Spoiler alert: This post has nothing to do with delicious desserts or running. It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything to the blog because I’ve been going through some things in my personal life. In the interest of keeping it real, I wanted to share this totally unglamorous post about the importance of allowing yourself to change your mind.
One of my favorite animated Disney movies is the totally underrated 2010 Rapunzel flick, “Tangled.” In the movie, Rapunzel spends 18 years dreaming of the day when she can walk into town and see the Chinese lanterns light up the night sky. Right before the celebration is set to begin, Rapunzel turns to her partner in crime (literally) and says:
Rapunzel: I’ve been looking out of a window for eighteen years, dreaming about what it might feel like when those lights rise in the sky. What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?
Flynn: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn: Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.
And then Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi break into the most beautiful song and I weep into my bowl of popcorn.
In all seriousness, I love that part of the movie because like Rapunzel, I’ve been struggling to let go of one dream in order to pursue a new one. Everyone knows that jumping into the unknown can be scary, but I feel like no ones talks about how frightening it can be to close the door on something we used to hold dear. What if I make a mistake? What if I find out that my new dream is bogus? What if I fail? What if I change my mind?
I’m really quite exceptional when it comes to worrying about things that haven’t happened yet, and it tends to paralyze any decision-making abilities I might have. Which is why I’m still a little confused and more than a little impressed that I’ve finally decided to sell all my stuff and leave Los Angeles at the end of this year.
When I moved to LA four years ago, I was a much different person with vastly different priorities. I was still in college, I was healing from a very bizarre relationship, and all I wanted to do was get a job that sounded impressive to my family and friends. I had dreamed of living in Los Angeles and working in entertainment for ages, and I was so overwhelmed that it was finally happening. I wanted to prove myself and show everyone that LA really is as cool as “The Hills” had made it look in high school. I was 21 years old and armed with all the ambition and narcissism I could carry, and if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I had the opportunity to work for Disney and Emmy-nominated reality shows and even won an Emmy myself, and I’m incredibly proud of all of those things. I’m so glad I got to live in LA right after graduating. I had so many dreams when I moved here, and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to cross a lot of those off the list.
That being said, somewhere around the end of 2014, I started to question what the heck I was doing with my life. The glitz and glamour of Hollywood had started to show its uglier side, and I wasn’t sure a career in show biz was sustainable for the type of future I’d envisioned. My work/life balance was taking a hit and my mental and physical health were put on the back burner. The long hours and the endless stress were worth it when I was younger and eager to please, but it was starting to take a toll on my body. I told myself, “You can’t quit now, this is what you went to college to do.” The truth is, television is something I kind of fell into in college. People thought I was good at producing, so I thought I was good at producing, and the next thing I know, I wanted nothing more than to work in TV. It happened so quickly and I got so wrapped up in it that succeeding in entertainment became the only thing that mattered. And when it stopped mattering, I was totally lost.
This year I realized two things. 1. I really need to make my happiness the top priority and 2. I’m way too worried about what other people think of me. My ego is concerned that my peers will think I’m a failure if I leave LA. I am embarrassed that my passions have shifted from what I went to school to learn. I am afraid that it’s too late to change the course of my “career” at the ripe age of 25. Mostly, I am grossly unhappy but ashamed to admit it. I am literally living what was once my dream, so why do I feel so out of place? If I don’t want to work in entertainment or live in LA anymore, what the heck am I going to do?
Like Rapunzel, I am going to find a new dream, scary as it may be.
For the first time in my entire life, I do not where I’m going to be in 6 months. I don’t know where I’ll be living or where I’ll be working. I don’t know if I’ll succeed or fall flat on my face. I don’t know how I’m going to make money. But here’s what I do know: I want to be happy. I want to live in a city where I feel 25, not 45. I want to keep exploring. I want to continue to challenge myself to choose happiness over complacency.
I’m really looking forward to spending time with my family over the holidays and having the time to relax and explore my options. Because I’m a type-A planner, I should be a nervous wreck, but I feel genuinely at peace with this decision, and that’s how I know it’s the right one. Choosing to have faith and to trust is not easy for me. But they say that you know when you know. I know in my gut that a grand adventure is waiting just around the corner. I can’t wait to find out what it is.
Thanks for reading! Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Have you gone through something similar?