Just How Extraordinary it Feels When you DO THE SCARY SHIT
Before I turned 30, I would have described myself as staid. I graduated from college and immediately started my career as a high school English teacher at my alma mater. I saved money and bought a house. I casually dated the same guy for about three years. I had a schedule and a routine. I was totally depressed.
December 2016 was my 30th birthday and I had to depend on my parents to deal with a sticky situation that I could not solve on my own. I realized I needed a change. I was done being unhappy. That milestone birthday and the change of year gave me the kick in the ass to make some changes that really were terrifying to me. Seems that I got into a habit because I’ve just kept on doing scary shit ever since.
In January, I gave my crap “boyfriend” an ultimatum. I realized he was the worst and we’d just been floating along half-assed for ages because it was a habit. I told him I wanted more and if he couldn’t spend more time and energy on me and us then we wouldn’t continue seeing each other. He wasn’t willing to make any changes and I felt a weight lift off me as I told him I was done.
I joined my first online dating site. I was scared of serial killers and “nice guys” but I figured I’d date around for a bit since it’d been a few years since I’d done that. I went on a few dates which were fun for storytelling and a few good ones. I kept putting off this one dude who’d messaged me right away. I really liked talking with him but had told myself I didn’t want to jump into something serious and I had a feeling he’d be serious material.
I went on a date with that dude on February 9, 2016. He accidentally met my crazy runner friends on our second date. He spent Easter with my family. By that summer, he was pretty much living in my house. I’d never been in so serious of a relationship and had to spend those first months reminding myself that this guy was the real deal and wouldn’t leave. We got engaged that winter, butterflies beating the hell out of my nervous stomach.
I quit my job of nearly 10 years in March of 2017. I loved the kids I was working with, I loved literature and writing. I didn’t love the lack of support from administrators, the yelling parents, endless meetings, testing that didn’t matter, binders of evidence, making less money each year...I was dreading pulling into the parking lot every day. So I made a leap. It was terrifying as I was helping start a new business with none of the safety nets I had as a teacher but I felt free for the first time in years.
I kept the “this could go wrong, but fuck it” theme going as we planned our wedding. We threw a cocktail party wedding reception for our family. I’d planned enough proms as a teacher and formal events as an event manager that I knew I didn’t want that for us. Because of our budget and venue, we weren’t able to invite friends to the ceremony. Basically, I spent a month explaining myself frantically to friends and family about our decisions, hoping people weren’t offended. Turns out I didn’t need to worry: the wedding was totally chill and fun and intoxicating and we had a sweaty dance party with friends later that night.
We decided to expand our family. I had been on oral contraception for over 15 years to regulate my hormones, so I was really nervous about what would happen when I stopped. But I did, in February of 2018, assuming it would take a while to get pregnant. Nope. Memorial Day weekend 2018 I had a positive pregnancy test. I said “holyshitwhatarewedoing” for the next nine months.
I realized about five months into my pregnancy that my “new” job and schedule weren’t going to be conducive to raising a family. I went from not leaving a job ever to job hunting again, quietly, for the second time in two years. At 36 weeks pregnant, I interviewed for a job at a nonprofit human services agency...and got it. My husband and I spent a long time talking about the salary cut I’d be taking, but realized that more family time outweighed any budget tightening we’d have to do. Which brings us up to, honestly, the absolute scariest thing I’ve done in the last three years.
My husband and I decided it was time to sell the house. Baby Zeus is only four months old, but we need a bigger yard and quieter street. I’ve been here for nine years. Adopted my dogs here. Thrown fabulous parties. Hosted holidays. Started our family. My body oscillates between anxiety and excitement at this whole process. But it’s time for the next leap into the future.
Bring on the scary shit.
What’s the run of scary things you’ve done? How do you deal with the anxiety of making big decisions?