There are rare moments in everyone’s life when panic attacks make you feel like it’s hard to breathe. When the mere thought of something is taking the air out of the room, and the fear of future change starts clouding your mind, telling you that you are headed to certain failure if you try, telling you that you are insane to think about something new just because anything new comes with a percentage of risk. The risk of your happiness, your stability, your comfort zone.
In the past months of my life, I lived that moment over and over again, every time I started thinking about leaving a job I had for more than 10 years, in a company so renowned and respected that any professional dreams about having it written in bold italic red letters, on their business card. Thus, me leaving it was like deciding to jump off a cliff in those moments when fear was telling me to stay put.
I remembered all the motivational quotes about how you’re always one decision away from a totally different life but for me somehow that totally different life didn’t necessarily mean something better. I kept telling myself that there are indeed two ways to be happy: to change the situation or to change my mindset about the situation, but somehow, the second option seemed easier. In the same time, I got mad at myself for being temped to choose the easy way out – because if you would have told me ten years ago I would think like this, I wouldn’t have recognised my fearful present self. And last but certainly not least, I kept telling myself over and over again that fear is a liar, and that I always treasured the truth and authenticity in myself and others.
I woke up one day, looking at my living room wall, which I decorated in a hypsterish trend by covering it in black paint and transforming it into a blackboard, which in time became the empty canvas for my friends imagination. Right in the centre of my living room black wall was chalk painted in red the brand that defined me for the past decade. It was like that logo defined in my head the standard of professional success, it was the equivalent of dating a model in your personal life, making me feel like I am already at the finish line, like there is no race as long as you are constantly on the first place. It made me feel like a winner but in the same time, like any rich kid’s drama, stuck in my own head for having nowhere else to go to top where I already am.
I relived in my head the past third of my life, and looked within myself trying to cut the bullshit and admit that no matter how much I admired the courage to drop everything and change in the people around me, this was not something I found in myself. No matter how much I admired change, I was feeding my happiness from stability and safety. I liked where I was, I liked the fact that I entered the big league when others around me were working shitty jobs for shitty companies, while the highlight of my introduction to everyone I have ever met was one of the biggest brands worldwide.
I relived the past decade trying to find that moment when I decided that the courage to stop and start over was something I only used for my personal decisions while my professional life was left on auto pilot, beyond my control. I kept asking myself how could I leave a place that brought me safe into adulthood, how could I leave the place I met most of the people I now call friends, the place that has granted me experiences money can’t buy and that has been a big part of how people see me and think of me today. That would have meant changing myself in front of others, taking the risk that maybe the new me would’t be so pretty and successful, wouldn’t be so attractively complete, so cool, so sure of one self – long story short, wouldn’t be the same. But then again, that would have meant being brave, something I though I have forgotten a long time ago.
Today, looking at my blackboard living room wall, I am reminded that nothing is permanent – and that that is a good thing. Today I am taking the first step on a new road, with a backpack full of the memories that brought me here, next to the people who entered my life to make it better and make me better in the process. Today I am moving on, taking with me old dreams covered in pixie dust, I am keeping my goals written in italic Spencerian script, I am taking it step by step, with a Coca-Cola in my hand and the certainty in my head that nothing is by chance.
Today I am starting from square one, I am learning change by living it and I hope that one day, people will think of me as courageous.
Today, I am opening my world.