I’ve been feeling this pressure welling up inside of me for months. Like the gentle expansion of a balloon as air is forced into it, stretching and stretching until eventually, it bursts.
The stress has been pressing in on me from all sides.
I have felt trapped. Unable to move because every option seems too heavy, too messy or too complicated to pursue.
In all honesty, my job has been making me miserable and all this time I’ve been wrestling with this constant dissatisfaction.
Because serving people all day long is exhausting. Because waking up at 5am every day is grueling. Because getting told off and feeling on edge all the time is demeaning.
And truthfully, I believe I deserve better.
But I’ve been too scared to walk away. Because quitting means stepping into the unknown, a future without the security of a job, without a clear plan, without a clue what to do next.
Leaving means giving up a regular paycheck and my independence.
So I have stayed.
I’ve pushed through the negative thoughts and tried to focus on the positive. I’ve thought of tiny, little ways to make each day better. I’ve started going to bed early so the mornings aren’t quite as painful.
And yet, I still feel the pressure. I still feel the dissatisfaction. I still feel myself yearning for something more.
Happiness, excitement and creativity are calling out me. Begging me to do the brave thing. Quickening my heart and filling my head with dreams that I long to make come true.
Finally, after months of this internal battle, I decided to quit my job.
Now I feel sick. Now I feel free. Now I feel I am finally being true to myself.
There have been so many moments this year where I have felt that queasy, is-this-the-right-thing-or-a-terrible-mistake feeling.
So many times I’ve doubted myself, grappled with the uncertainty and clung to the familiar instead of choosing the brave thing.
I don’t blame myself.
Doing the brave thing is hard. Going out on a limb is terrifying. Stepping into the unknown takes so much courage.
We get these rare moments every now and then where we can choose to take the easy route or do the brave thing.
Should we date that guy? Should we take that job? Should we move to a new city? Should we go back and study?
To me it feels a lot like rock climbing. You don’t really know which of the oddly-shaped hand holds to grab until you let go of the last one and stretch your arm up to grab the next one.
For a split second you are dangling in mid-air, gripping nothing, with only your sheer focus and determination driving you forwards.
Sometimes you grab the wrong handhold. One of those small, knobbly ones that makes your sweaty hands slip right off.
But other times you are lucky enough to reach for one with a proper indentation, one that makes pulling yourself up easy.
Sometimes being brave is just about doing the next right thing. Sitting still long enough to recognize your wants and needs.
The brave thing might be the opposite of what everyone else says you should do. It might make you unpopular. It might take everything you’ve got.
But the brave thing is worth it.
A little over five months ago I said another scary yes and started dating a guy who’s ended up becoming my best friend.
Every part of me wanted to keep my tattered little heart locked up safe where no guy could ever trample on it again but instead I chose to share it with him. I chose to open up and give love another chance.
It turns out this was the best yes I’ve said in a long time.
So here I am again doing the brave thing even though it scares me.
Reaching out for the next handhold, unsure whether it will be able to support me. Going out on a limb because I know life is full of surprises if we are willing to take a chance.
We can fool ourselves into believing that it is only special people who do incredible things. That only very few, lucky people are truly happy. But I think that’s wrong.
The truly happy people, the ones who have done and are doing amazing things are the ones who are willing to do the brave things.
They aren’t any different to you and me. They just pushed past the fear and said yes anyway. They just bottled away enough courage to leap forwards.
They just believed in themselves enough to think it might just be worth a try.
And that’s what you need to do today.
Believe in yourself and do the brave thing, even (especially) if it scares you.