joeltorgeson.com

A California Decision

A california sunset

I want to talk about starting new adventures. As many of you may well know, I’m moving to Los Angeles, California in July! We’ll actually be in a suburb just northeast of it but that’s basically same thing, really. I say ‘we’ because I’ll be moving there with my Autumn, my girlfriend and adventure buddy. She’s got a great job with 3M there, and I hear there are one or two decent dancers out in those parts…

A big decision, eh? Indeed it is, and not one that I took lightly. Talking to those around me in the community lately, the general responses I’ve gotten fall into two broad categories: 1. The “Wow, I’ve always dreamed of moving to LA, but I could never do it myself” crowd and the “Aren’t you afraid that it won’t work out and you’ll be halfway across the country with no support network?” crowd. I should say there’s been a sizable number of people who have said “Good for you!” and moved on to more interesting topics. I appreciate those people.

Okay, I appreciate all of you! But for the first two groups, I have a little something to say.

To the first group, I ask: “If it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, why not do it?” The response is usually some combination of X number of responsibilities holding you down or not having the timing quite right. The timing, my friends, is never right. In fact, time is the most valuable non-renewable resource we, as humans, have, and most of us (myself included) spend a lot of it on things like browsing Facebook, watching TV, daydreaming, and scratching our butts. Maybe not the last one so much, but you get the picture.

I, for one, spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about what I’m doing with my life and whether I’ve made good choices that will set me up well for success. Taking action that brings you in the direction you want to go is tough because it involves breaking old habits and giving up the security for routine, but it also provides the opportunity to grow as a person. And so, what are you really waiting for? If you’re like me, you’re probably waiting for an opportunity that doesn’t come with the specter of failing. Don’t let the fear of failure disguise itself as ‘poor timing.’ If it is failure you fear, face it, and decide if that fear is something you want to live under. I think you’ll find you don’t want to.

For those of you with priorities elsewhere (family, job, Minnesota’s wonderful weather), I cannot challenge your values if they are strongly held. I would, however, recommend examining them to make sure they are not fears masquerading as values. I have found several of these within myself in the past few months, and excising those demons, while painful, has left me in a better place.

For the second group, let me start by saying I hear you. There are many risks involved. I am reminded, however, of a Mark Twain quote: “I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” Of course, there are any number of things that could go wrong during and after moving to LA. Autumn and I could break up. I could be unable to find a job. I could genuinely dislike the city. I could spontaneously combust. Anything could happen!

And yet, how likely is that? And even if something were likely, how bad would it really be? When I wrote down all of my biggest fears about moving to California (see above), I discovered that nearly all of them were easily reversible (except spontaneous combustion) or incredibly unlikely (especially spontaneous combustion). On the whole, my fears for moving were mostly just little dogs with lots of bark and hardly any bite.

I am not suggesting that one seek out danger for its own sake, but I am suggesting that most of the things that most of us fear happening are usually reversible, incredibly unlikely or both. This is what I say to the naysayers: there’s a 99% chance that, no matter what happens, in the long run I’m going to be just fine.

I’m looking forward to the move, and to all of the new adventures that will inevitably come from it. And even if the timing isn’t right, or if the unlikely happens and everything goes wrong, I know I’m going to be just fine.

 

See you on the floor!

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