Relocating to Austin has by far been the biggest challenge I have faced in my life.
As someone who derives their energy from being around close friends and family, moving 1200+ miles from my family and the friendships that I built over the last 4+ years in Cincinnati has turned my world upside down. Those close friends that understand and support you are across the country instead of across town. What used to be a 15-minute walk is now a 16-hour drive or a 2+ hour flight. “You guys” is suddenly “y’all.” Talk about a reality check.
So, what have I discovered in 3 short months?
You can learn a lot about yourself when your life takes a sudden change. Your priorities and desires become clearer. There’s a lot of pressure to figure out what your ideal job entails, and once you think you know, you’ll wake up one morning and it will be different. That’s how life works.
This move has inspired me to “get my life together.” As a young man and a college graduate, it’s time for me to grow up in a lot of aspects in my life. When adulthood hits, the responsibilities and the bills get bigger and multiply. Rent. Car Insurance. Taxes. Everybody wants your money.
The reality is that we need to be able to step outside of our comfort zone to grow as a person. A fear of failure is only going to keep you from trying something that could change your life for the better. The only way to learn is to fail forward. Interviewed for a job and didn’t get a call back? Started a career and realized it wasn’t the right fit for your strengths? Tried to go on a diet and it only lasted two weeks? Didn’t find your future wife/husband at the airport/coffee shop/bar/event you went to?
Okay, the last one is for the hopeless romantics like myself.
There are so many things that can happen to someone who is just starting out their career, but the fact is that the only way for you to find what truly makes you happy is to take a chance and look back at all of your failures as opportunities to learn about yourself by what you have experienced AKA learning experiences. Instead of looking at your flaws or the mistakes that you’ve made, look at everything you have learned from these experiences. You may not have an idea of exactly what you want, but you sure as hell have a better idea of what you DON’T want. This is a huge step towards finding what you’re looking for!
Failing does not make you a failure. You are only a failure if you let your failures define your self-worth.
In the age of social media, every time we log into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. we see that Billy and Sally just had their second kid, Katie just landed her dream job in San Francisco, and the girl/boy you were/are still interested in is just TOO happy with their new boo thang. The fact is that as perfect as everyone’s lives look online, their lives are not perfect. We all face our own challenges, but we all only put things on social media that make it look like we have everything figured out. If anyone is in their 20s and claims to have it all figured out, they are delirious.
So, now that we’re not letting our failures or Instagram feed define how we’re doing in life, what’s the next step?
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. Apply for that job you instinctively disqualified yourself from. Take a road trip somewhere you’ve never been. Talk to someone you consider way out of your league. Surprise yourself by trying something new. I threw up the first time I ever had sushi, but now I eat it religiously and consider it one of my favorite foods. If I never would have given sushi a second chance, I would have missed out on hundreds of awesome meals that brought joy into my life. And no, I’m not telling you to call your ex and try to work things out. My point is: don’t miss out on life because you’re not letting yourself live.
When you wake up in the morning, ask yourself: What can I do to better myself today?
Obviously, there is no magic trick that you can perform to make yourself happy as a clam all the time no matter what’s going on, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take small steps daily to improve your life.
Eliminate negative influences or the vices in your life, but don’t do it all cold turkey. Call a close friend or relative. Try a new coffee shop. Eat that donut that you’ve been thinking about all morning, but take a walk outside to balance it out.
Baby steps, people.
Don’t be afraid of change. Change is good. Especially if you have a mullet. We need change to learn about who we are and what makes us tick. Remember: you are on your own journey. Comparing yourself to others is only going to bring you down. Start working out, drink more water and less fizzy chemical water (soda or “pop” if you’re from the midwest), read that book that’s been on your bookshelf for a year because you want to better yourself and not because Sally Perfectpants does. Your path is going to be different than everyone else’s, but that is what makes us unique. The experiences we go through help us learn more about who we are.
The summation to my short novel here is: you’re going to learn a lot about yourself when you step outside of your comfort zone.
I’m going to look for my wife in this coffee shop now.
P.S. She is not here unless she is 60 years old and wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt. Still keeping my options open. Stay tuned.