This week I tried something new. It was a skill I had yet to learn, and something so stupid and simple that it was really quite embarrassing that I hadn’t just done it already. For some reason, the smallest things can hold a lot of fear over us, whether because we are afraid we won’t act the right way or look out of place or that we will get yelled at and sent away.
I rode a metro bus for the first time in my life.
How ridiculous is that? I rode the subway in Boston a number of times, and had even tried the new light rail in Seattle, but normally I just relied on the safety of my car to get around. But now at age 24, I’m trying to save some money on commuting costs and it has finally gave me a reason to muster up the courage to load my metro card with some money and get on a bus to take me to the city instead of dealing with overpriced and impossible parking.
So on Wednesday, I left the comfort of my car, boarded the ferry, got off the boat and marched straight up to the crosswalk, scanned my newly loaded card and proceeded to wait for the next bus.
And I was scared.
I felt like at any moment I would… I don’t know… get on the bus wrong? I’d be turned away and I’d be stranded in an area that I wasn’t familiar with and would have to break down and call my friends to save me and cry about it. This wasn’t in the safety of my comfort zone! What was I going to do if someone found out this was my first time?!
I can already see the look in your eyes and the disbelief in your face. “This super-privileged, white girl from wealthy suburbia is whining because she had to use a bus? Give me a break!” Trust me, I realize how stupid I sound. I made it clear to my sister how stupid I felt going through this whole thing. Mostly, I just wanted to get through the ordeal because I knew how stupid I was going to feel when I realized it was so easy.
And guess what: IT WAS SO EASY.
That simple action of getting on a bus was so simple and yet as I sat down in a seat (that I had only slightly panicked before finding), I felt this wave of accomplishment wash over me. “I did it!” I thought, “I got on my first bus! I feel like such an idiot…”
So often, the scariest things turn out to be easy obstacles that we have to mentally overcome. Once we do, an entire world opens up to us that makes us wonder “why didn’t I try this years ago?” and we forget what an ordeal it was. It just becomes our new normal.
Now in the realm of actually scary: the other thing I accomplished this week was leaving my job at retail to start my own company. (Gulp!) I have left the comfort and safety of a regular (and criminally small) paycheck to venture out into the world of full time composition.
For real this time.
I know that if you look at this blog from one year ago, I was singing a very similar tune. This time, I did things differently. I no longer have school or a wedding to plan, I’m not relying on my family for the majority of my income, and I didn’t leave my job in a rush and a huff without explanation or warning.
I finished my time. I worked hard for two weeks and bowed out gracefully. I’ve invested in a real, honest to god planner. I’ve been journaling every day and really focusing on my mantras and my personal affirmations. I’ve actually attended networking events (thanks to the newly discovered bus system) and even scheduled a couple of gigs. Things seem to be moving in the right direction.
Two weeks ago, I was on the phone with my dad and he told me that one day, I’ll look back at my life and wonder why I didn’t just go to work for myself earlier. Why did I put myself through the mental misery of fear and panic when I could have been making literally 10x more money doing what felt most natural to me?
As I boarded the bus and sat down and realized that I had accomplished something small, but it was very much like what I was about to do with my life. It takes recognizing the benefits, pushing through the fear, committing to action, and surrendering to the universe to make things happen. I knew that day I was going to make it to my meetings and events and meet some really great people, but that meant taking the risk and stepping out of my comfort zone.
Are there situations in your life where fear has gripped you and kept you from doing the tiniest things that make the biggest difference? If there’s one thing I’ve learned this week, sometimes you just have to get on the damn bus and ride!