Daily Prompt: Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes
by michelle w. on February 4, 2013
You need to make a major change in your life. Do you make it all at once, cold turkey style, or incrementally?
This prompt sparked a memory for me. It is the memory of a huge change I made in my life a little over 4 years ago now. If I’m perfectly honest things weren’t going so well for me at the time. There were some work politics going on that I just found too much for me at the tender young age of 23 and the fight just got too hard. On top of that, I wasn’t having the best luck with my love life, which at 23 is just ‘like, totally, the worst.thing.ever’, and I was just not in a good place personally. There were a lot of things that I needed to work out, and learn and discover, but I didn’t know it at the time.
Instead, on a particularly hard day at work one day, I was taking a walk on my lunch break primarily to let off some steam and I walked passed a travel agent, went in and promptly bought a ticket to London. Just. Like. That. I almost couldn’t believe I’d done it. In fact, no, I don’t think I did believe I’d done it. You see, I am a planner. It’s what I do. I never make rash decisions unless it’s a rash grocery-buying decision and even those are rare. No I think things through, ponder them for a long time, and then systematically plan out every single detail. I never would normally make a decision THAT HUGE, so suddenly. Yep, I went cold turkey.
I had wanted to move here for a long time, and I had been vaguely saving money but I definitely didn’t think it through thoroughly. I mean, I didn’t even have a visa or anything sorted, I hadn’t officially decided I was going to leave work and I wasn’t even sure I had the money to do it. I walked outta there, a couple of thousand Aussie dollars poorer thinking ‘What did I just do? Did that actually just happen? I should check that the flight I just bought is refundable.’ But man am I glad I did it! Because that moment spurred me into action and made me set about planning to move to the other side of the world. And you know what; I don’t think I ever would have done it otherwise. I would have been too scared, or too caught up in work, or too into the guy of the moment for it to be something I fully decided on. But suddenly I had my ticket. I was going. And no-one was going to stop me!
I remember calling my mum not long after I’d done it and hearing the disbelief and worry in her voice, I remember telling my brother and his then-girlfriend when I got home that night and seeing disbelief and worry on their faces… I know they were wondering if I was doing the right thing, and probably also wondering if I was mentally fit enough to be doing something so big all on my own (I’d had a couple of breakdowns just prior to this).
Ok let me put this all into context for you, when I say I booked, I didn’t book it for that week or that month or anything, I think I had about 6 months from the time I booked to the time I was actually going to leave, so I guess there was some sensible part of me telling me that a change this big required at least some thought. But it was the decision to book that happened fast, and the actuality of it that happened more incrementally.
Looking back, I don’t think things really were all that bad… but for a 23 year old I was under a lot of stress and a lot of pressure and although some people saw it as running away, actually I was running toward the best thing I’ve ever done. I grew up so fast when I moved here. Moving to the other side of the world and not knowing anyone was hard. Not having a job or a place to live, or really that much money was hard. Suddenly missing my family and friends and my creature comforts was hard.
But I also discovered how strong I can be, and how I am able to face challenges head-on (or at least with a little less fear), and how quickly I can learn how to live on a VERY strict budget and how little some things matter and how much other things do. I’ve become much less materialistic. I have travelled, and seen so many beautiful, wonderful places. I’ve met so many brilliant and interesting people (including my now husband) and in general, I gained some perspective.
So… it was a big change, and it was the best change. And as cliché as it sounds, it has made me who I am today. A slightly less confused and messed up Aussie, who has fallen in love with a wonderful man, a gorgeous city and an enlightening world.
My advice is – if you have the urge to see the world, whether it’s a snap decision or a slow planning process, do everything in your power to make it a reality because it is so worth it!
This post was developed as part of today’s Daily Prompt.