I usually only take risks impulsively, before I’ve thought it through and had time to talk to myself out of it. I jump in fast or I don’t jump at all. So when I put my notice in at work without a job lined up, though after much deliberation, I surprised a lot of people, including myself. I had been talking about it for years but nothing ever worked out as far as lining up another job, so I stayed, even though I hated it along with the drama that came with it.
My capacity for dealing with stress was stretched to the limit, and if I had given any real credence to my instincts and truly put my own well-being first, I would have quit a long, long time ago. Finally, as phobias began to form and panic attacks became a daily event, I decided that self-destructing was no longer an option. I knew I had enough money to get me by for about two months, long enough to hopefully find something else, so I began my goodbyes and started counting down the days.
Something happened when I got to that point where doing what was right for me outweighed the risk of stepping into the unknown: I started to get comfortable with not knowing. I didn’t tell anyone that I was putting my notice in until after I gave it, that way no one could talk me out of such an impractical move (as well-meaning family and friends are wont to do). As the two weeks crept by, I oscillated between fear and excitement. The fears were harsh, as in, I could be homeless in April in Minnesota, and let’s be honest, that’s like being homeless in the arctic but crueler. The excitement was amazing because anything was possible now. And soon, the voice of excitement began to drown out the voice of fear.
On my last day, still with no new job although I had been applying, it occurred to me that when I made my decision without knowing what the future held, I took a step in faith, and now my only constructive choice was to trust that everything would work out, that the universe would meet me where I am. I thought about what I really wanted in a career and in life. All the things I really want require risk and availability and a comfortableness with mystery.