It’s 8:00pm. I’m sitting in my friend’s dorm room in Southern California, with my bags completely unpacked and a flight booked in 2 hours’ time with no way to get to the airport. It was way too late to book a shuttle that would get me there in time and Los Angeles isn’t exactly known for its public transportation system. So in typical L.A. fashion I call an uber to come save me from this situation.
As I waited on the curb for the car to arrive an anxious knot began to grow in my stomach. After leaving my school in California a few months ago and moving up the coast to Washington State, I was finally feeling like I got my life back together. I found a job that I liked, was able to make time to travel and was making moves to transfer to a university in the fall. Still it felt like there was something missing from my life back in Seattle. Being back in California, seeing my friends, and re-immersing myself into the city I had just moved from was making me doubt my decision all over again. The same question kept popping into my head: If I enjoyed being in California so much, why did I leave in the first place?
My phone buzzed. My uber driver was arriving.
As he pulled up, I took a deep breath to recollect myself before opening the door. I threw my backpack and my body into the backseat of his tiny car and smiled into the review mirror before giving him the address. Little did I know that the man behind the wheel was about to make me contemplate my entire existence while we were cruising down the highway. As it turned out, when I was booking a ride to the airport, I was also booking a ride with a certified life coach, who wasn’t going to hold anything back when I told him about the concerns I was having.
This is what he taught me.
Life Isn’t Linear
When I told my uber driver that I had recently dropped out of college he congratulated me. That’s not exactly everybody’s first reaction. He explained to me that life isn’t linear. The picture perfect timeline that society pushes on us does not exist. Your only option isn’t to go to school, start a career, get married, have children and retire. Life is full of hills and plateaus and just when you think you have it all figured out it all comes crashing down around you. I was just as surprised as anyone else when I decided to leave school, but it didn’t mean that my life was over. I quickly started a job that I loved and used the money that I would’ve spent on textbooks to buy plane tickets and to have new experiences. Life was still happening, it was just happening on my own terms.
Do the Damn Thing
I had become stagnant after restarting life in Seattle. I was stuck in a vicious cycle of working, eating and sleeping day after day. I had lost pretty much all my inspiration as I found myself alone most of the time and without anything to do with my newfound free time. When I explained these feelings to my uber driver he told me to think about all the things that I wanted to do, make a list, and then make moves to start them. I wanted to travel but I didn’t have the money to buy plane tickets every time I wanted to go someplace new. So I started exploring different neighborhoods in Seattle to get the sense of exploration that I was craving. I wanted to learn new languages but I wasn’t taking any classes. So I started brushing up on my Spanish online and learning basic French on my own time. Once I started working towards reaching my goals, I didn’t want to stop. I learned how to motivate myself to be productive instead sitting back and wasting the day away binge watching Netflix and scrolling through my phone.
Surround Yourself with Passionate People
While I love living in Seattle even I must admit that it doesn’t have the same creative energy that Los Angeles does. I missed the murals painted throughout the city, the street performers at Venice Beach, and the unique people I was constantly surrounded with while walking through the streets. But after speaking with my uber driver about not being content with where I was, I realized that maybe the city itself wasn’t to blame. It was the people I was choosing to surround myself with.
When I was living in California I made friends with people who were bloggers, photographers, videographers and activists. People who inspired me daily and made me genuinely happy to be around. It took a while to admit to myself that some of the relationships I had in my life back in Seattle, weren’t healthy and weren’t making me happy anymore. I grew distant from some of my friends from high school while my relationships with others grew much closer. My circle of friends now is much smaller but much more fulfilling.
Believe in your Capabilities
Basically what I took away from the entire conversation is this. We all have goals, we all want to accomplish the things we set out for ourselves, and we all want to be happy in our lives. The first step in accomplishing anything in life is to believe that you can accomplish it. You want to travel? Do it. You want to go to college? Do it. You want to drop out of college and pursue something else? DO IT. No one is stopping you, but you.