On April 15, 2011 I wrote a blog called “End of the Road.” It described a journey involving leaving my job for one year and changing my life.
Four years. It ended up being four years. And counting.
Shockingly, or not so much, this journey has looked nothing like I thought it would. I did travel. I did write. I found love (rather unexpectedly). I did not learn how to play tennis. I’m not sure I’m closer to finding a perfect path. And even at this age, I’m still trying to figure out who I am, and what I can contribute to a world that begs for originality, but shuns it when it sees it. Or a place that offers $1 per every 100 words, if you are lucky.
Am I still happy I quit the job? I’m happy I quit that job. There are times when I kick myself for staying in that environment for so long, but ultimately it provided me with a way to take these years off, and I’ve slowly learned that “I should have” doesn’t really help — it only steals happiness from the present.
As for that present, things are changing.
First up, this blog is going to radically change. The site is going to be largely dedicated to the web series. The structure will change so that when you follow the links here, the sizzle reel and the behind the scenes videos will be accessible on the front page. The blog will be archived, so it will still exist, but unless there is something relevant to the series going on, I won’t be updating it. I started the blog in 2006 because I had something specific to say, and trying to shoehorn other more general lifestyle things into it doesn’t make sense anymore. I hope you’ll still visit to see what is happening with the series, and that you’ll follow me to my other Internet homes.
Second, I still will be writing the travel pieces, but I’ve changed the scope of the reporting. My new travel home (in addition to outlets like Examiner) is Traveling Without a Net. It’s still evolving, but I hope you’ll join me there, and maybe even contribute some guest pieces when you land on unusual spots across the globe.
Third, if you are interested in following me and reading about my projects generally, you can do that at PatriciaSteffy.com. As work on another book and other projects progress, I’ll be posting updates there.
I’ll also be posting regularly on social media sites like Twitter (@katedating), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PatriciaSteffyWriter) and Instagram (https://instagram.com/patriciasteffy). Instagram really is my favorite spot in the social world right now, and I often post my observations on life and travel there.
What have I learned in the last four years?
1. Putting a time limit on changing your life is both naive and important. It’s naive because big life changes go in unexpected directions. They don’t adhere to a schedule. Then why have time limits at all? Because I do think it is important to periodically assess where you are, and why you are doing the things you are doing. You can’t always put a time frame around progress, but you can identify inertia if you are checking in from time to time.
2. You will get sidetracked. This can be both rewarding and damaging. If you end up having a wonderful and unexpected opportunity, embrace that sidetrack. Give it a hug. Pack a bag. If the sidetrack ends up being something that steals your time, your energy and your money, kick it to the curb. It’s not always easy to identify which way a sidetrack is going to go, but deep down you know.
3. Be honest with yourself. If you are in a bad situation, get out of it. If you are getting mired in a life with manipulative, unethical people, get out of it. You won’t change them. Despite your best intentions, you will not help them. Your life will certainly suffer if you don’t. It’s okay to leave. Give yourself permission to do it.
4. When love comes your way, be open to it. I’m not saying you shouldn’t throw up some solid walls and create an obstacle or two (because I certainly did – I had to be me), but even I recognized the potential for something great when I saw it. I eventually opened the door.
5. Wander. Sometimes the unplanned trip to an unusual place, can so change your perspective that life looks entirely different when you return to your normal routine. It can highlight both the good and the bad. At least you know what needs to be changed.
Those are my thoughts for now. I feel like I’m rapidly approaching another crossroads. Left? Right? Keep plowing ahead? I’m not sure I have those answers right now. But I am embracing the good things in my life, and I’m hopeful the rest will reveal itself in time (oh, who am I kidding – I plan on obsessing about every possible choice and then trying to beat one of the decisions into submission).
Patricia (aka Kate Dating)