To say that out loud to myself is easy, but to tell a community of strangers makes it all the more real and scary! It means I am going to have to start being accountable. I'm moving away from all that is comfortable, moving away from all that I have ever known. I'm moving away from my family, and moving away from some very close relationships. I'm leaving an office that I've worked in for six years and I intend to move to a city that I have never been in love with. I am setting out on a path of unknown.
This is completely new for me, and so not the person I've know myself to be for my 28 years of life. Throughout my entire life, I've lived in the same town in upstate New York -- with the exception of going away to a four year college in a town that was two hours away. So, I wasn't far from my parents and the comforts of home. I have never taken any giant risks in my life and I have always done the “right” thing. I have always done what everyone expected of me. I went from being a cheerleader in high school to joining a sorority in undergrad to getting a Master’s degree. All of these accomplishments have been a on a strict path that I believe was laid out for me -- based on the expectations that others had of me.
And now, I'm setting out on a completely new journey. A journey to challenge myself and to have no regrets. For a year now I've thinking about moving. Thinking about leaving the only place that has ever felt like home to me. I've always felt that there was more to life than this upstate town in New York and this dead-end office job. And I finally decided that I am going to take action on doing something new for myself. It was now or never. I enacted a plan to move downstate to Manhattan!
I moved back into my parents house to save some cash, and created a timeline for myself. I began to share this with the people closest to me. That this is what I intend to do. A bunch of friends and family members were supportive and knew it was a long time coming. They even knew there was more out there for me. Even my boss of six years! I love and adore her, and she was ready to put me on a plane the second I told her I would be leaving and that my last day would be September 30th.
There was one person who I knew who would be hardest for me to tell. And that person was my brother. My brother is five years older than me and we are total opposites. He can be very rigged and serious, whereas I tend to be more easy going. We even look completely different. He has dark hair and I have sun drenched yellow hair. Sometimes I'm not sure if we are actually related but my parents ensure that we are! I've never had a close relationship with him, either. We have really just... coexisted together in the same family.
The reason why I knew he was going to be the hardest person to tell was because I knew he would be the least supportive. I knew he wouldn't be excited for me (like everyone else). I knew that he wouldn't understand my yearning for something more. All of his decisions are carefully thought out and calculated to the fullest extent -- which is great, and I don't think that's a "bad" thing. But, I also think there are things in life that the universe just calls you to do. My brother does not believe in anything like that.
The conversation starts: “So you’re moving to New York huh?” I respond instantly on the defense. “Yes I am. This is what I need to do to make myself happy. I am bored here. I am stuck in my job and I need a change.” He comes back with, “Well Lauren, you’re 28...don’t you think it’s about time to settle down, start a career and realize that life isn't all about having a good time?”
I thought to myself this is SO typical of my brother and really exemplifies the differences between us. He is all business and I am all...not. We continue our conversations further and he goes on to tell me that he supports me but he just wants to protect me from making a “bad” decision. I let him know that I hear his concerns; however, there are no “bad” decisions there are only learning experiences.
I was so relived and excited! I jumped that "hurdle" and crossed that barrier that I've always wanted to do, as it relates to my brother. I don't think he is fully supportive but that doesn't matter to me. The point is, I didn't let his concerns dictate what I plan to do. In that little 10 minute conversation with the person that I look up to the most I was just me. I was not seeking his approval or anyone else’s for that matter.
For once in my life I have the control. I have the ability to create my own destiny. I am taking on this challenge and there is no plan B. I'm stepping out into the unknown and I'm thrilled! I'm creating a whole new version of myself. I am creating a person who takes risks, who trusts their gut, and who makes decisions based on their happiness and not what others expect.
I now thank my brother for being hard on me. I thank him most of all for testing my new found character and my decision. We don’t have the relationship that I would want from a brother from now, but perhaps this is why he's in my life. Could be that he's here to test me, to push me, and to force me to be my true and authentic self.
Are there people in your life that you believe are there to push you closer to your most authentic self? Do you have close relationships with them?
-Lauren, GG Guest Blogger.