I’ve never been an early adopter. Despite making it a point to show up on time to appointments, my risk aversion tendencies made me late to everything else. I insisted people call me long after everyone had embraced texting. Caught up with The Good Wife in her third season. And have you heard of that new singer-songwriter? Name’s Taylor Swift. Should totally check her out.
What I was really resistant to, it turned out, was change. This, despite being a journalist, where all we did was revise until a story goes to bed. Part of it came as a result of my upbringing – I was shy and a people pleaser, and found it best to keep my head down, do what was expected of me and not to upset the status quo.
Part of it was as a result of never really being challenged to fight for what I want. I worked hard and studied, but things also kind of fell into place – high school, college, a job in New York — so I didn’t feel the need to question anything. I didn’t have to push back because I didn’t have anything to push against.
All of this, however, led to a fear of failure. Of trying something different and unexpected for fear of losing what I already had. I had already established myself as a journalist – why should I risk it all for something I may or may not achieve? Why change course now? I should just put my head down and keep working.
Until I had spun my wheels for so long that one day, I found myself in a paralyzing rut. So I quit my job and moved back to California, armed with only a vague notion that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my days working in entertainment journalism. Cut to a chapter we’ll call “Failure to Launch,” replete with closed doors and missed opportunities, hard humiliating falls and scraping from one day to the next. Freelance gigs sputtered. Housing was lost. Submitted resumes disappeared into the ether. Yes, it sent me down a spiral of self-doubt. Yes, it made me question everything that I am. But it also pushed me to figure out who and what I am, what I really wanted, and to put up my dukes and fight.
When I was established and “settled,” I was afraid to risk for fear of losing what I had. It was when I had nothing left to lose that I realized that it’s only in embracing the change and taking a chance that my life could actually get moving.
Better late than never, I guess. I feel like I’m just getting started.