Bear with me. I’ve had a lot of coffee this morning and I’ve entered the mindset of one of my alter egos, motivational speaker.
I haven’t written in a while and I know exactly why. I started a blog back in March as an outlet for my thoughts. Then I quit my job in June and since then, I’ve been dying to escape my thoughts. Today, I am breaking that silence.
For better or worse, I’m a Go-With-Your-Gut Gal. In my opinion, life is too short, too extravagant, too precious and too diverse to live any other way. Do you know how many methods there are to make money in this world? Do you know how many metrics there are to define success?
Answer: more than I can count.
That is why as my college graduation loomed in the spring of 2016, I followed my heart to the application page of a cross-country cycling trip to raise money and awareness for affordable housing. That is why, after that cycling trip, I bought a one-way ticket on an Amtrak train to San Francisco, a city in which I had dreamed of living for over a year. And that is why, after a year of living in the Bay, I followed my heart back to the community I love, Cleveland.
In the last year-and-a-half of following my heart/going with my gut, I’ve made a lot of decisions that were not encouraged, nor adored, by society including many of the people I know and love. What kind of responsible person decides to bike across the country instead of getting a job with the degree they just earned? What kind of psycho then quits the job they eventually find?
This psycho, I’m tellin’ ya. Because I would rather be broke, stressed, and scolded than live a lie.
We all have values. We all have goals. We all have passions and dreams. And we all have different ideas of how to follow them.
How many dreams do I have?
Answer: more than I can count.
I can list 10 off the top of my head right now: I want to be a politician, I want to have my writing published, I want to backpack South America, I want to learn Spanish, I want to be a philanthropist. I want to meet all my favorite celebrities and I want to BE Charlie Rose. I want to be a fashion icon. I want to have a family. I want to know wholeheartedly that I have made an impact.
This morning, one of my dearest and closest friends called me as she was heading to start her second job in New York City. She was standing on the subway platform when she called me. However, the trains were coming and going and she couldn’t get herself to leave the platform. Something inside her, something intangible, was keeping her from moving her feet.
Though Abby was starting a stable, well-paying job, her gut was telling her that it was a bad idea. Because this job was not her dream job. In fact, this job was going to take time and energy away from her dream: Music. I promptly encouraged Abby to respectfully decline the second job.
Who am I to tell Abby not to start a stable, well-paying job? I’m 23. I’m unemployed. I live with my parents.
The truth is, I have no idea if Abby is going to be a successful musician. Despite her immeasurable talent, I don’t know if she will become famous or if her music will reach millions or if she will win Grammy’s. But I have a feeling she will be very, very disappointed if she doesn’t spend the rest of her life trying. In fact, if she spends the rest of her life playing music without becoming famous, I firmly believe she will, by default, be happier than if she spent her life doing anything else.
The same is true for me. I may spend the rest of my life starting unread blogs and unheard podcasts and unnoticed fashion statements and unwon political campaigns. But I will sure as heck be happier than if I were “succeeding” at anything else.
My heart will be happy, and that’s the only metric of success I care about.