It’s almost five in the morning, and I’ve been up for around two hours already. Despite the fact that I didn’t go to bed until later than usual last night, I still woke up extra early. My bottom right eyelid has been twitching for about two weeks now- not constantly, thank God, but often enough that it’s starting to make me feel like a cartoon character that is on the verge of a breakdown. Oh, and I’ve been straight-up spamming you all with my endless parade of blog posts. I mean, you don’t have to read them if you don’t want to…although I’m glad you are. Sincerely. But mostly, I just need a place to unload and sort through my current tangle of feelings. Because…I’m scared. I’m not ashamed to admit it.
I’m a person who is always reaching a little higher, and this has served me quite well over the years. If it wasn’t for that determined spirit, I doubt I would be where I am right now. Perhaps I would’ve stopped trying to get clean after the first dozen failures. Maybe I wouldn’t have enrolled myself in technical school while I was still drowning in addiction, promising myself that I’d be clean by the time my classes started- a promise I kept, by the way, for quite a while at least.
In early 2008, I was living in Sparks, Nevada, in a small apartment with Aisley, who was nine- coincidentally, the same age Camryn is now- and life was a struggle. I was clean, and had a decent job, a bank account, a shitty little Nissan Altima, and not much else. My boyfriend at the time was awesome, but had no interest in moving things to the next stage, I was broke all the time, and I was homesick. I wanted to be back near the ocean, I craved the green trees and damp air after so long in the high desert. My job at the time had some design on promoting me once I had passed my coding exam, and had offered to pay the two hundred dollar fee for the test.
But my longing was too much. One day, I walked into my boss Rosa’s office, my stomach in knots, and I said “I can’t let you guys pay for my test. I think I want to move home.” She took it much less personally than I expected, and eventually, she told me they would like to pay for my exam anyway, even knowing I was leaving. Just because. I could go way off course here with stories of things like this happening for me- examples of over the top kindnesses shown to me beyond anything I would ever have dreamed of or expected, but I won’t. I’ll just tell you that there have been many. This was a big one.
And so, I took the damn test. One year of full time night classes did not adequately prepare me for that damn test. It was HARD. I didn’t know a lot of the answers. But I did my best, and guessed a lot (thank God for multiple choice) and at the end, I exited the exam room feeling defeated. “How’d it go?” the proctor asked me. “It sucked.” I replied, very professionally. “Huh…well, at least you passed.” She said. “What? I did? Are you sure?!” I demanded- I was so certain I had failed, that I made her double check her work. “Yep. You passed.” She assured me.
Holy hell! I left that place so excited and elated that I felt as though my blood were carbonated. I polished up my resume, adding my new credentials to the rather meager little thing, and I faxed it (this was 2008, remember? Faxes were still king.) to every hospital in Monterey County. I even sent one to my dream employer, sure that it was a long shot, but hey! A girl can dream, right?
So imagine my surprise when my dream employer was the first to call me back. Almost immediately. We had a phone interview, the HR person asked me to update my resume again to include something I hadn’t thought important enough to list, and then she called me back for an in-person interview in two weeks.
And this is where I really got risky. I gave up my job, my apartment, and my relationship, and I moved into my friends living room on an air mattress…for an interview. I didn’t have a backup plan. There was no plan B. But something was pulling me so hard in that direction that it almost felt like it wasn’t a choice anymore. Everything was pointing me this way. My interview went off without a hitch, the job paid me double my highest ever wage from day one, and within three months I was living in a cute little place on a forested hill where I could see peeks of the ocean from the deck. For the first time in my whole life, I could buy groceries without keeping a running tally in my head of what I could spend. I had followed the signs, and they did not lead me astray. Even though it looked like a huge gamble, I really don’t know if it was. I think I was supposed to do exactly what I did.
Now, almost thirteen years later, I am finding myself being swept into that current once again. When I started this post, I was going to say that the main difference is that I have so much more to lose this time…but that isn’t true. I’m not in danger of losing anything. I am actually in much better shape this time around. I have the blessing of my job of twelve plus years, a massive safety net that I didn’t have before. I have really good credit. And I have accrued some wisdom in the past decade or so. When I put it like that, it seems pretty simple. This morning, I was thinking to myself “What if this is a huge mistake? Like, what if I get there and I’m miserable and I have to come back here in six months and admit it was a bad choice to uproot my life and move almost three thousand miles away?”
And you know what that little voice in my head said?: “So what? So what if it is, so what if you do? You aren’t allowed to mess up? You have to do everything perfectly, all the time?”
Well. I didn’t think of that.
“And besides,” the little voice said, “You’re focused on the few things that could go wrong. But there are a million things that could go right, too. You have no idea. The possibilities are endless.”
Listen, I don’t know who that little voice belongs to- if it’s part of me, or if it comes from some other, smarter, more evolved being…but it has a point. And I think the point is, in order to live life to the fullest, sometimes you have to take risks. Sometimes you have to be okay with knowing there is no guarantee that things will work out. You have to make your peace with other people not understanding your choices. You have to be afraid and ask anyway, try anyway, jump anyway.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a rental agreement to sign.