How I Left an Ordinary, Unfulfilling Life

The Moment Everything Changed

I was a dreamer that was stuck most of my life. I had no idea how some people managed to chase dreams and escape circumstances that seemed too big to overcome. I felt that I was trapped in this hole I called my life, just trying to survive it. I never understood why even though I had all this passion and dreams that my life always managed to stay the same. Was I not brave enough? Not strong enough? Was I just not meant to live outside the realm of "ordinary"?

People always ask how I changed my life. And for the longest time I couldn't put my finger on it. I wanted to tell them, but I wasn't exactly sure what it was. It was like I had flipped a switch inside me but I didn't exactly know what it was. So I thought back to the night I made my first big, unconventional lifestyle change.

I was just about to graduate from University and I HATED where my life was about to go; where my life was expected to go. Graduation was supposed to be this exciting time full of new chapters, but it felt like I was attending a funeral rather than a celebration. One night, before graduation, I opened a bottle of wine and my google doc titled "bucket list." I had started this list years ago. Every so often I would pull it up on my laptop, jot something down with a smile on my face, and dream about doing it. I'd dream about escaping the life I was living and picture myself doing all of these incredible things: traveling, changing the world, making a difference somehow. I dreamed that when I died people would remember me for being the person who did these things. For some reason that night was different. I stared at it for hours. HOURS. Anxiety began to sink in, and soon enough I was sitting on my bed petrified at the words on my screen. I wasn't looking at a list of all the things I was going to do... I was looking at a list of things that I was NEVER going to do.

That was the moment everything changed.

Holding onto the hope that I would one day achieve the dreams on that list is what had kept me going. Thinking about the person I wanted to be, doing the things I wanted to do is what got me through the dark times and bad days in my life. But I realized I had been feeding myself false hope. If I kept living the life I was living, these were all the things I was giving up.

In that moment, the fear of not living a meaningful life became bigger than the fear of losing everything I had.

Next thing I knew, I had spent all my savings on a flight to Africa to become a volunteer teacher, item #52 on my bucket list. I risked my financial stability, the support of my friends and family, a good job, a comfortable life, I threw away life as I knew it. But in that moment I knew that that was exactly what I needed to be doing, and I was willing to take those risks.

That was one of the most empowering moments of my life, because I was no longer afraid of losing the things that kept me from living the life I wanted to live. Now the point of this story isn't to say that you have to make risky or reckless decisions to change your life. The point is, is that in order to change your life, you have to risk losing something, and you need to be afraid of the right things. So what are you willing to lose? What are you REALLY afraid of? Find the answers to those questions and you'll be on your way to changing your life. Sit with your fear, sit with your dreams, and don't buy into the false hope you tell yourself.

Until next time,