Turning Points

Lately, I've been making changes in my life that require some balls.

One of these changes was hard and I don't really know why. I finally completely broke it off with a guy who wasn't really there for me and actually had several “dead monkeys” that I was working full-time to ignore. (For all of you who didn't go on the girly camping trip this year, dead monkeys are things that you consider to be deal breakers.) Despite this, it was very hard to do. For some reason, the dead monkeys weren't really deal breakers — I was able to ignore them. I think it's because I don't really have close friends here in Peoria, and I did feel close to him. I know denial played a major role in our relationship, but it seems like there was something else too.

Eventually though, you reach a point where the denial is harder to maintain and you have to demand the respect that you deserve. I knew he'd get mad and expect me to drop it and act normal. (In his mind, my displeasure was never worth arguing about.) This time, that's not going to happen. We're done.

I can tell that the other ballsy change is one of the big turning points that I'll look back on and say “what if...” I've applied for two different jobs that will require me to relocate. Chances are very good that I'll actually get both and have to choose between them.

This is the third life-changing turning point I've faced.

The first was going to Catholic high school. This was actually my mother's choice but I think it has made more difference than any other crossroads in my entire life. Had I taken the other path, I never would have made anything of myself and I certainly wouldn't have got into the University of Illinois. The change had nothing to do with Catholicism or that school specifically — it had to do with the people I knew in grade school and the misconceptions I had about what it took to be accepted.

The second was moving back to my hometown of Peoria after college so I would break out of my comfort zone and force myself to find a “real” job. At the time, I didn't intend to stay here, but I have. There were many possibilities at that time — including using the U of I's resources and looking for jobs on my own — and there were also some very real reasons for me to stay that I still think about in a “what if” way, but I felt like this was the only way I was ever going to move forward. Instead of what I thought would happen — that being here would dramatically increase my motivation to move — I've lucked into some very interesting jobs with a pretty good company.

Now, instead of waiting for the next lucky job, I've decided to take the initiative and force a physical relocation. This should be a hard decision because I have a house, two dogs, a handful of Peoria friends, and an easy drive to my friends in Chicago — but I feel like I have to do it. It just seems like the right time even though I don't have any of the details worked out.

Hopefully this decision will be a good one… Maybe we always think our big decisions are good since we don't know how the other paths turn out? I don't know, but I'm proud of myself for ending the inertia and picking a new path (despite the “cajones” it requires!).

© 2003, Chris Slankard
Images: Microsoft Corp.

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