Just a few years ago a friend launched a podcast editing business. “What’s a podcast?” I asked her. “Who has time to listen to these things?” The sad truth is that I was serious.
Today, I am an avid consumer of podcasts. Rarely will you find me without one broadcasting from my iPhone or mainlining through my earbud at 1.5 times normal speed. If you listen at a faster speed, you can absorb more podcasts!
Something I heard on one of my favorite podcasts this week struck me. If you think about how many words most of us consume every day, especially when ingesting so much content from podcasts as I do, it is remarkable that anything would stand out. It is even more remarkable that I would remember it. But, this was memorable and especially relevant because today is the day of my rebirth, what I think of as my birthday of my own volition.
“You can either live your dream, or work for someone so they can fulfill their dream.”
Roll back the tape 6 years to the day and there I was in a tailored, perfectly coordinated outfit, my heels clicking on the polished floor as I walked out the doors of where I had built a career for 12 years. I will always recognize May 23rd as my re-birthday.
Owning a small business, I have learned since then, is not for the feint of heart. Despite my research, projections, consultants and after almost 7 years in business, analysis of performance trends from previous years, all rendered useless now, nothing could have prepared me for the text message I received while traveling home from India. It was from my assistant who anxiously waited for our plane to touch down in Amsterdam: “The governor says you must close the studios tomorrow.”
It will be two and half months from that day, maybe longer, before we open our studio doors again. A frightening realization, if I let it be. Six years ago I left the security of a job with all the trappings I thought I wanted – a title, office with a door, being part of the inner circle – and with all the trappings I knew I needed – health insurance, 401K, paid vacation (a lot of it), and I don’t remember what else. Even now, despite the unknown, I do not regret my decision. The truth is, the uncertainty of these times could have jeopardized the stability of that position had I stayed in it. There are no “what ifs.”
These past weeks have been one day bleeding into another. Unless I look at a calendar or intentionally schedule a ZOOM call, I have a hard time knowing what day it is. I heard myself telling a friend to have a good weekend. Really, what’s the difference between a Saturday and, say, a Tuesday?
Of course this hard stop to our lives and the accompanying uncertainty breed bone-chilling fear. If I allowed myself, I could succumb to the inner voice that questions how I am going to come out of this pandemic crisis standing strong. I could allow myself to listen to the voice telling me I should do this and I should do that…all “shoulds” that point me in a direction directly opposed to what my heart tells me.
What I have learned since May 23rd six years ago, is that fear is a feeling projected into the future. Did anyone ever consider that perhaps things could wind up being better than we ever imagined they could be? Why don’t we ever go down that path?
Staying present tames fear. At this moment as I share my thoughts, I am sitting on my porch. A warm breeze brushes my skin as my dog lies curled up in our garden, squashing all our plants beneath her body. What I know is that right now there is nothing to fear. Everything is exactly as it should be.
On this day, my re-birthday, this is where I choose to rest my thoughts. I choose contentment. It squashes fear.