Stuff I’ve Had To Learn: Sometimes you just have to shake things up a bit
I’ve been mulling over the best way to start this blog. There’s so much to say about my decision to quit my job and to start working for an American company; so much to say about my nomadic life and eventual move to the United States…but I’m getting ahead of myself. As Glinda, the Good Witch Of The South, would say, it’s best to begin at the beginning…
Begin the beguine
Although in some ways the seeds of this adventure had been planted earlier, things started to come to the fore in 2006. I had been living in Cheltenham for about four years. I had moved there following university, after a brief, false start in Salisbury (my employer went bankrupt three days after I joined). There was nothing wrong, per se, with my life in Cheltenham; I had good friends, a lovely church and a great place to live, but I couldn’t shake my feeling of unease. Life just seemed a little bit too….predicable and, well, comfortable. There was nothing in my life which was pushing me out of my comfort zone. I had recently passed into my mid-twenties and it felt like I was just getting old and boring before my time…
I was at a loss as to what I should do to get out of this funk. I considered changing careers. I thought about becoming an IT trainer (I’ve always enjoyed telling people what to do). I also gave serious consideration to resurrecting my sign language and training to be an interpreter. I considered moving to another town or city in England. The trouble was, after living in Cheltenham, pretty much everywhere else appeared ugly, boring or had limited job opportunities. I did consider moving abroad, but that just seemed far too scary!
And so I remained for the next year and a half: locked in a paralysis, uncertain of what to do. Should I move? Should I change my job? Should I change my career? Should I go back to studying? The sheer array of options overwhelmed me. I found little guidance in prayer, feeling more conflicted and stressed at the end of prayer than I was at the beginning. Then towards the end of 2007 something happened – I jumped.
After a chance meeting at a conference with a Technology Evangelist I started to learn a new programming language, Adobe Flex. As I was learning this new technology I kept coming across the name “Cynergy Systems”, both in forum entries and in technical articles. I visited their website and was blown away by the showcase of applications they had built. I sent them an email and got one back the same day. After a short phone call, a formal telephone interview was arranged for the following week and the day after that I had a job offer! After so much uncertainty and dithering I had just landed a job that was going to take me out of my comfort zone in so many different ways and in many more ways, I would later find out, than I had initially realised. However, mixed in with the fear and uncertainty was a large amount of hope, expectation and excitement. The adventure had begun…
“The glory of God is seen through a life fully lived” – St. Irenaeus, c. 180 AD
Sometimes you just have to take a risk and go for it. This doesn’t mean that you abandon all rational thought and become reckless. No, but it means that sometimes you just have to be willing to shake things up a bit. Sure, I’ve had many risks blow up in my face before, but I’ve always found great comfort from St. Paul’s words to the Romans:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” – Romans 8:28
Seizing a particular opportunity may turn out to be a huge mistake, but even if it is, God will, in some way, use it for His purposes – a glorious mistake on my part can still be used for His glory; He can write straight with my crooked lines. And what’s the alternative? The alternative is even more terrifying than a disastrous mistake – it is a life half-lived.
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life” – Thoreau, Walden
So go on, shake things up a bit!