12.23.2014

My Burning Bush

Have you ever had a series of seemingly bad events in succession?
Have you ever had major life changes happen in such a short span of time that it feels like a divine message?

Yeah.
Me either.

Until 2 weeks ago.

In the past year, I have:
- Tried to repair a failing relationship
- Changed jobs 2 times
- Left a super stable job for a start-up
- Ended the failing relationship

Then, two weeks ago, my start-up job ended.
For the first time in my life, I found myself without a person to lean on, without a job and seemingly without hope.
For me, it felt like rock bottom.

I've never lost a job.
I've never spent the holidays without a 'person' in my life.

The first thing I did when I left my job for the last time was call my Dad.
I literally didn't know what to do. I was borderline panic attack.
My dad was going to leave work because I was that upset. He actually told me to stop driving a car. To know my family is to know this is pretty serious. I was really upset.
Instead, I went to my sister's house. She stays home with her girls so I called her and drove over.
I cried all morning and felt sorry for myself, ate some of her leftovers and then slept all afternoon.

I hung out with my friend Mandy that night and we talked about everything that had been going on in my life as of late.
I've had multiple friends tell me I need to 'deal' with my feelings.
And I haven't wanted to. I have half-assed it. Took a couple days to be 'normal.' Started some self-help type books. Medidated. Exercised. But mostly, I've preferred to spend my time sleeping or buzzed and forgetting all about how my heart is broken.
I prefer to not acknowledge how I feel like I don't have a plan and I'm a little lost.
It's uncomfortable for me.
I always have a plan.
I always know what my next step is.

For the first time in my life, I literally have no idea what I'm doing.

We talked about how I've been dealing with break-up and subsequent feelings. And the fact is, I haven't. I've masked it as much as possible. Which, in a way, is super weird for me. I'm normally a 'let's address this now' kind of person. But for whatever reason, I keep thinking I shouldn't be upset about ending a 5 year relationship so I find myself stuffing it down. Masking it. Hiding. Escaping.

My job ending at the start-up was a slap in the face. A wake-up call.
I told Mandy, "This is my burning bush."




I can't deny it anymore.
Something big is happening in my life.
I look back over the past year and all the events leading up to this time and it's like I'm being FORCED to take a hard look at myself and what I'm doing.

On the day my job ended, one of my friends said this to me:


Re-center...Re-focus...
Situations like this always have two outcomes: a dangerous destructive spiral, and a silver lining you never saw coming. My first instinct would be to go out, get fucked up, and self loath...Please don't choose that. You've never owed it yourself, more than you do now, to really pursue what makes you happy. This is hard, and will take time, but I believe in you


It was the perfect advice. I re-read it often. Because sometimes I need to be reminded that all is not lost. That I CAN do something amazing. That I am worthy of something good.
It's always a reminder to me to never give up. 
But I KNOW I can't. 
I don't ever ever ever want to reflect on my life and say 'Aw man, I wish I would have done x.' 
I remember being at this conference a couple years ago and the speaker asking us, 'Think about when you are 90 years old and sitting on your front porch and reflecting on your life, what are the things you want to remember?'
I was crying while I was writing my answer because all I could think about is how much I had put on the back-burner or never pursued because I was too scared. 
All the things I kept as 'hobbies' because pursuing them as a career seemed too unstable. 
How much I sacrificed for a comfortable life. 
Writing. Food. People. All the things I love and am passionate about. 
The things that drive me. And feed my soul. 


So, I got up the next day and updated my resumé. Applied for a job. Filed for unemployment. Stopped crying. Took a deep breath and reflected.

What do I want to do?

I've always wanted to own a coffee-shop or a restaurant.
I love to cook. I love people. I love to food. I love to take care of people. I love making people happy and having a good time. I love the community of a restaurant. I love how everyone is family. I love how cooking and serving is something they love, but they are all unique and have cool, interesting things outside of the restaurant. They are artists, musicians, DJs, writers, crossfitters, barbers, moms, dads and the best of friends. I love the hustle and bustle.
I love Des Moines deep in my heart. Like deep.
It's my home and this city is freaking amazing. (see this FB post).

I want to do something to contribute to the growth of this city and to have a place that I can call home.
So I decided that ultimately, I want to open my own restaurant.
Problem: I have ZERO experience in this area.

I talked to everyone I know that works in the industry. They all said 'Get a job in a kitchen.' Learn from the ground up.

So I reached out on FB. A friend told me about an opening so I reached out to the owner. And out of pure luck and ambition, I got a job.

Next week, I'll start working at a new place opening up in downtown.
I'll also be helping out a friend that is an insurance agent.
And doing taxes at H&R.
And still selling Arbonne.
Hustle life.

I don't even know that all these jobs will be enough to cover my bills.
But you know what?

I. don't. care. 

Because, for the first time in my life, I'm not taking the safe road.
I'm reaching out to do things that interest me and seeing what happens.
I'm getting outside my comfort zone and pursuing passion over comfort.
Maybe 6 months or a year from now, I'll decide it's too much and go back to a safe, high-paying corporate job.

But I highly doubt it.
If I did that, I'd get comfortable with the money and just be miserable and stay there.
I'd never chase my dreams.


When I left my stable corporate job, I told everyone 'I'd live in my car before I'd go back.'
And...that may still happen. :)

All I know is this:

Life is too short to be unhappy in what you are doing.
Life is too short to be safe.

You only get one shot at this.
So...
Do the things. Try everything. Make the mistakes.
Get swallowed up, spit out and drag yourself off the ground and GET UP AGAIN.
Be slapped in the face with life. Recognize your burning bush and take the opportunity to do something you've never done before.
You may go down in a blaze of glory.
But at least you can say you tried.
Don't live life with regrets.
Don't look back and wish you would have done it differently.

For me, life will always be putting it all out there and seeing what happens.
Maybe that means I'll always have to deal with disappointment and hurt, but at least I can say I gave it my all.
I got a big heart and big dreams and I'm not about to change that because of one or two or three setbacks.

One of my favorite lyrics says:

I'm a own so many belts the only place they can hit me is below em

My aunt said to me the other day, 'Don't fall off the deep end.' 
And maybe I was close. 

I know as long as I live, I will always fight back. 

I have no idea how all of this is going to play out. 
Maybe in 2 months you'll get another post from me saying it was a terrible idea and I'm back at corporate life collecting cash and being another cog in the wheel.
I hope not. 
In fact, I seriously doubt it.



Stay tuned friends.

xo,
Nic