The room I have been in up until now was safe. It was familiar. It made sense to be there for a while and people assumed I was happy. But I wasn’t quite content. I needed out. Needed something new, yet I still didn’t leave the confines of my comfortable space. That is until I was led out, whether or not I was ready, almost two months ago.
As a few friends know, I was laid off from my job at the end of March. For many here in Oklahoma, this has become routine. We see many oil and gas companies announce the problems they are experiencing, something like “due to the economic downturn,” followed by a “reduction of force” that’s needed. Then boxes, packing, and tissues ensue. Media outpours of support and the occasional “you got yours” jaded comments are seen. Basically, people aren’t generally happy about being forced out of a job. Except for me. Because inside, I finally got busted out of my hiding space.
It seems so bright and full of opportunities outside of my little room of familiarity. There is possibility every which way I look. But it is also daunting picking which path to follow.
With my first steps out, and despite others’ attempts to convince me I’d be bored by now, I have really enjoyed this time off so far. It’s like getting a summer vacation back from when I was younger and took advantage of time. There’s so much good that has come out of the open door to this room. More sleep, sun, and time to organize the different compartments of my life. Everything around me screams ADVENTURES ARE NEEDED! But…
Yeah, there’s that word, “but”. That unwanted weight on my shoulders. I realize now it’s not all rainbows and roses out here “adulting.” It can be really worrisome on particular days and even lonely on others. Fear creeps in and makes me anxious about my future. It makes me second-guess my carefree days. On my best days, I think, “What the heck am I doing? Crap, am I just being a Millennial cliché?” Sometimes, I freeze thinking about how I can get a job after this, and then realize “Wait, what kind of job DO I want?!” Oh, how quickly a mind can work against even the best of opportunities.
What I do know for sure is I yearn to be uninhibited. To let my guard down and visit every corner of this world is my greatest dream. Seeing every salty ocean with its blue-green waves, every bright rainforest with the colors and sounds from the canopies to the soil, and every great wonder this earth holds makes my heart jump with excitement. But will that excitement carry over to those I hold close to let me go, to my feet to make me move, and to my mind to overcome the inner doubts and follow my big dreams?
While typing these words, I can feel the teeter tottering of my heart and mind. It is a lot changing your whole life. I’ve seen it from others’ experiences. Many have assured me, though, it was one of the best things they ever did. But it’s kind of like skydiving. Every time you see someone do it, you hear how amazing it is and what a great experience and rush of adrenaline you get. Being 13,000 feet in the air, freefalling, the wind rushing past you, someone strapped to your back just in case you get too excited to pull the chute. Still, no matter how many success stories you hear, it takes a whole lot of courage to strap up and jump yourself.
I know, ultimately, that I and I alone will be the sole decider of my future. My free will allows me to carry myself whichever direction I feel necessary. My prayers help me reach out to my God that I know will be my compass. Without a doubt, this is the one of the biggest, and possibly first of many, forks in the road yet, demanding a decision be made. And even though I can’t see the end of these paths, at least I’m not trapped in my comfortable room anymore. I am entering a new chapter, however long or short it may be. At the end of the day, I must remember my book is far from over. And I have a sense it’s going to feel even better being able to find and create the rest.
Here’s to turning the page and jumping!