There have been a whole lot of changes happening in my life the last two months, and it’s nice to have my first normal, solid week behind me. I keep waiting to feel jarred by the change, to feel all those sad and depressed emotions that come with major life changes, especially break-ups. But then, I mostly find that I just feel…great. I am remembering that living alone suits me well, and that I don’t actually get lonely or bored. I revel in the spare time I have, enjoying the freedom to create my own schedule, sleep on both sides of the bed if I so choose, and cook whatever things sound good to me even if the cooking doesn’t start until midnight.
I stayed in a situation that ultimately was not right for me, for far too long, and am now trying to understand what I was so afraid of all that time. There were a bunch of things that made me decide to stay when I should have left, but the biggest reason was that I was afraid of making such a big change. And now that I’m on the other side of things, I keep thinking, Wow, I actually really like it over here.
When my father was sick and dying, I spent the last six months of his life caring for him together with my mom and brothers. During that time, every day could have been the last, and so I was eager to get as much information out of him as I could. One day while we rested together, I asked him what he wanted for me, in terms of a career and life after he was gone. I wanted him to just tell me what to do, so that even if it wasn’t necessarily what I wanted for myself, I would always know that I had his approval. Of course, he wouldn’t give me such a clear answer because all he wanted for me was to be happy, whatever that means for me.
He told me that the number one thing he wanted me to remember was to never shy away from change. When he had the opportunity to buy camp, he almost didn’t take it because he was nervous to make such a giant leap into an unknown career. He said to me, “If you don’t like your job then quit and get a new one, if you don’t have a happy marriage then get a divorce. If you don’t like the city you live in then move to a new place. It’s as easy as this—if something is making you unhappy, just change it.” Though his advice has stayed with me all this time, I’m finally listening to it and acting on it.
How silly it would have been for me to keep heading down an unhealthy path because of something as impermanent as fear. I know that my father would be proud of me for lots of things—for my writing, for being a good friend, for going after the things that make me happiest. But most of all, I know he would be proud that I had the courage to make a big change no matter how scary it was. And to be honest, once I got on the other side of things, I saw that there really was nothing to be scared of at all. It’s pretty damn great over here.
I’m listening now, Dad. Definitely paying attention.