My dear late friend, Britta Z., introduced me to a friend who, for many years, pursued being a professional actress. By late 30″s, not being able to support herself and her child as an actress, she ended up working in real estate in Southern CA, making a solid six figure income. Her life long dream was to be a working actress living in NY. After she raised her son, she decided to give up her stable career in real estate in CA and move to NY with the hope of acting again. She never gave up her dream. While she initially worked in real estate in the big apple, she eventually landed a regular role in one of the soap operas that was based in NY. Having the courage to close one chapter in her life, a new one — a much better one — had opened, fulfilling her lifelong dream.
Have you ever been afraid to close a chapter in your life and open a new one, fearing the unknown? Perhaps you stayed in a bad relationship or an unfulfilling job just because you were more afraid of the unknown change? Sometimes we can’t see that if we close a chapter in our lives, a better one will open. Our fear can take over and blind us from opening a new door. The unknown is a risk for all of us, and we all have different thresholds in taking risks: some people are very daring and will jump off an airplane in a heartbeat, while others may find that even going on a commercial airplane can be traumatic. It is in our degrees of threshold that makes us uniquely different in how we deal with change.
How do we evaluate whether it’s worth closing one chapter of your life and taking the risk of a new beginning? There are concrete ways to measure this.
The most important measure is regret. Ask yourself whether you will regret not having tried something you always dreamed of doing later in life. If the answer is “yes,” knowing that you will regret later, then this is a very strong indication that you should make the change. The worst feeling is regret that you could have done something about it, but you didn’t have the courage to do so.
Not being happy in your current situation and dragging it on can cause tremendous stress. Are you always stressed because you hate your job, your marriage or your relationship? Is this stress affecting your healthy adversely? If you feel constant stress and can’t get out of this vicious cycle, this can also be a sign to move onto something new.
Do you feel burdened by your current situation, like you have the whole world on your shoulders? Do you feel mentally, emotionally and spiritually heavy all the time, like you are trapped and caged? When you feel burdened, it can be a clear sign that it’s time for a new beginning.
Do you feel like you are not learning anything new? If you are no longer being challenged by not learning anything new, then you are not growing. Once we stop growing, we feel stagnant and our sense of purpose is lost, which is an important reason for living. When we learn and grow, then we feel spiritually fulfilled and alive.
Finally, what do you have to lose? You can either stay in your current miserable situation or risk change with the possibility of a new exciting opportunity. Even if it didn’t turn out the way you had envisioned, new experiences will always teach you invaluable lessons that help you to grow and shape you as a person. So there is nothing to lose in making a leap to a new beginning. Instead of holding onto your comfort blanket, discard it and try something new in your life, and the days of feeling hopeless will change to days of feeling renewed. The ending is just the beginning, so get started.
By Moon Cho, Creator of Ying & Yang Living