As I sit in the waiting room at Rayside Truck & Trailer, I review the last few months. I arrived this morning to wait 3 hours for the hitch and wiring and brake controller to be installed in my 2010 Subaru Outback. At one point in my life, sitting and waiting for 20 minutes would have caused great anxiety, much less enjoying 3 hours and seeing it as an actual gift of time where I am forced to slow down, sit still, and just be. My mind is racing with all that needs to be accomplished before my 8 year old daughter and I abandon our busy life and hit the road to live out of a 12 foot, pop-up camper for the next year. HOLY CRAP, this is really happening!! For as long as I can remember I have dreamed of traveling lightly. First I dreamed of backpacking through Europe after high school, instead I did the responsible thing and went to college. Then I dreamed of living on a sail boat and traveling after college, instead I continued my education and obtained a Master’s degree. Then I dreamed of backpacking through South America after I completed my MSW. Instead I took a responsible job in a field that stole my heart. I worked for years in Child Welfare and continued to dream of various was to leave my “responsible”, respectable life; to follow my wandering heart and be free. Instead I continued to acquire stuff, climb a career ladder and build a very “responsible” life for myself. (Some would argue my definition of “responsible” with many of my decisions……) Nevertheless, I always came up with a reason to stay. Yet, I was always talking about a big, bold leap of faith to follow a dream, to listen to the quiet whispers that have been calling out to me my entire life!!! I absolutely LOVED my job working with youth aging out of the foster care system!! I LOVED each and EVERY beautiful and amazing soul I came in contact with and feel so incredibly honored to have worked with all of them. After 12 years, I knew I was ready for a change, but now I was a single mother of a young daughter and let the “responsibility”dialogue take over once again. Yet, I still dreamed…… I took another job as a Clinical Director in a holistic, substance dependence treatment center in South Florida. Again, I would never change the experiences I had working with such an incredible population, but after 2.5 years, I could no longer ignore the pull of my heart. I quit my job to travel and relocate to either Colorado or California, craving a drastically different lifestyle. I was looking at jobs with the government and the government shutdown happened and all the jobs I wanted froze. Panic set in and the eggs of fear started hatching one by one……. I took another job in Florida at another treatment facility. I choose safety and security and responsibility and comfortability, etc… I stood at the edge of the cliff and instead of leaping, I hung my head and turned back……. I am familiar with this feeling, as I’ve done it so many times in my life. The feeling of my own heart breaking, the feeling of the shadow once again blocking the sunshine of my soul, the feeling of disappointment in myself as my heart sank……. I was so close!!!! I filled the next 2.5 years with with as much joy as I could muster and thoroughly enjoyed the work I did with the AMAZING clients I was blessed to work with. Being of service to others is my heart, it’s my calling on this earth and I am happy when I am in service. But, NO MATTER WHAT, I just couldn’t shake the pull of my dreams. For once in my life, I was no longer willing to ignore or excuse them away. I continued to dream, to plot and plan and create……. I really started writing about it, talking about it, seeing it as a reality…… I started to BELIEVE in my core that I could create this life for my daughter and I. The quiet whispers grew into roars that rumbled within. I ran out of excuses and fears and committed to letting this dream become a reality. I started researching different plans and different ways to make those plans happen. I knew with every cell in my body that if I got to the edge of that cliff of change again and walked away out of fear instead of leaping, my soul would never be the same!!! It was no longer an option. I trusted and believed as I slowly traveled back to that familiar edge…… On Wednesday, April 13th I walked into work and had a meeting planned with my boss for noon. I had counted down to this day for a very long time!!! I was filed with butterflies of excitement and anxiety all at the same time. At noon, I walked into his office, took the biggest exhale of my life and resigned from my safe, secure, 6 figure job, to chase a dream. I was shaking and became extremely emotional, (something I definitely didn’t plan for). I was crying tears of joy for FINALLY leaping off the edge into the unknown, tears of deep sadness to be walking away from a position that allowed me to help others heal their lives, tears of panic that screamed “what the fuck are we doing?” as they rolled down my face. The panic was so profound, fear grasped my thoughts with “oh my god, is this one of those grass is greener things?”, “holy crap Stephanie, shut up, take it all back!!!”, “maybe if I stop talking I can just go back to the security of my office and my dependable paycheck and doing what I know”, the racing thoughts ripped through my mind, shredding my dreams, tightening the vice grip on my chest……. And then the moment came, I kept talking, I kept owning my truth, I kept speaking my dreams, I stood on the edge…… exhaled and leapt!!!!! Since that moment time has felt like it sped up exponentially and I have had to practice using every rusty tool in my tool box to slow down, to stay in the moment, to continue to show up to live this dream. I have finalized my plan with an end date for work and a date to hit the road. I have obsessively shopped for the “perfect” camper to meet our needs. The moment I let go, the perfect one showed up. I have tried to force a “plan” and each time I get overwhelmed and miserable and then “let go” and it becomes beautiful and easy. I’ve researched homeschooling options and am letting the perfect one fall into place. I am continuing to “let go” of stuff that has weighed me down for years and with each layer I shed, the lighter and freer I feel. There are so many moments in my life that I am acutely aware of that brought me here, to this place, to this place of leaping fearlessly in the direction of my dreams……… Knowing my wings will grow and I will FLY!!!!! I invite you to go along on what will be an amazing journey with me!! I know I didn’t get here alone and I KNOW I won’t get through this alone!!! Thank you to every single person who has ever inspired and ignited my spirit….. I hope to pay it forward and inspire others along the road!
Love & Light,