This is scary sh*t

{In the blog world, there has been a movement of honest, raw sharing. Inspired by Creature Comforts blogger, Ez, “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You” has been like a passing baton. It’s intention has been for folks to share their genuine selves, to step from behind the curtain like in the Wizard of Oz, and engage in authentic conversations with others. The result has been a shortened gap between writer and reader. There’s been an enhanced sense of community, and I believe, a little less loneliness. In an age of comparison where social media seems to bring out our insecurities of NOT being and doing enough, it is comforting to see that behind the sites and stats, many of us are in the same boat:scared of something. Therese from Inspiration Cooperative is keeping this streak going, encouraging bloggers to share some fears, in whichever way we’d like. Here’s something I wrote last week after a mini meltdown.}

Today I came home from a great overnight in Seoul with two dear friends. We’d planned this as a celebration of our time together here, getting ready to part ways in June. We walked around, hyper-aware of our surroundings: the sun shining through spring trees, classes of little kids walking in pairs on a field trip, the rooftops of Hongdae and buzzing streets around them. It was important to be in the moment and we knew it.

But, for me, being in that present state of appreciation and goodness didn’t last long.

As our time in Korea draws to a close, it triggers the normal feelings that come up when one leaves a place that’s been called home for four years. There’s the stress of the checklist of things to get done: cancel phone service, call shipping company, close out banking. There’s the taxing action of weeding out, selling, and packing stuff. There’s the swelling sadness of actually saying goodbye to our favorite people and places.

For Craig and me, what also enhances is our trepidation of what’s to come. The questions begin to circulate in their dizzying orbit.

What if Laos is terribly unsuccessful? What if we blow through our hard earned savings trying to start our businesses? How will we draw people to our products? When do we say “this isn’t working”?

The part of financial security comes up a lot. We’ve already invested in our shift out of teaching through my interior design course, Craig’s life coaching certification, weeks of yoga classes, paying for a business coach, website building costs…and the list seems to keep growing.

While these are necessary costs, they’re not conventional. These expenses are unfamiliar to us and without the promise of a monthly paycheck, seem hard to justify.

And although there’s a movement of people quitting their (insert secure employment) jobs to start up businesses while being geographically independent, we wonder what the ratio of attempts to success stories really is.

Recently, Craig and I have joked that we should start a blog called We’re-Idiots.com. Because…who in their right mind would give up a secure paying job that affords vacation and travel at least three times a year with health care and housing included as international teaching has done? Which couple would jump into two new and distinct professions at the same time? Who’s willing to move to “the Amazon of Asia” (we just learned this Laos reference) in hopes of opening a business AND start a family (naturally or via adoption)?

Yup, that’s right. We are. Us. He and I.

Sometimes it seems ridiculous. Why can’t we just be happy with what we’ve got? Why do we have to test the waters, rock the boat? Are we so selfish that we think we deserve more?

The self-doubts dog-pile high. And we tense up and talk in circles and rub our brows in frustration.

I’ve noticed that I like to tie up my blog posts in nice, neat ends. To have a lesson, moral, an uplifting thought. But, this is not one of those posts. The truth is this:

This is scary shit.

Period. The end.

{image source: Flickr / thegentlemanamateur }

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27 comments
  1. Julia Sheridan said:

    Don’t forget…you guys are in the throws of the anticipation right now. This is the absolute worst part, and the closer it gets to the event you’re anticipating, the more awful it can be. It’s never as bad once you’re in it. Let yourself feel the awfulness, and know it’s temporary. You guys are awesome…my heros.
    -Julia

  2. Thanks, Julia. A very true reminder. You are a wise, wise woman.

  3. TS Bray said:

    Things will work out for the best because you are both wonderful people and you are following dreams you have together; nothing can conquer you. Even if things don’t go well in Laos (which I highly doubt), it will be to take you to something more, something better than you possibly ever imagined. I’m a small man in spirit, but I know that a force of good moves all things in this universe; the ancients called it the Tao. All things done for just reasons are done within accordance of the Tao; therefore, the Tao will provide for you. Have no worries, have no fears; live in peace, live in joy.

  4. Holly said:

    I LOVE what Julia said. I will keep this in mind for myself, as I am in the same boat. No idea where we are going next :) Thanks Julia :)

    “While these are necessary costs, they’re not conventional. These expenses are unfamiliar to us and without the promise of a monthly paycheck, seem hard to justify”.

    This stuck with me the most. Of course, you know a bit about my situation so you know we have some important themes in common. But that paragraph really gets to me. Unless you are one of “us”, nobody else seems to understand that. Which makes it feel unconventional. Which leads to self doubt. Which is indeed, vey. scary. shit.

    Thanks for sharing Xx.

  5. oneelevenstudio said:

    Wow! You both are soo brave! Fear of the unknown is what holds most people back from doing what it is they truly feel like they should be doing. And just knowing that you’re already on the road to going after what you want is applaudable : )

  6. Lauren said:

    Hi! Here from Theresa’s cocktail party! Your “We’reIdiots.com” comment made me laugh out loud. What a time for you to write a blog post about fear? We talk about this in our family as “two worlds colliding.” Not yet in the new space with it’s new challenges, and not yet leaving the old space. But so close in both. All you can do is keep moving forward, with faith in yourselves, I guess. Looking forward to following your journey. xo

  7. Just discovered you through the “Some things about me” initiative which we are participating in. I just loved reading your post. I honestly believe that the “in betweens” in life is where our character really shines, how we deal with the fear of the unknown. I am currently in a weird place myself, figuring out my next step and petrified that I’ll just make another wrong one. I think what you are doing is amazing.

    Kate
    http://www.theforgetfulwife.com

  8. Theresa said:

    Thank you for your honesty, Christine. It is scary what you’re doing, but I applaud you. I applaud you for going after your dream. I applaud you because in ten years you won’t look back and say to yourself, “Remember when we had the chance to…” You’ll have done it. “What if Laos is terribly unsuccessful?” See failure as success. “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough.” (One of a favorite quotes from The Happiness Project.)
    Wishing you all the best on your journey. Thank you for your post and playing along today.

  9. Thanks, Therese. I am going to keep that quote in my pocket for sure. I so appreciate your valor and opening up this type of conversation.

  10. Hi Lauren, thanks so much for the comment. That’s so right: 2 worlds colliding. I suppose we can look at it from the perspective of gratitude. When worlds collide something new emerges. Looking forward to finding you in the blog world more often. :)

  11. Thanks for your comment, Tori. I appreciate it. Every bit of support helps us maintain the courage.

  12. Holly…you’re the best. So glad to have found you as a kindred spirit in blog world. Honestly, your support is incredible.

  13. oh Tim! That was wonderful to read. Thank you, thank you!

  14. Hi Kate, thanks so much for the kind words. Good perspective…the “in betweens is where our character shines”. I like this. I recently heard a podcast about falling in love with your failures. It’s a strange concept, but if we can look at what we perceive as failures and love what they do for us (change perspective, make us go for it more, etc)then there’s really no wrong step. Easier said than lived, right? Anyway, I will check your site out. Again, thank you for visiting.

  15. Danny said:

    Following your heart and taking a leap will lead to great things. Perhaps unexpected, but still great. I’m doing it (again) without a ‘job’ on the other side, and it’s scary, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures in Laos!

    One thing that has given me some peace through both moves back home is that international teaching is an amazing experience…a huge part of the person I am today…and, like an old friend, it will always be there when I need it. The ace up our sleeves… :))

  16. Thanks, Danny, that is good to remember. Wishing you all the best in your new venture.

  17. Hello! I’m sorry I’m a little late to the party, but I promised myself once I’d published my cocktail party post I’d get around to reading everyone elses. I feel for your fears, my husband and I gave up the security of our paid jobs to do our own thing and it’s painful, spending money on infrastructure and stuff you don’t really see, it’s like lifting the lid of the toilet, throwing the money in and flushing it, wooosh… gone! Congratulations for following your dream, as Sahar Hashemi, the lady who founded Coffee Republic said “jump and the net will appear”, you’ll never look back I’m sure. Thanks for sharing your story and playing along with us x

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I’d love to know more about how it went with you and your hubby. It’s surrounding ourselves with this kind of support that really helps. How has your transition been? :)

  19. You’re welcome. We are entering our 4th year of business and we’ve had our challenges and our good times in equal measure. You have to go with your gut instinct as there is never any right or wrong in anything we do, there’s just shades of both. You’ll know instinctively when things don’t work. Some things that did not work at the beginning have been resurrected, because the market has changed or that we’ve built our profile. Other things that we began in the last year or so we stopped, we thought they would fly (a membership site) and they didn’t. My biggest revelation is that people only buy things they have a passion for. They don’t even buy things they need unless there is enough of an emotional pull to get them to buy. If they need it, they talk themselves out of not purchasing if there emotion is not there.

  20. If you can give them a story that attracts that emotional pull then you will have nailed it, trust me. In these hard economic times, people spend more wisely and look to comfort themselves rather than spending frivolously. The life coaching should be interesting for you both. Have you heard of Dan Kennedy – he is the master of building small businesses, I’ve heard him speak here in London a couple of times and he is truly successful and inspiring, no matter what business you are in –
    http://dankennedy.com/ We’ve grown year on year using some of his techniques. Hope this helps x

  21. tina said:

    Christine, what an honest and most heart-felt post.

    I know all about giving up security and taking leaps. I think you’re both very brave and living life to it’s fullest.

    We learn so much when stepping out of our comfort zones and entering the fear of the unknown. Why is it that most of us crave the known and security? Security of what? Are any of us really in desperate situations where we can’t feed ourselves or ask for help from loved ones or family? I guess not.

    One of my most valuable lesson in life was when I had a full blown nervous breakdown at 25, lost my very well paid job, my millionaire boyfriend and didn’t feel I could/want ask my family for help. I had no money and was mentally unstable so couldn’t work. The lowest point was when I had to rely on the state to pay for my housing. The lesson?

    I no longer have any fears around money. It is just a commodity that comes and goes in life like the ebb and flow of life itself. Have trust in your path and your abilities. Everything else falls into place.

    Go forth and have faith on this exciting journey you are on…… x

  22. oh Tina, what an awesome story. thank you for sharing it. your perspective is one of value and it means a whole lot to me to have your support and positivity, even if it’s from far away. i am SO glad you commented here.

  23. Well I’m right with you in the idiot category then. I have just had to convince myself to stop working on my site on weekends. I get paid a fraction of what I used to make and work 4 times as much.

  24. Hi Ayngelina, thanks for your comment. I’ve heard that people tend to work more when they’re doing their own thing. Is it because there’s more passion behind it? You’re doing what you love? Let me know what you think. Thanks.

  25. I definitely work more than I ever have before – even when I was in Afghanistan. It’s partly because I love what I do, partly because I have to do more work to earn less money (tho I’m sure there are smarter folks out there who do not!) and partly because there is no-one here to tell me to stop! I wouldn’t change it though. I’m doing work I enjoy, and that I believe is meaningful and worthwhile, on my own terms, in my own way. I can work with whoever I want to work with, when and where I want. It’s not bad at all!

  26. Thanks for the encouragement, Marianne. Just a little scary when one comes from a work schedule that is so regulated…hard to wrap my head around anything different. But, I am in it now and pretty glad for the freedom and creativity.

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