A LOT can change in the span of one year:
A year ago, I left my life that I built for 4 years in Cambridge, MA. After much deliberation, I realized that if I stayed there, I wouldn't fully develop into the man I saw myself becoming.
I wanted to get into Improv comedy on a serious level. I had been involved with Improv in Cambridge for two and a half years. I thought that I could really explode my growth in this world if I were to move to Los Angeles. So, last October (2016) I packed up my car, left my community in Boston and said goodbye.
Over that year, living in a totally new city (this wasn't the first time I moved to a new city, I grew up in Chicago and lived there until 2013 where I then headed to Boston) I learned more about myself than I have in the 27 years of my existence prior:
The script you have for your life is meaningless- it is going to change and accepting those changes will lead you further down the path to realize your true potential.
When I moved to LA, it only took about a month to realize that the life in
entertainment and improv wasn't for me. I met an “actor” at the first job I got. I was so curious to hear about his 15 years in the business. I started asking him what he does to prepare for his auditions.
He looked at me blankly and said, “What do you mean? I don't get into character, I go as myself.” This shook me. Immediately my ego took hold:
"Who does this guy think he is? What makes him so special that the world will want him in a role?”
"Does he not appreciate the art of storytelling? How dare he bastardize such a craft?”
It immediately rubbed me the wrong way. I later met many more “actors” who approached their “craft” with such an attitude. I knew that this “life” and these goals weren't in line with what I thought would bring me to a happy life. I abandoned those dreams after weeks of meditation on the decision.
When your back is up against the wall, you will find a way.
4 months into living in a new city my life again changed dramatically. The job that I acquired- working as a server in a fine-dining establishment, was taken from me without my control.
One Saturday night, after we had finally established ourselves as a successful restaurant in Los Angeles (the restaurant opened with me as part of the opening team) our General Manager gathered us all at the bar to buy us a round of drinks in celebration.
This was our most successful night to date. We drank a few drinks and reflected on all the struggles of opening a restaurant. We laughed, we shook our heads, we drank and then we parted.
I woke up at 7am the next morning to 18 missed calls and over 30 text messages.
The restaurant had caught fire in the electrical wiring in the ceiling and burned down.
I was devastated.
What took so much hard work to build and become successful was gone in an instant.
Looking back on it now, the fire was a blessing.
It got me to write. I am confident, without that fire, I wouldn't be writing on Quora or have created my blog.
It made me realize that I had put so much emphasis in the structure of my life and that there was a “right” way of doing things. This could all be stripped away in an instant so why not try.
Writing had always been a passion of mine, now I had this sense to give it a shot.
When you're scared is when you learn best.
-I was petrified when the restaurant burned down.
-I was petrified writing my first blog post.
-I am still petrified writing here on Quora.
-I learned to box through private lessons. I'm still scared before going to my lessons.
I've asked out more girls this year and got rejected by more girls this year than any year combined. I'm still scared that they'll say no.
The truth of the matter is, when I have done all of these things that scared me. I have learned ten-fold that what I could have if I didn't take any action.
-The burning of the restaurant made me realize I wasn't happy there anyway. It was like being in a relationship you know is bad but you don't leave until you're cheated on.
-My blog is now helping inspire people through my writing and I am becoming a better person and writer because of it.
-Through Quora I am meeting plenty of inspiring people that are doing things I aspire to do as well. I wrote a piece that over 9 thousand people have read and responded to.
-Through boxing I have learned to be confident with my body and to slow my mind and think deliberately with how I move and what I say.
Resourcefulness is the best resource
I traveled outside the country for the first time this past year.
I was alone for a lot of the time.
I didn't know necessarily what I was doing.
I knew deep down that I would be okay. I knew I was going to have to put myself outside my comfort-zone if I were to learn from the trip and enjoy all there was to offer.
When you travel, it is hard to use cell-service. I learned to ask the locals directions.
When you travel, it's hard to get social interaction at times. I learned to sign up for winery tours and put myself at the table of others and ask questions.
When you travel, you need to adapt to a new language. When I was in Germany, especially at the train stations, I needed to ask people what certain signs meant and learn key words to get by.
When you travel, you need places to stay. I had “friends” who I had met maybe over a summer or met through another mutual friend. I reached out to these individuals to see if they would take me in. They obliged. Now, there is no doubt in my mind of the friendship that was built.
There is much that can change over the course of a year. In order for you to grow from that year, it is necessary to benchmark where you are and where you are looking to go.