Here’s why I’m Trading in Comfort for Terrifying Uncertainty
Short answer: I’m crazy and I’ve completely lost it.
Longer answer: In early December 2015, I had one of those days where everything goes from bad to worse. I’ll spare you the details to protect the innocent, but this day came on the tail end of months of anger, resentment, loneliness, depression and anxiety. Something in me broke that day and it hurt. Real bad.
So I did some causal binge drinking, I cried a lot and took my relationship with my food delivery guy to the next level (not that level, sicko. I just ordered a lot of food and ate it in my bed. Alone.) And then I decided to get help.
I have this friend, we’ll call him Steve. His real name is Jake, but I still want to call him Steve. I like that name. So, Steve came over with some falafel and his wonderfully factual, detached way of thinking and basically said, “Why do you keep hiding from what makes you come alive? You know what you’re good at and you love doing it, so why don’t you just go for it?”
He was talking about teaching writing and meditation. Steve went further to suggest that I road trip and teach. I could make it work by mitigating my expenses, subletting my apartment and canceling my Hulu account.
I said I’d think about it.
I did some writing and meditating. I talked to my therapist, close friends and other teachers who had taken a similar journey. As I spoke with people, I noticed a pattern: my feelings about this trip were riding on the opinions of others. And this isn’t a new pattern. So many of my decisions in life have revolved around status:
If I do this, people will think it’s cool. If people think it’s cool, then I’m cool. If I’m cool, people will like me and then I don’t have to work so hard to like myself because everyone else will be doing it for me.
If you are secretly living that life, stop. Get out now. It will bring you to a very dark place where you will feel so very disconnected with your own wants and desires that you’ll start to have bleak feelings about how we’re all just atoms bumping into each other and everything is meaningless so what’s the point.
While Steve was right (Steve, if you’re reading this, you know how hard it is for me to admit that you’re right), I knew that if I was going to do this, I had to do it for me.
Once I decided to do this so that I could forge a greater connection with myself, I couldn’t look back. I bought a map, dropped some pins (like IRL with real pins). I used all my free time to build marketing materials, bug my friends with studio connections (THANKS GUYS) and emailed like 60 studios from NYC to Colorado. As far as yoga-lebrity status goes, I’m a D-lister. But it took me less than 10 days to book 7 studios. In 20 days, I had 13 studios booked and more studios are emailing me as I write this. I’ll be staying with old and new friends and eating a lot of hardboiled eggs and carrots.
I recently parted ways with the day job (+ the decent salary and amazing benefits) so I’m completely dependent on crowdfunding and attendance at my workshops to make this happen. This means I can’t blame the man or the system for any failures. It’s all on me, my marketing skills and my ability to draw strangers in from afar.
While this is terrifying (I have secret-cried in public thinking about this at least 3 times today), it is living. This is a risk I am taking for myself so that some day when I have small people looking up to me I can say, “The best thing I ever did was quit living the life I thought I was supposed to live and started living the life I wanted.”