On Courage (Or the Lack There Of…)

by Rachael on June 5, 2012 · 32 comments


(First off, I know, I know, total cliffhanger, Batman. But you know how these things are – potential jinxings, and whatnot. I guess if you want the official scoop, you’ll just have to email/gchat/come visit. Smooches!)

When it first started to sink in that I was moving from DC to California in the space of three weeks, the stress of everything that needed to be done and all the pieces that had to fall into place for it to work was entirely overwhelming. I was a veritable ball of anxiety just thinking about trying to adjust to a new city, a new home, and a new job… all at the same time.

(To say nothing of the daunting task of leaving my robust social circle back in DC, and building an entirely new one – and for an extreme extrovert like me, there is no fear like the fear of being lonely. Trust.)

But since picking up my life and moving it, my job, and my cat across the country almost two months ago now, I’ve had a ton of really sweet comments, emails and conversations with friends and readers who’ve told me ridiculously outlandish things like “you’re so brave” and “you’ve inspired me to go for that kickass job/move to a new city/insert freaking awesome goal here”.

These kinds of statements, while unbelievably sweet (and certainly not unwelcome, ha) always make me a little bit uncomfortable… because I don’t feel brave or strong or courageous. I suppose that if the definition of courage is doing something even when you’re afraid to do it, I might be able to claim a bit of that title, because lord knows I was absolutely terrified in the weeks leading up to the move, and, well, here I am.

But at the end of the day, I’m not brave. I didn’t summon some huge burst of GUTS ‘N GLORY that gave me the kick in the ass I needed. To be perfectly honest, there’s one reason, and one reason only that can explain my current status as a resident of Northern California:

I didn’t have a choice.

It’s simple, really; I was more afraid of boredom than I was of being out of my comfort zone.

That is – tragically – all that this enormous life-changing milestone boils down to. I spent five years in one (albeit glorious) city, and I needed a new challenge, because I’d seemingly conquered it.

I just felt like I’d done it all – like I’d made the lifelong friends, and found the favorite restaurants, and become a (hopefully favorite) fixture at the events. Granted, my “scene” was the deliciously dorky tech/whiskey-swilling scene, and I loved every second of it (how do you not?!) – but the fact remains that I outgrew it as only a true child of the first ADD generation, AKA Gen Y, truly can.

It was time for a clean slate for many reasons, sure. But the moment I was no longer attached to someone who couldn’t leave the District, I knew I had to fly. At the time, where I went didn’t seem to matter – but of course, hindsight is 20/20 and blah blah blah. Because the second I touched down in SF, I immediately knew – no, felt – that this was EXACTLY where I’m supposed to be.

Bravery is great.

Courage is grand.

Listening to your gut and following your instincts is better.

So much better. Because you don’t just get to call yourself brave, at the end of the day – you get to KNOW, in the pit of your stomach, that you’re on the right track, meeting the right people, and doing the right thing for yourself. You’re in line with How Things Are Supposed To Be.

After being lost, sometimes for such a long time… you’re BACK, baby.

And it feels so freaking good.

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