I’ve made my share of wild choices.
ONCE, I WROTE A LETTER to famed artist James Victore. As a college design student, I had spent a few months idolizing his recklessly authentic approach to work, creativity, and life. He agreeably welcomed me to visit his Brooklyn studio, so I made the fourteen-hour drive to the east coast by myself. I parked in midtown Manhattan and took the B train to his space in Williamsburg a day later.
“Nobody is going to ask you to do anything,” he promised me, explaining that initiative and a headstrong attitude would be the building blocks of my own success and happiness. Those words will always be seared into my mind.
TWICE THAT SAME SUMMER, I CHOSE TO JUMP out of airplanes flying some 13,000 feet above solid ground, placing all of my faith in parachutes and tall strangers strapped to my back. What’s infrequently mentioned in skydiving stories is the immediate silence and stillness that fills the air when pilots cut their planes’ engines.
During that first jump, I was almost knocked unconscious by the feeling of antigravity in my stomach as we fell. I clenched my jaw and didn’t make a single sound until I pulled our parachute.
On my second jump, though, I felt beyond prepared. I all but dragged my tandem instructor to the plane’s door—he laughed and had to pull me back because we hadn’t gotten our go ahead. We tumbled out of the plane and I happily screamed throughout the sixty seconds of free fall.
ONCE, I PACKED MY LIFE into a seventeen-foot moving truck. I drove that thing north on the interstate, hit a handful of potholes, and dropped anchor in Chicago with my kitten and houseplants. Everything that’s happened since has seemed tied to the universe in ways that have been difficult to describe. When I finally landed the most perfect job, I couldn’t believe what followed me there: kismet, karma, fate. “This must be the place” and all that. Stuff gets weirder as our timelines get longer, right?
ONCE YOU’VE FINALLY GOTTEN WHAT YOU WANT, so much beauty can be found in the shakeout. If you were right all along and everything is exactly as you imagined, then you’re all set… and yet, if you change your mind, then you’re looking at a chance to call yourself wiser for the time and to prepare for what’s next.*
If you can get really, really good at rolling with those changes, your patience and bendy nature will pay off.
*Of course, I’ve spent plenty of time getting nothing close to what I’ve wanted. At all. (Just wanted to make sure I noted that here.)