By Megan Bruneau, Aloha
I’m strategically impulsive. If I think too long before making a decision, I get perfectionistic about it and don’t follow through. Thus, knowing myself well, I tend to do a quick “Will this kill me?” evaluation, and then say an unequivocal “Yes” to most things.
So when I was offered a position at the Aloha HQ in NYC, while feeling restless at my unionized 8:30-4:30 counseling job and living with my boyfriend in Vancouver, I didn’t think about it for too long. I decided it was the Universe telling me to take my own advice, and step out of my comfort zone.
I had become enamored with Aloha the moment I walked into their Flatiron office. There were palm trees everywhere. Jay-Z was playing. There was a line to use the Vitamix. I mentioned to someone that I was hungover, and they shoved 2 envelopes in my hand. What is— Shhh…just take it. So I did, and suddenly my hangover… became less debilitating.
I’ve found the elixir of life! Not so. I learned what I’d taken: The Foundation and The Daily Good, two of Aloha’s many unique vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, GMO-free, peanut-free, organic, wild, nutrition supplements. They’d somehow managed to infuse their chocolate with veggies. Their trail mix had white mulberries. Their protein was made with hempseed (#Canadarepresent). This seemed like a company I could get behind. Their mission is to counter the processed food industry, and offer high-quality, convenient products at an affordable price.
Plus, everyone — including the CEO — had nicer hair than me. He’d also kite surfed across the Bering Straight. That all had to be from the Aloha products.
So I filled one suitcase and tossed the rest, and moved across the country.
And then everything happened as it should: The Universe was like, “You want discomfort?! I’ll give you discomfort!” My relationship ended. #StartupLyfe was hard work. I didn’t have any friends in NYC to whom I felt comfortable unveiling my crazy. My roommate had after-parties at 4am. It was So. Freaking. Cold. (Sidebar: For those of you who think because I’m “from Canada” I should be “used to it,” let me take this opportunity to clarify that VANCOUVER IS NOT COLD).
It sucked for a bit, I won’t lie. I cried almost as much as the breakup of 2011. I put on ten pounds despite clean eating and regular Barry’s visits. My eye twitched for 2 months straight (no joke). But almost 6 months later, I’m feeling more grounded, and am confident I made the right decision. It’s still an adventure, just no longer a tornado. I’m still not sure what’s around the next corner — and that is more parts invigorating than terrifying for me.
So you’re considering an “adventure,” a major change, or something that scares you? Here are a few reminders to (hopefully) empower you:
1. No one is going to make you take a leap but yourself
If you’re waiting for someone else to push you off the proverbial bungee, or for the conditions to be perfect, you’re unlikely to take the plunge. If there’s something you’ve been wanting to do, ask yourself what cue you’re waiting for, and if it’s really necessary or it’s just comfort talking.
2. People regret more what they don’t do, than what they do
This is a real thing. There’ve been studies where they’ve asked people about what they’ve regretted most in life, and they say things like “I wish I’d told my friend I loved him” or “I wish I’d tried SoulCycle” (Hey… I’m sure someone has said that somewhere). Unless it’s something that’s going to cause direct harm to yourself or others, you’re more likely to regret not doing it.
3. It probably won’t be easy, but you’ll grow from it
Transition, even positive transition, is hard. Humans are creatures of habit, and we like routine. Even if your adventure is backpacking through South East Asia or moving in with your partner, there will be challenges. If your adventure is quitting your job or divorcing your partner, there will be grief. Make space for all of it. Give yourself permission to feel disoriented, anxious, lost, uncertain, etc. Know that the growth comes from the struggle.
4. Know what consistencies you definitely need
For the first two months I was in NYC, the only time I felt sane was at yoga. It was the one thing in my life I’d kept somewhat consistent. I shed tears of frustration, hurt, powerlessness, and grief in that room, but there was also the familiar comfort of the asanas and reminding myself that not everything had changed. If yoga ain’t your thang, ask yourself what other consistencies you can maintain in times of change. Relationships, rituals, hobbies, your morning smoothie — whatever provides stability.
5. Be kind to yourself
Transition is monumentally more challenging when we’re hard on ourselves. Practice self-compassion. That means practice mindfulness (non-judgmental awareness of the present moment) and self-kindness; remember what you’re experiencing is part of being human and we’re all in this together. Allow yourself to fall apart and feel the uncomfortable feelings that come up with the change.
6. Remember it’s all impermanent
Finally, remember, everything that happens — everything that you feel, every thought you have — it’s all neurons firing and sensations occurring. Everything about life is in constant flux, and will come and go, start and finish. Try not to attach to expectations for how things “should” or “will” be. Find comfort in knowing the challenging moments will pass, and try to fully experience the positive moments without grasping.
So consider taking that adventure that’s always scared you, whether it’s quitting your job and moving countries, or asking out that guy in your building. And drink Aloha when you’re hungover.
Megan Bruneau is the Community Manager at ALOHA — a health food startup dedicated to upgrading everything we put in our bodies, and living holistically. Megan's health and wellness career started out as a personal trainer, before moving into yoga and eventually psychotherapy and blogging. She specializes in perfectionism-related concerns such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and low self-worth.