Jump In

knowing when to say enough


I'm going to tell you a story...but it's one of those stories where the ending is a little fuzzy. Mainly because it's still being written. But as stories go, it has everything: love, fear, adventure, longing and, after a  few false starts, happiness.

The story begins as most stories do. At the beginning. Our heroine begins her journey. She wants to set the world on fire. Or, at the very least, set the world on a very warm steam.

She does well. She makes mistakes, but she embraces some and ignores others. She loves her job. I mean really loves her job. Heck, most people would LOVE to do what she does every day. She's the delight of cocktail parties and polite conversation.

Ten years flash by her eyes. One morning she realizes she doesn't love her job as much as she used to.  There's no joy in it anymore. No anticipation. No fun. What's worse, her work is beginning to suffer because of it.

When your heart isn't in what you do, then what you do won't have any heart.

But she keeps at it anyway. For longer than she admits to anyone, she does the same thing over and over. Then after a few months, she's on vacation and worrying about work. More specifically, worrying about returning to work after vacation. She hates the thought of spending one more day working a job she hates.

But she keeps at it for a little longer. She starts reading and researching a change of careers in her spare time. She begins to make other plans. But nothing concrete. She tells no one. She makes a website for her new career. She takes it down. She makes another. Then another. She takes those down, too. She makes one last website, and asks for some feedback. The feedback is kind, helpful, considerate and constructive. She takes the website down anyway. She's too afraid of doing something completely new.

Something happens one day. She puts up a new website, and she leaves it up. She's tells one person. A friend. Shyly, over dinner. She cringes, waiting for her friend to laugh. There's no laughter. Only support. Friendship. Unconditional love. She breathes a sigh of relief. She does two things at the same time: the thing she loves and the thing she no longer loves. It's hard to do both, but she does. 

She keeps reading and researching. She's a number's girl at heart, so data makes her feel better. She tells her friends what she's learned. They're impressed, but encourage her to jump in with both feet. She hesitates. She wants to know more about how. She keeps learning. She learns so much.

But there's always more to learn. More to discover about her upcoming adventures. The preparations for a new beginning becomes her pastime. She spends months reading. She is an expert in the art of the theoretical start. She reads books, attends workshops, listens to podcasts, goes to classes, rearranges her office, buys new notebooks, sharpens her pencils and hangs new pictures. 

Until finally, there isn't. There's more to study, of course, there's always more. But the process becomes more like variations of a theme, rather than new and interesting topics. All about starting something new.

There's nothing else to do but start. So she does.

And it's terrifying and exhilarating and satisfying all at once. And she has no idea when or how this story ends. (I told you it was a fuzzy ending!), but the only thing she knows is that it's time to jump in.

With both feet. 

She jumps off of the thing she used to love, and lands on the thing she loves now.