Why Are We So Focused on Finding ‘The One’?
Saturday was my last day in San Francisco before my big move to Portland, so after a picture-perfect day full of great food, beer and amazing people-watching with a collection of friends in Delores Park, you can imagine the wild night that followed. That’s right, my girlfriend Kallie and I went all out, drinking copious amounts of tea and slamming down spicy indian food over rousing conversation. Nearby walls weren’t safe, with the excessive head nodding we were doing, as we exchanged mind-blowing philosophies on life and, as reported in the Onion of a similar female bonding sesh, “generally validated the living shit out of each other.”
To be completely honest, it was one of the most refreshing conversations I’ve had in a while, and it inspired this very blog post. In the middle of our love fest, I posed a hypothetical scenario to Kallie that somewhat reflects where I am right now:
“Isn’t it crazy that on any given day, you could pick up and have a completely new life? You could move to another city, scan Craigslist to find a new club to join for free (let’s just say, cycling), make connections in a new community with people you never would have met… then one of those connections leads to a job in fitness or social media or whatever… a job you never knew was out there.”
We pondered this for a few minutes, then Kallie started walking around the living room, on fire. Not from the Indian food, but from the idea-splosions happening in her mind.
“Seriously. Why are we so focused on finding ‘the one‘?”
I loved where she was going, though I wasn’t sure how we were on the topic of guys all the sudden. She paced back and forth a couple times, before throwing another stick of dynamite out.
“There are so many options and permutations your career path can take, all of them being okay, and yet we feel compelled to find the one perfect job. I sure as hell don’t think there’s just one person out there for me, for you, for anyone to end up with. And if I walked around with the one-person mentality before meeting my boyfriend, I would have closed off so many options and relationships, that ultimately lead me to this great guy.”
It’s funny to think about how cavalier I’ve been about relationships in my twenties, taking the ‘why not?’ approach to dating and jumping from a four-year commitment, to flings, to two-year something-or-others. Then, when it comes to my career, I’ve spent the past five years petrified of making a change and leaving a job that ultimately didn’t satisfy me. When it comes down to it, I value relationships more than my career. So why have I been so much more willing to experiment in love, something that it terrifies me to think of losing or not having in the future when I want to settle down with marriage and kids?
Let’s take a step back. This isn’t a post about love, it’s about the hesitance we have to pursue passions in other arenas of our lives.
I believe that a lot of people feel stuck in a job that pays well but sucks out their life energy. Zaps their happiness. Ages them.
And yet, they stay in that job, or that industry, or field of study. When I quit my sales job of five years, it scared me to think that I might have to throw out all the progress I made and become a beginner at something completely different. My pride was at battle with my curiosity, and thank goodness curiosity won.
Some of us stay in the high-paying yet unsatisfying job as an investment for the future, so that one day when we are retired that security blanket we tirelessly knitted will be there. But, as Kallie so eloquently put it, ‘Do you want to be dead at 100 or do you want to be dead today? Because you might as well be dead now if you’re doing what you hate.’
Knowing how large a part happiness plays in my livelihood, I’m taking a big chance by moving to a new city jobless. However, it doesn’t feel so risky. It feels amazing. I have ideas BURSTING out of me for all the things I will accomplish when I get to Portland. It’s no coincidence that the car I’ll be driving to Oregon tomorrow in is called ‘The Liberty.’ I am giving myself the freedom to explore my passions, to dabble in my dreams.
This post is dedicated to Kallie Stephenson, my SF partner-in-crime and friend since the days of braces, gym class and boy-craziness. Thanks for still pushing me to be my best self, after all these years.
With courage, love, and intensity,
Photo credit- Brandon Christopher Warren / Foter.com / CC BY-NC