These shoes are BEAT. UP.
No, really. They were once an adorable pair of patent leather Tory Burch medallion flats, but now they look like a homeless person found them in a fashionista’s dumpster and has been wearing them through the New York winter for three years. Look:
I have been wearing these shoes to work almost every. single. day. for the past year. They clearly need to be retired soon. But here’s why I’m still wearing them:
1. They’re black and they go with everything
2. I have stopped caring what I look like at work
3. I have been saving money all year so that I can quit my job in December and travel the world for six months.
This is why I have bought myself under ten pieces of clothing (excluding yoga stuff) for the past twelve months. This is why I almost never go out to eat. This is why I visit mint.com more than I visit facebook (okay that MIGHT be a lie but I’m trying to paint a picture here).
A year ago, I was unhappy, both in my professional and personal lives. I felt like my cubicle job was sucking out my soul, and I had lost a sense of who I was. Because I was in the wrong relationship, and because I lived in a new place, and because I had neglected many of my friendships, I wasn’t the Marian that I had once been. I was serious, and sad, and overly analytical, and I needed to make a change.
The first change I made was enrolling in Teacher Training in January. Thank God for that insanely spur-of-the moment, not-fiscally-conservative decision. It woke me back up to life, handed me a new group of friends who cared about things that I cared about, and gave me something to work towards.
In the spring, I got back in touch with Mariel, one of my best friends from high school. We were both unhappy in our jobs, both looking for something more fulfilling, both unwilling to settle for mediocrity. We both loved yoga and dreamed of running off to India. We joked about it until it became a reality. And then we started planning.
So, after months of saving, and planning, and worrying, and having full-blown nervous breakdowns, we’re leaving. We’re leaving on January second, and we’re going to India, and Nepal, and Thailand, and Laos, and Cambodia. (Oh, and then I’m doing this with my dad). We’re going to live our lives and experience the world and figure some shit out. And we’ll be doing it shoes that are a bit more sturdy than my beat-up flats.
Today, I put in my notice to my employer. It’s actually happening.
I can’t wait to blog about our experiences. And I want to share this because I want people to know that it’s possible: It’s possible to take a risk. It’s possible to do something out of the ordinary. It’s possible to listen to the crazy voice in the back of your head. We all fear the unknown. We are afraid of leaving what is comfortable, easy. But when we put ourselves outside of our comfort zone, we learn the most, and we experience the most growth. It doesn’t have to mean quitting your job and having a full-on quarter life crisis; maybe it’s just giving your number to the cute guy at REI (I wish), or signing up for a night class, or starting a blog (it’s scary!). You have the power to change your life. You have the power to make yourself happy.
As St. Ignatius Loyola once said, “Go forth and set the world on fire“. I’ve learned that it’s hard to set the world on fire while playing Angry Birds in my cubicle. Actually seeing the world is a much better approach.
I know I’m lucky. I’m blessed to be able to do this. I don’t have a mortgage or children or a significant other or anything concrete to hold me back. My family and my friends have been nothing but supportive. And I hope I feel that gratitude every. single. day. of my trip, even when I’m smelly or sick or lost or dying of peanut butter withdrawal (THIS MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN).
But we can all follow our dreams. We can all try something new. We can all break free of mediocrity. We can throw out the shoes that have defined us for so long and start breaking in some new ones.
Just watch me.