I have always been an extremely rational, logical person when it comes to plans and my future. I used to have Plan A, B, C, and sometimes a Z.
Always look before you leap, and you’ll be sure-footed, right?
Rewind to the early stages of my post-grad life: through focusing so intently on the end goal and the carefully-constructed master plan, I clung onto the belief that my happiness was at the end of the magical rainbow like a pot of gold (I just made myself into a leprechaun, didn’t I…).
I rationalized to myself that sleeping 3 hours per night and ordering food on seamless for all 3 meals of the day when working until midnight chained to the desk, that all of this would be worth it in the end. That if I could just get through this, it would be better. Obviously, it would. Totally.
Several unwelcomed pounds, a sapped sense of self-confidence and respect for myself later, I made a decision that was not at all on the plan. It wasn’t as simple as so many people out there sometimes sum it up to be- “I was unhappy, so I quit, then I found my happiness.” No, no.
It took me about 14 awkward exits from my boss’s office having chickened out of handing in my notice, and about a week straight of that really ugly, puffy-faced crying (during which I dramatically wailed aloud alone in my apartment that "four years of killing myself in college with working internships and jobs simultaneously was ALL thrown down the drain!!" Who am I, Bridget Jones?).
Then, the hardest part. Accepting the fact that I had no concrete Plan B for the first time in my life.
I was always the frog that ensured there were several lily pads lined up before she made the leap. This time, there were no lily pads in sight, but I knew if I remained on my current one, drowning was imminent.
Instead, I dove straight into the water, silenced out the white noise chatter of people asking me what my next step was, and let myself free-float to cleanse out all the toxic material that had seeped into my skin in the past year.
Had I had a cushy Plan B lilypad, I wouldn’t have discovered the cool stillness of that water. Or that I actually kind-of liked aimlessly floating for a moment. Or known the suffocating sensation of feeling like I might get stuck liking this limbo land, swim out too far and drown. Then learning how to toe that line.
It is sheer terror jumping into the unknown where there are no receipts, no exchanges or returns. Sure, bad things can and will happen out there in uncharted territories, but you’ll never discover the good if you aren’t willing to face the potential bad for it.
But what most people don’t realize is, is that you aren’t jumping into some sort of hurricane where you are forced to relinquish all control. You have your say as to where you want to try exploring. And you can always turn around and swim in a different direction if that doesn’t work out.
My quote on my plaque on the trainer’s bio wall at Equinox reads, “Life begins outside your comfort zone.” Yes, this applies to fitness and all that good stuff- but I do feel like I began this exciting chapter of my life thanks to leaving my comfort zone of my alphabetical plans. There are a lot more letters than A-Z, after all. Hel-lo, there are now EMOJIS.