I believe that no one should ever feel misunderstood or alone.
I believe that together, we are stronger.
I believe that when you have dreams, you should go after them.
I believe that nothing is truly out of my reach.
I believe that I have a story to tell.
And I have a dream that one day, my story will make an impact on someone else’s life.
[This post is longer than normal but please, please, PLEASE give it a real read as I have put a piece of my heart and soul into it]
A few months ago, I was barely able to get out of bed in the morning. The minute I opened my eyes, my whole body ached. I was tired and I did not want to take on another day.
For weeks I had been going through the motions of my life, simply doing enough to get by. I had lost my spark and for once, I really did not care. Such is life, I would think as I dragged myself up and got ready to go back into a job that I hated. Such. Is. Life.
Music became background noise, as I drove the 25 minutes back and forth from my house to work. I didn’t care what was on the radio, it didn’t matter. When I would get home (another 25 minutes of solemness), glasses of wine and worlds of television fiction would numb the pain. I used to love to read… but I hadn’t touched a book pretty much all year. Such is life, there are other things more important now. I am tired. It doesn’t matter.
Bills to pay…
Ladders to climb…
People to please…
Such is life.
I guess maybe I’ll try to find a different job. There must be something out there that is better. Another company… another title… another salary… It’s all the same at this point. Been there, done that. As long as my mortgage gets paid, that’s all that matters.
WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME!?!
This has not been the first time this has happened. Anyone that has known me for a while knows that I have gone a through periods in my life where I felt this way. The most recent one being about two years ago when I quit my full-time job to focus on flying planes (yes – I am a licensed private pilot). I’ve been known to make emotional decisions and chase some highs. I mean I’ve had 6 jobs in the last 6 years… sticking to one thing hasn’t exactly been my thing.
For years I have blamed these phases on my anxiety. After all, trying to become an adult is a tough business. When I would become anxious, my natural instinct was to avoid it by changing my environment or situation. The storm always passes quicker if you can find a way to navigate around it, rather than through it.
But this time, it was different. This time, I didn’t want to be the captain of my life anymore. I wanted to retreat, give up and just let the sea of life take me where it wanted me to go. I was going to force myself to struggle through this job and make it stick. I was going to climb the ladder and make more money and buy a house and give up my childish dreams because those were never going to help me become a successful adult.
I was going to surrender. But thank god, I didn’t.
Rather than continue to plot another course, I decided to navigate back to port and reevaluate where I was going in life (that was the last sailing metaphor, I swear). It was time for me to really grow up and face what was going on with me, head on.
It was the first time in my life that I decided to shut out everyone and everything and take some time to be alone with myself. So I quit my job, lined up some part-time gigs [because my mortgage is still a thing, as much as I wish it was not] and began to rewrite my life.
The first thing that I had to do was tackle my anxiety by trying to answer two main questions: where was it coming from and how could I overcome it? I had been to therapists, taken the medication, done the yoga and meditation, tried the essential oils, cleaned up my diet, tried to work out more… but at the end of the day, all these things were bandaids. They weren’t solving the problem- they were masking it.
And so for the last few weeks, I went on a journey to discover myself. I didn’t travel the world or go on a retreat… I did it all while continuing to live my everyday life, as a normal, broke, almost 28-year old woman. It has not been pretty and it has not been easy but for the first time in my life, I feel free.
HOLY SHIT DID YOU READ THAT LAST LINE!?!? I FINALLY FEEL FREE!!
“But Alyssa” (you might ask) “why weren’t you free before? You were an adult who could make her own decisions and had the opportunity to change her life at any point. No one was holding a gun to your head and forcing you to make the decisions that you were making.”
And if that is what most of you are thinking, you are exactly right. No one was forcing me to do anything for the last 6 years… except for me. I was the one who was making decisions that were wrong for myself, chasing after “passions” that didn’t really exist, and blaming my anxiety on habits that I had developed when I was young.
I wasn’t free because I was subconsciously holding myself back from being the woman that I truly wanted to be. And it was all because I was afraid.
I was afraid to fail, I was afraid of being broke, I was afraid of disappointing other people and myself… but mostly I was afraid that I may never actually achieve my dreams and everything I did would be for nothing.
What a load of bullshit. I mean, come on… talk about a pity party.
So here I was, finally connecting with my deepest fears and deeply rooted causes of my anxiety. I knew where it was all coming from so the next step was to figure out how to be rid of it.
I knew that if I wanted to overcome my fears and go after my dream, I had to figure out what that dream really was.
This part took a lot of energy. It is one thing to discover what is going on with you but it is a whole other beast to figure out how you are going to fix it.
I started by thinking about what I would be doing if money wasn’t a factor. I used to love to read and write back when I was younger and there wasn’t any timeline or pressure surrounding it. So I put that on my list: I want to write again.
Great. What else?
I want to start something that is my own where I can collaborate with some of the amazing people that I have worked with in the past. (NOTE: This was the highlight of all of my jobs… I have met some seriously awesome people who have taught me many different skills and have helped shape me professionally). So I started with the one person that I knew would totally get me… my friend, Emily.
One day I texted her and said “hey! want to start a wellness website with me?” And of course, she was down. She and I have always connected on a different level. Our values have always aligned and she is someone that I deeply respect and admire. It was a perfect fit for what I was looking for.
Boom. We decided to start a website.
Now I had the platform where I could write. But what was it that I wanted to accomplish? Wellness was such a broad topic… how was it that Emily and I could leave our footprint?
Then it hit me, the exact thing that had held me back for so long was going to be what pushed me forward: my anxiety. Emily and I both had it and knew that we wanted to share how we have both managed to live medication free for the last 6+ years.
This was my dream. To tell my story and help others have the courage to tell theirs. To tell people that it is okay to feel shitty and sometimes hate your life… to assure them that this too will pass. I want to build a community that boosts each other up rather than tear each other down. I never, ever, ever want someone to feel alone.
I want my life to be an example of the fact that all of our lives are less than perfect and THAT is exactly what makes us special. That is okay to fall victim to your own mind… I have been there (I still go there sometimes) and I know exactly how you feel.
Vacations are great but I hope no one ever has to feel like they need to escape their real life in order to find themselves. Even during our darkest moments, there is something so beautiful waiting on the other side. We can all change our lives, right here and now.
A few months ago, I didn’t want to live my life anymore. Today, I am sitting here choosing to live my dream.
You can too. All you have to do is figure out what it is and go after it.
Let’s start helping each other achieve our dreams. Let’s create a world that we CHOOSE to be a part of. Let’s empower each other to be the truest forms of ourselves and ensure that one day, no one will ever be told that their dreams aren’t possible.
This is my dream. What is yours?
P.s. I wasn’t lying about being a pilot. And to think that I never thought I would ever be able to do that either…