©2019 THE SMILE PROJECT

From a Totally Different Life

February 17, 2019

There’s a commonly passed around phrase with some sort of unspeakable tragedy happens. The idea that one moment can change anything, the sentiment that you shouldn’t take the people you love for granted. All valid. All true.

 

I read another quote the other day though, one that I can’t find an original author to give attribution but one I feel is important to write about all the same:

 

“You are only one decision away from a totally different life.”

 

In February 2018, I was happily moving along at my stable nonprofit job in New York City, something that, in some ways, I had spent my entire life preparing for. I was a straight A student, elementary school to college. I studied hard, volunteered in meaningful ways, and worked in organizations that would give me relevant experience.

 

I was doing what I thought I was supposed to do. And I was happy. Or happy enough.

 

In March, I made the decision to leave. I would leave my job and I would leave the city that I loved to spend 56 days driving across America.

 

Decision: Quit job

Totally different life: In progress

 

That consequences of that decision are still sitting with me. They look something like this:

  • I don’t have a normal, full-time job.

  • I don’t have as much money in my savings account as I used to.

  • I’m building a small resume gap that may concern future employers.

But they also look like this:

  • I camped at Grand Canyon National Park and woke up to an elk laying near my tent.

  • I have people in New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, and Washington that I now call family.

  • I discovered that there are so many different ways of life and paths to be on and that no one way is any more valid than the others.

 

The trip ripped away any semblance I had of the way things had to be and made me a more vulnerable, open, and honest person. It’s also forced me to have a lot of faith – in myself, in the country I spent two months driving through, and in the people with whom I share my life.

 

As I reflect here now, five months back from the road, I wonder what one decision I want to make now and how beautiful it will be to trust my feet as they follow that path.

 

Love always,

Liz

 

 

 

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