15 July 2011

{big jumps} take the plunge

I am in San Francisco for the Cystinosis  (the rare disease I live with) Family and Medical Conference and to attend to my duties as a  (proud!) member of the Board of Directors. And, to borrow some beautiful words from my second mother, Frankie, to spend time with those who understand my life the best, those that have walked before me and embrace those just embarking on this journey.

This is the fourth installment in the big jumps; chasing your dreams guest blogger series.
Shelby is one of my closest friends. We have known each other almost half our lives. She is so many things a friend should be. We have ventured to Vegas together to see the Counting Crows in concert and she held my hand as I received my first tattoo. We have weathered many emotions and trials during our friendship, but we have also celebrated a lot as well. She blogs over at Shelby Lately and is a strong woman I look up to in my life. She has always gone after what she wants with gusto and I admire that SO much. I am happier than a kid let loose in a candy store that she is sharing her adventure here with us today.


When you know that your life is not going the way you want it to, I believe the only option you have is to change it. Don't make excuses, quit complaining and take all of that negative energy and do something with it. Negative energy is easy, but it's a toxin that simmers inside the body and can kill you slowly. Before you accuse me of being some hippie chick, believe me when I say I have worked very hard to practice what I am preaching right now.

As I begin to write this, I'm sitting on the DC Metro and bumping elbows with a total stranger. I am originally from southern California, a sprawling mecca of land and sea that makes cars an absolute necessity of life. If you would have told me a year ago that I would soon be relying on public transportation for my daily work commute 3000 miles away I wouldn't have believed you.

But a year ago I was broke, unhappy and working a dead-end job I'd taken out of desperation after using all of my savings on a summer long trip backpacking around Europe. I was applying for jobs I didn't even want to leave a job I absolutely hated. Does anyone else see what a problem that is? The stagnancy and failed potential of my life was causing me to feel increasingly disconnected and depressed.

Without going into the details, the truth is that I became fed up with myself and knew I had to make a huge change. Which is why 9 months ago I ended up in my car with everything I owned, driving to the East Coast. I had no job and pretty much no plan, except for a place to initially stay with family in Richmond and the vague notion that I would end up in DC eventually. I took the opportunity to turn it into the great American road trip I'd always longed to take. As I drove from destination to destination I left the unhappiness in the dust and worked on healing my bruised soul and believing in myself once again. The lessons and experiences aren't easily summarized, but I'll try anyways. 

Tahnie & Shelby October 2010

In Utah, I believed in miracles after meeting the most miraculous, magical baby there ever was.
In Colorado, I saw the satisfaction of a life well-lived with the beauty of good friends, good food and financial security.
In New Mexico, I Couchsurfed (<---- couchsurfing.org/bells_cheri) with strangers who made me Frito Pie and watched the surreal Air Sex Championships in a musty bar.
In New Orleans, I danced in the streets Halloween night to a house band jamming on the porch while drinking vodka and wearing a terrible red wig.
In Florida, I ate outside at a trendy Miami restaurant during a thunderstorm and slept in a beanbag while my college roommate and I Couchsurfed with twin brothers.
In North Carolina, I consumed kale and realized it had been weeks since anything green and remotely healthy had entered my system. I then canceled it all out by drinking beer with whiskey & honey mixed in.

As I am sure you can imagine, it was the adventure of a lifetime. And that was only the very beginning.

I'll be honest. The road to DC was bumpy and often less than magical. There were endless job interviews, family fights and homesick nights spent sobbing into the pillow. But as I finish writing this, tomorrow is my second day of employment at the kind of job I've been waiting to find for two years. As I finish writing this, I am laying on a mattress which is the only piece of furniture I own in my newly rented apartment.

I took such a huge gamble on my life but I realized that even if it failed, the risk alone made me aware that I was ALIVE. Tomorrow is never guaranteed and living like you just want to get through the day is a sorry way to spend your time. You have to take big leaps if you want real, genuine change. If you're standing on the edge of the cliff, hoping for something big, do yourself a favor and take the plunge. You are exactly what you've been waiting for. 


  1. Shelby is the bomb. So proud (and inspired by) of her.

  2. love this. i am about 20 minutes from dc... let me know if you want to explore! :)

    and the last 2 sentences of this post... ITA! totally agree. Love it.. Love your blog.


  3. Shelby,

    I've been following your journey on your blog and through Tahnie telling me about you moving to the East Coast for awhile now and I have to say, I am completely in awe of your courage. You've always been someone who really inspires me and now is no exception. Thank you for sharing this.

    If you ever need a friend in the DC area, hit me up.


  4. I enjoyed reading this, this is exactly what I needed! Thank you.

  5. Enjoyed reading your blog its hilarious and scary too!