Baby Stepping Out of Routine

***I want to recognize the privilege I have as a college-educated woman, a person with professional experience, access to resources, English-speaking and able to read. My ability to step out of my routine is a privilege within itself. Everybody is in different circumstances and has a different process. This is just mine.  If fear is what’s holding you back though, read on!***

As babies we are crawling bundles of joy. Shortly after, we evolve into walking bundles of terror! At least that’s what mami says happened with me. I can see it now. Pamelita working on her first steps, falling repeatedly and getting back up. So close to being able to walk wherever she wants and away from whoever she wants. She takes her first steps and loved ones hover over her cheering her on. There is no judgement, very little concern and an overwhelming amount of joy.

Every time I experience transition and change in my life, I feel a connection to myself evolving from a crawling baby to a walking toddler. I cannot remember my first steps and I definitely don’t remember how I felt but I can only imagine based on stories I’ve heard and children I’ve experienced taking their first steps in the media and in real life. “It’s like learning how to walk again. You fall and get back up until you reach your goal.” The metaphor works so well when compared to life, which is why it has been overused by so many of us and labeled a cliché.

Right now, I am in transition. If you are too, you are not alone. If you are considering a change, I am here to maybe help you own it, trust it and love it.

It’s as if I am falling constantly and getting back up on my way to taking my first steps. There is transition, growing and evolving within myself, just like when I learned how to walk. Except this time there are a mix of emotions and responses from my loved ones and society. Learning how to walk is expected. Society accepts it and honors it. When we step away from what society, our families or loved ones expect of us, the cheering on quiets down. The hovering isn’t always joyful. Sometimes it’s judgmental and at times hurtful. It doesn’t matter if the transition involves evolving into another version of ourselves, like learning how to walk. My decision to stop pursuing full-time employment, put a hold on my career and move out of my beloved apartment goes against the social norm and the clear path that has been paved for me. People around me are concerned and truthfully, I am too sometimes. That’s okay.

I won’t go into detail on why I decided to take an unfamiliar road to an unknown destination instead of the clearly paved one but it goes a little like this: I did not love my job anymore, applying to jobs and not getting call backs sucked, going through long ass interviews for mediocre jobs felt like a waste of time, I loved my apartment but I could no longer afford it without a job. Have you heard this narrative before? I’m sure you have because it’s common. That “clearly paved road” is LONG as fuck and at times, stressful as fuck, debilitating and strenuous. I decided to take a break from it. Take a different way, one that I have complete control over, one where I can take a break under a tree on a sunny day and not worry, just for a moment. And one where I can actually take a moment to figure out what’s next without the stress of a full-time job, paying expensive rent and having somebody else dictate how to use my time.

For the past five years, I have had a stable income, home and schedule. I have found comfort in waking up everyday knowing what to expect. I’ve realized that my family has also found comfort in knowing that I was teaching everyday, getting a consistent paycheck each month and going home to an apartment at the end of each work day.

For the past month, my life has been far from routine. Even though it’s uncomfortable at times, I CHOSE this life and I can already feel myself evolving in a way I never have before. I am using resources and tools I’ve only used during expected transitions, like going away to college and moving to a new city for a job. I am practicing, acceptance, adaptability, persistence, dedication and navigating challenges as gracefully as I can. I am practicing community in a way I’ve never had to before by really seeking their support during difficult situations. If you are feeling afraid to step out of your routine, I am here to say that I don’t blame you but also, you can do it.

Below are some of the skills and experiences I’ve been able to practice and participate in after stepping out of my routine.

  1. Budgeting: I have never really had to budget. I mean, I probably should have but I never did successfully. Since my income is less and inconsistent, I have had to commit to analyzing my income, expenses and budgeting in a way I never felt necessary. I feel comfort in knowing that if I am ever in an unwanted or unplanned situation, I will know how to stop spending money in the areas I don’t need to spend money on.
  2. Self-employment: I stopped looking for full-time employment and decided to create my own schedule. I am currently working part-time as a nanny and have two tutoring clients. I have a little more control over my schedule and flexibility when needed.
  3. Gratitude and Community: I have had so many so many people in my life step up with support providing me with resources that might useful for me and even offering their space for me to live in at inexpensive pricing.
  4. Graduate School: I actually have time to apply to graduate school and look into the programs I want to consider. I don’t have to worry that I won’t have any time in the world.
  5. Traveling: At the end of January, I am spending a month in Ecuador with my dad- a trip I haven’t been able to do with him for more than eight years. I get to visit my family and work on a project I’ve been wanting to develop forever.
  6. Goal-setting: I have never had so much time to actually think about what I want without stressful distractions. Applying to graduate school, writing more, developing my tutoring skills, developing an online store on Teachers Pay Teachers and considering a move from Denver are only some of the goals I’ve been able to work on.
  7. Trusting my own process and journey: The most challenging part of being in transition is quieting the judgments and confusion around me from other people about what I am doing. The second hardest is trusting myself, my process and journey without always taking the advice of people that love me and care about me. I am taking it day by day and practicing how to stay focused despite the noise happening around me.

If you are considering stepping out of your routine, I suggest practicing quieting the voices that will tell you it’s not the right choice. Prioritize what you want one step at a time. Take it one priority at a time and use your time wisely and the way you’ve always wanted to use it. Remember that money is necessary but you have so many skills and resources to pull from in order to make what you need to make. Express what you might need to your community because they might be able to help. Search for resources that will make this transition easier- health care resources is an example. Finally, own your process homie…just like you owned your first steps.

let it flow

Thank for sharing @firstloveyou

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