No, I don’t mean the early 90’s TV show.
I mean: that first step is the hardest, but at some point you just have to do it. Then you take another step, and another, and that is called change. Sometimes the steps are big, sometimes not, but each step adds up. (Deep, right? I don’t know where I come up with this stuff.)
Today I’m talking about one big step and one small step.
The big step: Eric up and QUIT his job last Monday. Just, quit. He didn’t have anything lined up, didn’t really even have a solid plan, but it was time. Oh dear god it was time. He’s been really unhappy there (no, I’m not saying where there is) for a long time, but stayed for the same reason many people stay at crappy jobs – the economy is bad and he didn’t know what he wanted to do.
About five months ago, something clicked and he decided to go into IT. The industry is perfect for him – it’s flexible and always changing, he could work as the IT guy for a small company or as part of a team for an IT contracting company – maybe eventually even have his own business. The industry is also mobile and he could find work anywhere. Plus, he’s a musician, and knowing how to work on computers will only help him with recording. After more than a year of searching, he knew this is what he wanted to do. The very first night we discussed the idea he was online looking for classes. He finished his third network engineering class just before Christmas and really digs it.
However, starting an entirely new career is hard (I know, breaking news, right?). It’s hard to know where to even begin – which is why sometimes you gotta just leap. Last Friday he came home from work frustrated (again) and started in on a story about how much it sucked (again). I must have had a funny look on my face (or, more likely, a very unsympathetic look) and he said something. I told him he should just quit. Anything was better than this. He has three classes under his belt and is really smart – eventually he could find something in IT, but if he had to he could work at a coffee shop, anything, while he looked. He just needed to get out of his current job because it was sucking the life right out of him. He needed a shock to his day-to-day. (I don’t mean to take credit for his decision – I was just offering a push, but he did it. I am really proud of him.)
I know this isn’t always possible – that sometimes in life you just have to suck it up and find ways to live with a bad situation. But we live in a very tiny, very cheap apartment, have no mortgage or major payments, and even if we had to cut back on some luxuries, we could make it. He’s in the enviable position that he can take a big risk like this. Immediately I could see a change in his demeanor. Monday night I came home to a happy, exuberant guy – and took him out to a celebratory “yay you quit your job” dinner. I haven’t seen him like that on a Monday in a very long time.
And … here’s the kicker … he took this great leap, put himself out there and went after his dream, and it has paid off tenfold. He’s gotten calls from friends offering to help, we’ve discovered amazing connections we didn’t know we had (as in the head of IT at a major company), and in less than a week he’s landed himself a paid apprenticeship. He’ll get awesome on-the-job training, build his confidence and resume, and make connections. He’s got one foot firmly planted in his new industry. That first step was scary and exciting and placed him on the path to a new career.
The small step: I finally drug my ass back to the gym today! Wahoo! My exercise habits have been … sporadic … since, say, Thanksgiving. And I pretty much never left holiday-eating mode, at least not fully. So, it was time. Past time, actually, but whatever. It wasn’t easy taking that first step back. I’ve tried several times the past few weeks but always had a good excuse to put it off – I was still on “break,” and then I got sick, and then I had to work late, and then it was too cold outside, and then I was tired, and then and then and then. Well today was the day. I was sleepy and had a headache and really didn’t feel like going. I was also feeling a little insecure and worried I’d lost all my progress. I went anyway and, yeah, I lost some progress, but not nearly as much as I expected. I did my favorite 5k circuit, adding in a .5 mile run, making it an interval workout and rounding out the bike portion so it was an even 4 miles total. It felt amazing! I knew it would, and yet that first step was still hard. Now I can’t wait to get back there tomorrow to do some weights. 🙂
And finally, a totally selfish step: did you know that today is National Delurking Day? Yes, it is a made up holiday created by bloggers who just want a bunch of comments, but whatever. Let’s play anyway! If you feel so inclined, leave me a comment and let me know who you are, where you live, and how you found my blog. Let me know what you like, hate, or want to see more or less of. Tell me something about yourself – like maybe a first step that you’ve recently taken.
P.S. Thank you so much for all the advice on the Boomer Dilemma. I will definitely keep you guys posted about what we decide! 🙂