Good Stories

“If it isn’t a good time, it’s probably a good story…”  Wise words spoken by my friend, Sarah, over coffee Sunday.  And she would know – Sarah is another woman who has found her all.

Immediately after college (as in, the day after graduation), Sarah left our secure little Midwestern state to move to a big city down South with her husband.  They both accepted jobs, sight unseen, and arrived to discover that Sarah actually didn’t like hers.  Like really didn’t like hers.  So, after her first day at job #1, she started looking for job #2.  Many years later, back in her home state, Sarah decided to once again take a leap – she left her job in academia right when she was offered tenure in order to start her own letterpress printing business.  “Why..?” you ask. 

“Why not?”  She told me.  “What’s the worst thing that could happen?  I didn’t like it and went back?”  Sarah laughed when she told me her stories about life in the big city (cockroaches anyone?) and trying to start her own business (forklifting a heavy printing press into the back of a wobbly trailer mid-winter).  Her not-so-good times, her growing pains, are now the great stories that she’s telling over coffee on a Sunday afternoon.

And it makes sense.  A few years ago I left my own high-paying corporate job to move to Liberia.  Yes, you read that right…Liberia.  As in, post-conflict developing country in West Africa – that Liberia.  Why?  Because the job didn’t fit and there was a great guy there who did, and still does,fit.

The worst thing that happened?  I accidentally ate weevil larvae in my pasta one night.  My body temperature now (2 years later) only has two settings – hot and very hot.  And I got to work in my dream job for six months until I burned out and…you guessed it…came back to the Midwest.

Finding it all may not mean physically moving far away or suddenly leaving secure employment.  But finding it all does mean being willing to potentially have one of those not-so-good times.  It may never happen – you may have smooth sailing the entire way – but being willing to take the leap into the unknown, being ok with the unpredictable, is key.  And hey, even if it’s not so good, you’ll still come out with some great stories!

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