there are most definitely moments when I start to question if I made the right choices.

Metaphorically, I guess it’s a bit like skydiving…

You want to jump and you know you’re going to jump – but it scares the shit out of you. After you jump, it’s still pretty terrifying – but it’s also exciting and exhilarating.

In keeping with the metaphor…I haven’t quite made it to the ground yet, but I have (almost) no doubt that the parachute will open, I’ll land safely, and I’ll be damn glad I did it.

The lesson of the post?

Take risks, embrace change, and trust the process.

Life is short and you’ve only got one shot to make it count.

If not now, then when?