Something I've been especially passionate about as of late is the idea that life is short--too short to put off chasing our dreams, to live in fear of the unknown or of failure. Which is why I'm excited for this post from Ashley Blevins. I'm starting a series of guest posts, which Ashley's kicking off, from people and friends who are in various stages of going after their dreams. Hopefully, we can inspire you to dream, act on those dreams, and set yourselves free from whatever's holding you back.
Ashley's a dear friend who recently moved out to Los Angeles with her husband Nate and some friends to pursue her dream of being a writer. I asked her to write about what she's learned in the process of actually taking the first steps toward making her dream happen.
I couldn't be more excited for her as she begins this awesome adventure in LA, or for you to read this post. Enjoy.
I was really excited when Paul gave me the chance to write this because it caused me to stop and think about how insane the last couple months of my life have been.
Allow me to give you a real quick summary of things and where I am at with them: I’m a 26-year-old female human that recently moved 3,000+ miles across the country. I’ve worked solely in retail for my entire “professional” career, and on an unrelated note, I’ve been miserable for my entire “professional” career. I love to write. I’m an AMAZING watcher of any and all television screens. I am only capable of remembering useless pop culture trivia.
So the next logical step was obviously to move to California. By my logic, if I’m going to be a struggling (emphasis on the struggling) writer slowly working towards being the comedic writing genius that I want to be, I might as well do it here. It’s a dream that I never thought I would come close to.
I’m a small town bumpkin. It feels like I’m on vacation. I have no idea what I’m really doing. I spent months going back and forth from smiling until my face hurt to crying hysterically in the middle of the night wondering if I am making a huge mistake.
Here are a couple of things I have learned during this experience thus far. They’ve meant a lot to me and it feels good to get them out. I’m still working them out. You’re still reading? You’re amazing. Have at it.
1. Learn to be unapologetic about the things that you know you want to do.
It took me a long time to be able to tell people that I wanted to work my way into writing and/or performing as a career. And even then, putting the idea out in the open isn’t as easy as it sounds. I mean…I guess it could be for some people.
But not so much for me.
I have friends who are (ACTUAL REAL LIFE) doctors, teachers, and business bigwigs. People who have delivered babies in other countries and record albums for bands we’ve all listened to. This might sound like bragging until you remember that I’m telling you I know all of these people to prove the point that compared to them I know NOTHING.
I’ve worked in spotty retail jobs here and there without a real commitment for years. So saying to these people “I think I’m going to move to LA and try this thing” was terrifying to me. Usually it would turn into a conversation of “Well if you can’t do it now when can you?” and “It’s an exciting opportunity” when really all I had to say was I really want to give this thing a go.
Realizing that I don’t have to justify the choice to any person I come in contact with has been freeing.
2. Take note of whose opinion REALLY matters.
Once I got up the nerve to say this is what I wanted, a slew of opinions came rushing in:
“You’re going to hate California. I’ve lived there. I give you six months tops. You’ll be back.”
“Why? It’s so expensive. Good luck figuring out how to deal with those taxes.”
“Ugh, the traffic.”
“Couldn’t you just try to do that in New York? Then you wouldn’t be leaving your family behind.”
But guess what? None of that matters when you have people who mean the most to you and whose voice you hear the loudest supporting you.
When your parents start making plans to visit before you even leave. When your Dad drives a moving truck across the country to help.
Most importantly, when you have a husband willing to completely change his job, move everything you own and start all over again somewhere he’s never even been so you can try and get your chance. If you take the time to think about it, it’s easy to remember whose opinion you should actually take into consideration.
3. Take time to realize what you’re actually afraid of.
It’s also taken me a while to realize the fear I was experiencing involving this move might be a little more complicated than I had originally thought.
It would be perfectly natural and normal to be scared of moving to a new state a million miles away, regardless of the reason why. Starting a new job and moving are two super easy ways to convince everyone you’re an absolute monster after the stress starts to eat you alive. The trick is to realize you could be feeling this fear for more than just those reasons.
In the countless hours spent panicking about this upcoming life change, I realized another reason I was so paranoid was because I was more afraid of what could happen if I applied myself rather than what wasn’t going to happen when I got here. Because getting here is a huge part of the battle. Making friends with like-minded people, who are also ambitious about writing or performing or trying to be funny, can’t set me back; it can only help me grow.
So maybe I needed to focus on turning that fear into excitement for new opportunities. It’s definitely scary and I’m going to be shot down more times than not, but it’s also a pretty insane learning experience that I just couldn’t get prior to this move.
Do I have everything together? Absolutely not. I started a new job this week I’m hoping won’t make me want to bang my head against a wall every morning.
I need to save up money to be able to live before I can sign up for the classes I want to take.
I have to figure out more ways to show my husband how thankful I am that he’s willing to tag along for this ride.
I need to remember to wear sunscreen and to bring reusable totes every time I go to the store. A lot of ground to cover.
It’s getting there. I’m getting there.
I hope you are too.
Keep up with Ashley and her love of pop culture at The Baby Bangs.
Which of these lessons resonates the most with you? Talk to us.