Before I moved to LA I had never been here. Not once. The first time I saw my apartment in person was the day I moved in. Before I moved to LA I had never drove 30 hours straight, packed up all my belongings and said, screw it – let’s go!
A year before I moved, my boyfriend and I talked about moving from Chicago to Atlanta and after a few years moving to LA which was our ultimate dream. Why don’t we just go straight to LA? I remember saying to him one day. While we both knew we wanted to move to Los Angeles going straight there for us somehow seemed unattainable. We thought about the expensive price of living, we thought about being so far away from our families and knowing absolutely no one, we thought about having to completely start over, then we thought about our dreams and every excuse seemed not so big. We knew about how much we wanted to be in Los Angeles so we took the necessary steps to make our dream happen.
When I was 20 I did something similar, something crazy and so not typical of me. I saw an ad on craigslist looking for actresses for a traveling theater company. The ad required a degree in theater which I did not have. In fact I had only acted in a church drama group and did some extra work as an adult and before that the bulk of what I had done in acting was from my childhood. I mentioned the ad to my boyfriend and he encouraged me to apply anyway. So I did. I didn’t even have a headshot but I did it. I ended up getting an audition and immediately was hired. I toured with the company for a few months, and had a whirlwind experience.
I have countless times of doing this, just going for it and plenty of times where I wish I had of. One thing I’ve always thought about is what is the worst that can happen? So many times we get so caught up in the negative we start to talk ourselves out of doing, of trying, of simply going for it! Frankly at 30 years old I’m finally starting to get out of my shell and actively work on quieting that pesky voice that starts reminding me why I shouldn’t every time I or my spouse comes up with something that might sound a little scary at first. If you’re struggling to just start doing, here are a few tips to help you get moving into the right direction.
1. You only have today
What if you died tomorrow? Morbid I know, I talk about death a lot actually but hear me out. If you died tomorrow would you die satisfied that you did everything you wanted? If you didn’t get a second chance would you be happy knowing that hey even though I’m dead now, ya know what I lived an amazing life! If you can’t say that then you should probably start living the life you’ve been stopping yourself from living. There is no tomorrow, there is no yesterday, there is only today, right now. While I’m not telling you not to save for a rainy day that may or may not come, or get your degree or do whatever other responsible adult thing living only in the moment may make you not do, I am telling you that if you aren’t living the life you want to live, you should probably start working towards that now and stop telling yourself you will do it a day that may never come.
2. But did you die
Do you remember being on a roller coaster when you were a kid and feeling terrified? Your stomach may have been in knots the entire time but at the end you survived. Was there ever a time where you took a crazy risk? Maybe you got up the nerve to tell that person you’ve always liked how you felt about them. Maybe they laughed in your face and left you heartbroken. Did you ever start a business that didn’t exactly pan out and left you sleeping on your moms couch for three months? Guess what? You did not die! You went for what you wanted. You bravely set out to do something and whether you failed or not doesn’t matter. You did what you set out to do and that is admirable. It’s not likely that everything we want to do in life is always going to go exactly how we plan. You’re going to fall but you’re also going to fly. You’re still here to keep trying things out, to hopefully fly more than you fall. So keep going, the worst that can happen usually doesn’t and when it does, you’re still here to try again.
3. You can always go back
One thing that should give you peace of mind is, you can always go back. I have a few experiences of quitting jobs that were in essence my security in order to pursue my dream of writing. I was never afraid to do this. I already was making enough to pay rent with my freelance writing and social media gigs and figured I would hustle to get the money for bills. It hasn’t always been easy. But it has definitely been worth it. The pay off of getting to make my own schedule, pursue my dreams in screenwriting and work from home without pants on is a triple win for me. One thing I have learned is if for whatever reason this stops working for me, I can always go back. I can always find a job. You have been working all of your adult life, you know how to do that. Fill out a few applications, go on some job interviews, and eventually land a job. What you haven’t been doing is living your life to the fullest, living off your savings and backpacking across West Africa, getting a music studio and pursuing your dreams in music, finding an agent and going on 5 auditions a day, starting your business idea you’ve been thinking of for years. You can always get a job but unfortunately 20 years from now you may not be able to be Beyonce’s lead back up dancer or the leading lady in a romantic comedy. The time is now to follow your dreams and hey, if it doesn’t work you can always go back to what you know.
No matter what your dream is, ultimately the only person who can stop you, is you. Start letting go of the excuses that have been holding you back and start reminding yourself all of the reasons why you absolutely must go for it! Remember the only thing that comes to a dreamer is a dream. Start doing!
Love & light