Take a step, don't worry about the entire plan
"Remember when we lived in Aruba?"
I asked my son that question today and shook my head, like you do when you're shaking a thought free from the tangle of your brain. I was in disbelief as those words came out of my mouth, "...lived in Aruba..."?
We were reminiscing today about how much we loved the island. This was sparked by the fact that Angus was in Aruba a few weeks ago, but this time for a "conference."
And I say "conference" using the biggest, most obnoxious air quotes ever, because...well, I am just a little jealous that I didn't get to go this time, so bitterness is driving me to unpleasantries.
It sucks getting left behind.
Confession and rant finished.
But seriously, how in the world did we LIVE in Aruba for a month?
How did we manage that?
The reality of our year of traveling, our essential homelessness, our storing of our worldly goods in a 10x30 unit with a rolling accordion door and a wild salamander that showed his creepy face from behind a box every now and then, all of it...how did we DO that?
I have no idea.
I wish I could write a plan entitled, "7 Easy Steps to Selling Your Belongings and Traveling the World While Homeschooling Your Kids." Others have marketed tools like that. They are much wiser and smarter, I'm sure.
I just feel like my list would be incredibly short and would include more blank space and stick figure doodling than helpful content.
Ultimately, the only thing I knew to do was trust a persistent voice in my heart that told me quitting my job, our family's only source of income, was the right next step for me.
So, basically, I'm telling you to listen to a voice in your heart. See? Not New York Time's Bestseller kind of advice.
After I did that, that crazy wild thing, life pivoted and I walked step-after-precarious-step into a new season.
If you would have told me that day in August when I walked out of my full-time job for the last time, arms carrying brown boxes of work memories, that I would have lived in Aruba for 30 days and other places as well, I would have thought you were as ridiculous as those people with sparkly scarves tied around their heads. The ones who sit reading palms over a crystal ball. Not that I have anything against gypsies.
I'm fully aware that our story could have been very different.
Our story could have been a year of hardship, instead of a year of travel. It could have been a year of searching for work and getting odd jobs to make a mortgage payment. Our story could have included a house foreclosure and car repos. It could have included us asking our family for money (and in full disclosure, some family members did send us money in those early days, I'm sure out of straight pity).
It could have been different. And if the above were our story, it would not have been one of failure, as ours today is not one about success.
I'm so grateful for the way it's unfolding, but I don't think the joy we're experiencing is dependent on the "happy ending."
I think when you're more afraid of ignoring the dream beating in your chest, then of failing, you're not motivated by the outcome. You're driven to just make a decision and move forward.
Taking one step at a time takes all of your focus. And those small steps...those are the victories in life! That's where you say "yes" to those deep passions; that's where the need for a "perfect, happy ending" fade away. I think there's unbelievable joy in the steps forward.
When I quit my job and Angus, after four years of looking, still had no job... (trembling, trust, step)
and when the bank account had enough money to pay bills for one month...(swaying, faith, step)
and when after that month, there was still no full-time job in sight, so Angus had to wait tables and we lived each week solely on tips...(tentative, unsteady, trust, step)
If you can barely catch your breath, because you feel a dream weighing so heavy in your chest, I just want to encourage you...take that small, wobbly step.
And if that's you, you know exactly what that next step is, most likely because you've been running from it.
I can't guarantee you'll skip gloriously into the sunset if you take that step. I mean, really, who does?
Just take a step.
Watching your life pivot, like an oceanliner, where your insides (desires and values) begin to match your outsides (daily activities) is an experience you will never forget.
Those daring stories, outcomes be what they may, those are the robust flavor to a zesty life that was lived with intention.