Being static sucks. There was a time in my life, where nothing was happening for me. It was right after university and up to about year and a half ago. I had a job, thankfully, but even that did not look promising for my future. It had no direction. I was working 9+ hours on average (not including the 50 mile (80.5 km) commute to work) and was only a temp. It didn’t seem like they wanted to make me permanent and give me a bit more stability, and even the potential to move up. Concurrently, I was going through a really difficult break up, that kept me going around in circles, just to end up back where I started.
My life was static. It was lacking in movement. Lacking in action. It was undesirable. I knew I needed this to drastically change. This is how I stopped being static.
1. I did something crazy.
I jumped off a plane. In October 2013, I was presented with an opportunity to go sky diving, and I did. I’m not sure what in me decided that it would be a good idea, but I think I was ready for a massive jolt. I didn’t allow myself to think it through very much. I just said “sure, why not?”. This approach was not so typical of cautious and stressed old me. This was new me. New me wanted adventure. New me wanted to jump out of planes.
The reason I wanted to mention this instance was because since I had done it, and survived it, I felt like I could take on anything. This was a massive boost to my confidence and now, no challenge is too difficult for me. New me applied for a job through my company in England and got it (read more about my move here). New me signed up for my first 10k before I could even run 10 minutes without stopping (and then ended up running it in 1:00:31). New me seizes opportunities.
New me signed up to donate stem cells for Anthony Nolan. The other day, my friend asked me if my signing up to do this made me nervous (she is the brave one, already having done it) and I thought out loud, “well, I have jumped out of a plane before, so this should be alright”. And it’s true! Doing something CRAZY will put things in perspective. Being good to another person, no matter how difficult it can be, is nothing compared to how difficult it is to jump out of a plane – so just do it!
2. If something makes me unhappy, I need to either change it or leave it.
I saw things in my life that were constantly causing me stress, causing me pain and overall making me unhappy. I was extremely depressed for several years after uni. I viewed myself as the victim of everyone’s unfair treatment. There were many relationships in my life that I felt I had zero control in. All I could do was cry and be unhappy. That is no way to live. I started taking a different approach.
First, I did what I could to change my situation. I applied to different jobs, since I was not happy with the one at the time. I had talked to different people and expressed a lot of interest with connections within my company overseas. Second, I started distancing myself from people who generated a lot of negativity in my life. It’s really hard (if not impossible) to change people. The best way to stop receiving negativity from people is just to stop being around them. The best thing I did for myself at the time was I made myself a priority. Even though I was still feeling a lot of the pressure and stress from the past year, I decided that I needed to invest in me – even if that meant going to the gym more, walking my Nala, or taking a nice bath. The strength to accept change comes from a person who has the right attitude and energy. I was moving on from my past struggles and moving forward!
While I admit, changing your attitude is extremely difficult, it is essential. The only way to make some relationships work (for example, with difficult coworkers) is to be the one to initiate kindness. If you extend positive energy, and demonstrate patience, you’ll actually be surprised how quickly things will change for you.
3. I fell in love.
First, I fell in love with myself. I firmly believe that static people accept their situations because they don’t truly love themselves. They accept their lives the way they are because they don’t think they are capable of doing unimaginable things. This was sadly my reality for the longest time. I didn’t think anything good was possible. Loving yourself makes you believe in yourself. On Jan 01, 2014, my resolution was simple. I had a very difficult and unchanging 2013, and I promised myself that 2014 was going to be a great year. Never before that moment did I have so much hope, and actually BELIEVE in myself. Exactly 1 year later, my life was extremely different, in all the best ways. I had celebrated my New Years in Spain, 5000 miles away, standing next to this wonderful guy, that I happened to have fallen in love with, as well. It took me learning to love myself before anyone worthwhile could.
4. I can’t fight the change.
There are some things we hate to have change on us. Some examples are losing friendships, people dying and financial difficulties. When certain people fell out of my life, it was extremely difficult to let them go. I used to hold desperately on to them, in hopes they would realize how much they needed me and come back. That never happened, and I spent one too many nights thinking about what I could have done to make it different.
I always believed (but never really applied) that people fall in and out of our lives for a reason. Maybe it’s a short term lesson to be taught, some wonderful memories to be made or maybe they provided a difficult test of character. Whatever was the reason, it is crucial to just be grateful for their impact on you, and accept that people may grow apart.
Another difficult change for me was losing my job a few years back. It was devastating, because I had finally moved out of my parents house, signed a lease for a new apartment, and lost my job 7 days after moving. I could not admit to anyone for 2 months after the event that I had been let go, and I stayed holed up in my apartment feeling miserable. Looking back at that difficult time now, I realize how better it would have been if I had accepted the change, not blamed myself for it, and sought out my parent’s help and wisdom right away. My approach to devastating change now is a bit better, thanks to that experience. I know now that nothing is permanent, and that I have to appreciate everything (and everyone) that I have right NOW. And if and when it is taken away from me, I can approach it with a more hopeful attitude.
5. I found freedom.
I learned a lot the last few years with all the changes that happened to me. Never would I have imagined that I would be doing all the things I had dreamed about. I thought I was doomed to live a static life. But one thing I realized out of all of this is that life is not static – only you are. When you stop thinking you can’t move, you actually begin to. Make all the changes in your life NOW to make your life the one you want to live. Don’t wait till next year or in 5 years, because no one can guarantee that you will be here even tomorrow. Only then, when you start living today, for today, will you truly experience a certain freedom. Freedom of knowing you can handle whatever change comes your way, one day at a time.