“When you have come to the end of everything you know, and you are about to step off into the unknown, faith is knowing one of two things: there will be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.”
I found this quote in a book when I was a teenager, and it has always stuck with me as a beautiful sentiment. It’s that perfect blend of fear and bravery, melancholy and hope. Not unlike me, most days 🙂 I was thinking about this quote the other day, as I am about to step off into a new “unknown”: I start a new job on Monday. This will be my third company in just over two years, and the one I’m leaving behind started so wonderfully, and quickly went downhill very fast (a blend of being very understaffed in my department, i.e. I was the only one doing any work, and a new CEO joining the company and basically fucking up the culture in a fashion that was truly impressive, to be honest).
Anyways, I digress. So I start this new job on Monday. I’m both nervous and excited. I’m nervous because it will be a little more responsibility. With each new company you move to (and/or promotion you take), there is more expectation of knowing your shit. Somedays, I think I do know my shit. Somedays, I just think “oh shit.” I’m hoping at this new company, I’ll experience the former more than the latter, at least in the very beginning!
So as I start this new phase in my career, I was pondering this quote and thinking about all the times I have stepped off into the unknown. The first time I really did it was probably when I moved to London. I had never even visited this city on the other side of the world, thousands of miles away from home, and yet I accepted a job there and moved, sight unseen. It was the best decision I ever made. But when I think “was there something solid to stand on, or was I taught how to fly?”, I’m pretty sure that neither of those things happened. I think, when I moved to London and every time since then that I’ve “stepped off into the unknown”, I have honestly just grabbed on to branches. Maybe not the most graceful technique, but it does keep you from plunging to your demise, so all in all not a bad strategy, no?
When I moved to London, the branch that I grabbed was a fantastic group of friends. I was so lucky to meet really fantastic women who were fun, funny, smart, driven, and hungry to see the world. We all came from different parts of it (I have a Brit, a Scot, a Kiwi, an American, a Frenchie, an Ozzie – all of these different countries represented in the women who make up my second family), and we all ended up in this massive city, not entirely sure what we were doing but determined to figure it out. This branch was solid, it held me for the three years I lived in London. Through boy troubles, work troubles, family issues, and just life issues – I had this fantastic support system. They were the reason I loved London as much as I did, and the reason that leaving it was the hardest thing I ever had to do.
When I left London and moved to CA (another foreign part of the world, at least to me), I was stepping off into a new unknown. I guess the first branch I grabbed was my new job. I poured myself into it, and I rocked it. I was their new Golden Child – I came in and I really turned their marketing around, in the US. I liked it for a while. I felt creative, I felt capable, and I felt NEEDED. It had been a long time since I felt that way, professionally. But soon, company politics and culture started to become a weed that took over that lovely little garden. I became frustrated and unhappy, and even sexually harassed at one point! But luckily (for my sanity), I had already found my new branch: his name was Daniel.
I’m not going to go into too much here. There are many stories in the Daniel chapter of my life. But, I’m sure they will unfold in other posts – little sprinkles all over my first year in CA. He was my first love, my first serious boyfriend. When he left me it was sudden, completely unexpected, and a few days before my 32nd birthday. Yup, he was a real class act at the end there. This is why in future posts he will probably be referred to as his new name, “douchebag.” I may be in my 30s, but I still can be a little immature and petty, right?
Anyways, that branch snapped really quick and I flailed for a long time. Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m still flailing. Things I was holding on to (this last job, my group of friends) have all been just “not enough.” So, as I thought back on this poem, and all the branches that have held me (and let me go), I’ve decided that the next branch I find needs to be within. I think this blog is a way of me trying to figure out where the hell that branch is. I’m just hoping I don’t get too scratched up on the way.