I've been having some fairly frank conversation lately, asking people inside my industry for career advice. On a similar note, I've been listening to others as they share what they've accomplished and what they wish they'd accomplished - and travel keeps coming up. Not just travel, but "live someplace else" has actually come up twice in two days. John and I have talked about this ourselves a lot (don't panic, mom and dad. try to stay calm.) - we'd love to spend at least a year living in a different state - or country. I guess the reason/opportunity just hasn't presented itself yet.
This week I had lunch with a previous boss that I highly respect - and when I asked him for general advice on what I should be doing - he encouraged me essentially to not be afraid to move around, he added "while you're young enough for it to be a benefit." I think that is something possibly unique to his industry, or even company, but traveling, gaining broad, almost unrelated experience and living adventures made young employees that much more desirable to them. According to him, when we're young, any new opportunity, just demonstrates to a boss that you were able to adapt and learn new skills in one new situation or environment. I find that remarkably freeing!!!
I'm the youngest child with the classic fear of "missing out" - and for some reason I have a lot of gravity to me that makes me less afraid of missing out on the fun stuff than on the "important" stuff. I never wanted to miss out on a future college based on my high school grades - I never wanted to miss out on starting in Sunday's game by missing Friday's practise, even if it meant skipping a party or movie night. I didn't want to miss out on being with an awesome man, by buying wasting time with a lame one, even just for a dinner. So for me, it's more natural for me to think I must stay in the crummy situation, power through, do the hardest thing... otherwise, I might miss out. And here is a successful company owner saying, "Do stuff. Travel. Quit. Jump around. Try out different roles and size companies and industries. Do what you want to do. It will make you better right now." Awwwwww! It feels good. (PS - not an exact quote - but the gist of the message)
I know not all business owners feel this way - and honestly, I think a lot of people need to learn to push through the shitty stuff, learn to finish, walk away from the experience with a full story, not just a climax... but it sure feels good to know you aren't stuck in that one story forever!!
But back to travel - John and I had the trip of a lifetime, and I feel like 6 months later, it's only beginning to sink in. I hope the fruit of that trip continues to grow in us and define us. And I hope we keep taking trips. I hope we keep living an adventure. I hope we go live someplace else someday, if even for just one year. I hope we buy a bed and breakfast or open a restaurant or start a business. I hope we help our city. I hope we think up a good opportunity/solution for those facing homelessness in our community - even if it is just providing one of their basic needs. I hope we see the world and keep letting it teach us how to better see the world.
I also hope I find that job that I love. That I feel made for. That thing that makes my spirit say, this is it. This is what I went to school for - this is what I worked through all those other roles and experiences for - this is what I'm for! Most likely I'll find it by continuing to move forward... and maybe a little bit more moving around, maybe even taking a wild risk or two. Maybe more doing what I want...less doing what I've done.
People who inspire me on this: Madison Unger, Jordyn Cline, my sister, my husband. They know doing what you want isn't easy either - but they're forging paths in the direction of what burns inside them rather than disassociating from their dreams for a paycheck.