Shift Happens

Why I Abandoned My Perfect Life (and Maybe You Should, Too)

 

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“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

          -Goethe


 

Six months ago, my life was perfect. I had everything a girl could ask for and more — handsome husband, perfect house, garage full of shiny German cars, organized closets, world’s cutest dog, amazing friends. 

And yet …

It wasn’t enough. I loved my life and counted my numerous blessings daily, but I often found myself wanting something else — something more. Wanting more feels very wrong when it seems like you already have everything! It took many hours of self-reflection (and a few hours with a terrific therapist) to realize that the dream life I was living wasn’t my dream life. I needed to spend less time keeping that perfect house perfect, less time feeling trapped inside it while the weather outside it was too hot/cold/windy/severe for my liking, and more time feeling inspired to do the things that truly make me feel alive. Dreams of days spent creating beautiful things while feasting on locally-grown avocados and gazing up at towering palm trees under always-sunny skies bubbled to the surface and there was no going back. I had to make a move. Literally.

Lucky for me, my husband shared my vision. We sold the aforementioned perfect house along with all the furniture inside it, he left the job that paid for the shiny cars, and the next thing we knew the dream we had been talking about for years had become reality. Denver faded away in the rear-view mirror and we found ourselves in Los Angeles, surrounded by creativity, avocados, palm trees and sunshine. And we lived happily ever after, right? RIGHT??

Not exactly.

See if you can guess which of the following unfortunate events did NOT occur during our first month in our new city:

  1. Our dog got fleas.
  2. We moved into a charming little apartment … with no air conditioning, just in time for a record heat wave to send temperatures soaring to a sweltering 100+ degrees. For multiple days in a row.
  3. Survival instincts during said heat wave forced us into a hotel, where we were greeted with a friendly dead cockroach in our room.
  4. The gas company took their sweet time coming to turn on service at our apartment, rendering us without hot water or the use of our clothes dryer and cooktop, for more than 10 days.
  5. Investigation into a minor electrical issue revealed a rat infestation … in our stove.
  6. Our washing machine was full of mold.
  7. Our (newly de-molded) washing machine was non-functional due to a faulty door latch.
  8. Our hot water heater flooded.
  9. We woke up to a refreshing symphony of jack hammers working on a construction site across the street every morning at 7:00. For weeks.
  10. The movers arrived with all of our worldly possessions nearly a week later than expected.

Surprise! It was a trick question. ALL of these things happened, and more. Instead of frolicking in perpetual sunshine, I was sitting on the floor crying, watching old episodes of Gilmore Girls, listlessly searching online for apartments back home, missing friends and trying to remember why I ever left in the first place.

When all of this was happening, it was difficult not to take it as a sign from the universe that I had made a colossal mistake. But then something miraculous happened. The dust settled. Things started getting better. And better. And better! Suddenly my life was amazing in all the ways I had dreamed of, and in ways I hadn’t even imagined — Amazon delivers on Sunday! Amazon delivers in TWO HOURS!! Beaches! Farmers Markets EVERYWHERE! Vegan chocolate cake … delivered!! More interesting things to see and do than can ever be seen and done!!! I could go on and on, but you get the picture. The struggles all but disappeared when I stopped clinging to my old life and reached out to embrace this new one.

Embracing my new reality doesn’t mean forgetting The Before Time ever existed. I still miss things about my old life — the vast expanses of thick green grass that cover every yard in Denver in the summer (this isn’t a thing in LA - thanks, drought!), starry night skies (also not a thing in LA - thanks, light pollution!), and most of all the deep, easy connection with familiar, beautiful, funny, kind, generous friends that just get me. The difference now is that I no longer start 90% of my sentences with some variation of “…but my old house had…”. 

And so I’ve learned a valuable lesson — Change that you choose isn’t necessarily easier than change that you don’t. Looking back at what used to be won’t stop change from happening (or undo it), but it will prevent you from receiving all the beautiful abundance coming your way that simply wasn’t possible before. Avoiding change doesn’t work, and wishing change didn’t happen doesn’t work, but embracing change does! If I had been able to magically wish away all the changes I chose this year when I really, really wanted to, I would be missing out on a whole lot of sparkly happiness now.  

The moral of the story is this: If there is something in your life that you want to change, DO IT. Do it now! Not because it will be easy, but because it will be worth it. If you're waiting for a sign, HERE IT IS ...

 

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You're welcome.


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