Hello 2016. I know, I’m a little late for a paradigm on how to do things differently in this New Year. I mean after all, it is February. But I’ve learned some pretty important life lessons these last few months and I thought it would be a good way to kick things off here on my brand new site, By Elly Jane.
So without further ado, here it is.
2015 was a pretty weird transitional year for me. It started off with the unexpected death of my high school sweetheart (something I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around), the official big girl job offer (and acceptance), the realization that college was actually over (*sigh*) and thus, the beginning of a pretty hefty loan payment. Tack on the phrase “limited vacation time” and “salaried” and whoop there it is, 2015 in a nutshell. Turns out being an adult isn’t all its cracked up to be. Who knew?
Thus began the repetitive drum of daily life, seven am alarm, nine am emails, ten am coffee, noon lunch break and rush hour traffic at five. I’d scurry home in dying daylight to enjoy a few hours of relaxation and family time before dreading the morning, when it would all begin again. There was no such thing as “me” time.
In the midst of all of this, I began to notice the happy, optimistic, positive person I had been, fade, and in her place was someone I barely recognized, a stranger. And deeply rooted in the heart of that stranger was a single driving emotion,
With the new job it was a fear of failure.
With my parents it was a fear of disappointment.
With the guy I was dating it was a fear of commitment.
With my friends it was fear of losing or missing out.
And with my passions, my writing and my creating, it was the fear to simply begin.
I let the fear and the anxiety consume me; it was all I thought about. I would wake with a start in the middle of the night, gasping for air, simply because I was afraid. What if I got fired and couldn’t pay my bills? What if someone else that I loved died? What if people hated my writing? What if I lost all my friends? What if I never got to travel again and see all the places I wanted to see? What if, what if, what if.
During our annual work holiday party in December, we paid a psychic to sit and do palm and taro card readings for two hours. Now whether or not you believe in psychics is beside the point, sometimes you just need someone else to tell you what you already know in your heart. Even if its scary and even if you don’t want to hear it. I sat down with her for five minutes and what she said really stuck with me.
She told me to stop being afraid and to start accepting life for what it was. “You can’t change it, you can’t be in control all the time, so just accept it and know that you are where you’re supposed to be and there are so many people in your corner. No matter what happens, you’re going to be okay.”
And then, after that, something crazy happened. After a year of anguish, I made the choice, NOT to be afraid anymore. I literally woke up one morning, after having cried myself to sleep the night before for what felt like the millionth time and I made a decision. I wasn’t going to live my life in fear. If I lost my job, oh well, I’d get another, if I felt like I didn’t have time to create, I’d make the time… Maybe I couldn’t control the future but I could sure as hell control the way I felt about it.
I wasn’t going to let fear hold me back anymore and here’s why you shouldn’t either:
1.) Regret – Someone wise once told me that they were too old and had been on the planet too long to make choices out of fear with the possibility they’d regret it later on. They were partially right. Actually, NO ONE should make choices out of fear with the possibility of regret later on, no matter how old they are or how long they’ve been around. If you are stuck between two choices, choose the one with the least potential for regret. You’ll thank yourself later.
2.) Happiness – Your happiness is paramount. I felt like I was sacrificing mine for a long time. I had lost sight of who I was and what I was doing. Don’t be that person! Make a choice that will make you happy J
3.) What is Right VS What is Easy – We’ve all been in the position at least once in our lives where we’ve had to choose between what is right and what is easy. Sometimes fear holds us back from making the choice we know to be the right one. Learn to conquer your fears and accept the consequences as stepping-stones to getting you where you want to be. If you’re making the easy choice, ask yourself why and if it will benefit you down the road.
4.) Go Outside your Comfort Zone – This goes hand in hand with making the right vs the easy choice. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is a must. And don’t make excuses for why you cant… like “I’m not a people person” or “I have no experience with starting a business”. You can be anything you want, if you want it enough.
5.) Be Willing to Fail – This is key. You must be willing to take rejection, to be turned down 100 times, to be on the brink of utter failure before finally and somewhat miraculously pulling through. By avoiding failure you also avoid success. Never forget why you started and remind yourself of it when you feel yourself starting to get discouraged.