It wasn’t the first time I’d gone to Amy’s for wine and girl talk. It wasn’t the first time girl talk had turned to the subject of my leaving town. But it was the first time I went home and made a to do list. A list of things to do to actually leave town. It had categories: Income, Opportunities, Commitments, Expenses, Training, Destinations. And it had specifics: sell clothes/furniture, find storage, call insurance agent, get audio books. The next day, as my plane to Memphis was flying at about 500mph, my brain was going about twice that fast. But I couldn’t tell my family about it. At least not my parents. In the coming days I would get dangerously close to blurting it out. Mom caught me looking at flights to Europe and inquired, but didn’t make a big deal about it. On Christmas Day I couldn’t take it anymore and told my sister. She naturally thought I was crazy and was worried how Judy and John would react. So I just continued to add to my list. The questions I was getting. The questions I could anticipate. Calls to make, errands to run, things to buy/sell/donate.
I mean really, how does one sell their house, put almost all their possessions in storage, quit their primary job, and just head off into the sunset? Where will I sleep? How can I afford it? What about the ironman? What about my cat? Well, the short answer is: in beds, by living frugally, I can still train, and Sasha can live with my old roommate. Of course there are a million OTHER questions, some of which require slightly more complicated answers. And I don’t have all the answers yet. But so far things are falling into place. I may not have an exciting life or successful career, but I do have a lot of connections and a financial safety net and a heart full of faith.
So twelve days and multiple iterations of the to do list later I found myself back on Amy’s sofa with an excellent bottle of wine (courtesy of Keith). And now we are making it real. As friends are clinking glasses of cheap champagne and donning sparkly headbands uptown, we were curled up with the pups discussing airfare and trips to Yellowstone. Things are getting checked off the list. Namely, book plane ticket to Europe. Register for Dusseldorf Marathon. Check and check. This is real. No more wishing for a better year ahead. No more hoping for my luck to change. No more sitting around Charlotte waiting for the perfect job. I’m almost 36 and I’m tired of not living the life I really want.
It’s a very rough plan at this point, but each day I make strides towards lightening my load, make contact with friends around the globe, and so far, with each step, I am only more convinced that this is my time, this is my path. Is it scary? Absolutely. Is it exciting? Undoubtedly. Could I do it without the support of so many incredible friends? I hope I don’t have to find out.
Most days I don’t really appreciate a swift kick in the ass from one of my dearest friends. Most of us probably don’t. But I’m sure glad I have a friend that will give me one. I am beyond blessed to have a friend that will simultaneously be thrilled for me to set out and super sad that I’m leaving. That will fly across the country with me for a marathon in wine country and meet me in the mountains to hike with moose and bears. She’ll be the first to read my travel blog posts and the first to endorse the book I’ll turn them all into at the end. And it’s because of friends like that, that I even have the courage to take the steps necessary for turning a dream into a reality.
2013 was identity defining. 2014 was faith testing. 2015 is risk taking. So here goes nothing… and everything.