All great changes are preceded by chaos. -Deepak Chopra
As I sit here writing this – alone in front of a fire that I successfully built myself, on the side of a logging road to a destination I was unable to successfully reach (shout out to awesome people and tire chains for saving me) – I finally have the opportunity to process the chaos of the past two months.
Some of you may recall the recent epiphany I had to turn my life upside down: to quit my job and pursue a career in line with my passion for mental health, to find a roommate and move closer to the mountains, to buy a vehicle to get me to those mountains, and (if the stars aligned) to obtain a hot boyfriend (and/or a stable healthy romantic relationship…) – in that order.
As I left it in my last post, the ‘turn my life upside down’ plan had been set into motion, and despite not being in the anticipated order, I had officially: (1) left my job, and (2) found a roommate and moved closer to the mountains.
Major details to iron out still included finding a new job, and eventually (finance permitting) buying a vehicle. The ‘hot boyfriend’ was relatively low on the priority list…
Pouring Rain Isn’t Always a Bad Thing
When it rains, it pours – figuratively and literally. – John Cornyn
After moving, the days (accompanied by the North Shore’s torrential Autumn rain) passed painfully slowly – often consisting of long hours at the local coffee shop filled with endless job searches on the free public wi-fi (not considering the fact that I was spending all my money on their $4 [but insanely delicious] gluten free muffins).
In combination – the dozens of rejected job applications, the financial stress of being unemployed, and the loneliness of being in a new place with little else to fill my time but ruminating about the ambiguous state of my life – made it difficult to stay motivated and nearly impossible to feel confident about the decision to leave my previous job.
I was nearing my breaking point.
Everything came together all at once.
Simultaneous Successes & a Bit of Serendipity
In the last month alone, I’ve started volunteering for the Canadian Mental Health Association on a weekly basis; I bought a beauty of an off-road vehicle (a 2010 Subaru Forester named Zulu) that has provided me with more freedom and adventure options than I had ever imagined; I have been offered not one, but three job opportunities in the mental health field (all of which I have accepted); and much to my unexpected surprise – after a year and a half of being single – I’ve started legitimately dating someone (that I actually like!).
Success isn’t the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire. – Arnold Glasgow
Let me be perfectly clear. Although things came together pretty damn quickly, I do not want to insinuate that everything I was hoping for just fell directly into my lap.
I mean, really – what better way to motivate yourself than to light a fire under your ass? Quitting my job was terrifying (as would lighting a fire under your ass [I assume]) but boy, did it get the ball rolling.
To conclude that the recent weeks have been the most stressful of my life would be a massive understatement. It has been anything but easy, and I think it’s worth mentioning that although accompanied by success, in the last month alone, I have also been plagued by a cold, the stomach flu, and laryngitis (clearly my body does not respond well to stress); I have succumbed to multiple mental breakdowns (one of which involved bursting into tears in an RBC financial advisor’s office. Sorry Bruce the financial advisor…); and I have countlessly questioned my life choices.
When I wasn’t sick, or crying, or questioning my sanity, I was busting my ass (which was very close to bursting into flames) to make it all happen.
I directly reached out to organizations I was interested in working for. I wrote countless cover letters and job applications (99% of which were rejected). I networked the hell out of every connection I had. I researched vehicle types and costs. I budgeted. I worked HARD.
And in the end, it paid off.
Finding Comfort in Discomfort
It’s always quite thrilling to find yourself looking at a world you know so well but have never seen from such an angle before. – Bill Bryson
Is having multiple new jobs overwhelming?
Is being in debt for the first time in my life stressful as hell?
Is putting my trust in someone and being in a committed relationship for the first time in a year and a half scary?
Is finding a balance between work, a boyfriend, money, my fitness, the outdoors, and a stable mental wellbeing easy?
Most definitely not.
What I can tell you though, is that I have truly found comfort in the discomfort that accompanies these opportunities.
Uncertainty is a challenge for me – but I am beyond excited to learn and grow and contribute to improving mental health in our society; to explore and experience new adventures with a partner who shares my passion for nature; and to embrace whatever life throws my way, while recognizing that you can’t always plan for what’s next.
Take control of your happiness, believe in your ambition, honour your hard work, and trust in the universe.
As Walt Disney once said, “all our dreams come true – if we have the courage to pursue them.”