by Kaitlyn McQuin, Guest Contributor
There’s something to be said about taking risks, and it’s that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
All of the most successful people have taken a risk at some point in their lives, which helped elevate them to where they are today.
For example, Jamie Lee Curtis took a risk when she started doing Activia commercials, because now when most see her, we think of bowel movements.
Leslie Knope took a risk when she ran for councilwoman, because so many odds were against her but she still made it happen.
Donald Trump takes a risk every time he wears ties long enough to trip over.
Without taking a risk, you stay comfortable, complacent and content.
And if there’s one thing in life I run from, aside from paying parking tickets until the very last hour they’re due, it’s contentment.
Step 1: Think
In April 2016, I was sitting in my friend Erin’s New Orleans living room with our friend Liz and we were discussing my potential move across the country to live with my boyfriend.
At the time, I had been with my boyfriend for 9 months. Yep, you read that right. 9. As in how many lives a cat has.
We chatted about what moving for a man could mean for me and my career and our relationship.
They posed insightful questions; questions that made me think. The questions asked weren’t, “What are you going to do for work,” although what was I going to do, or “what if you guys break up?” The one question they asked was, “Do you love him?”
Without hesitation, I said, “Yes, I do. I love him.”
“Then you need to go.”
It took those 5 simple words to ignite a fire within me to live my life how I wanted to, and in that moment, what I wanted to do was go see about a boy.
Step 2: Plan
Two months later, on a Saturday morning, I packed up as much of my life that my Corolla could hold and made the drive from New Orleans to Virginia with the man I was moving for in the passenger’s seat. He flew down to be with me during this huge transition in my life, which I am still so thankful for. For 24 years, New Orleans had been my home, and now I was leaving it all behind for a guy, a guy that wasn’t even my husband or my fiancé. Needless to say, I was scared.
As someone who had never really moved before, I wasn’t quite sure where to begin or if I was even doing it right.
Do people just quit their jobs and leave? Give up their lives and charge headfirst into the unknown?
My mom asked me why I was going.
Why not wait and see what would come of my relationship first? Why not stick with long distance a bit more? When will you be back?
The answer to those questions was that I fell in love with a man and I needed to be with him. It’s as simple as that.
Was I crazy for moving across the country for a man without a ring? Yes! Are you kidding me?
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined doing that, but I did.
And instead of living my first few months in my new town in fear, instead of wondering if my personal choices were OK with my family and my friends, I embraced the hell out of my decisions and I immediately got to work on building a life.
Step 3: Do
First thing’s first: employment. I am an independent w-o-m-a-n, and mama got bills, so I needed to get a job.
I found an opening as a theatre teacher for a summer position and quickly snatched it up. I was a teacher in New Orleans, so it offered a bit of familiarity that I needed at the time. Through that job, I started working in marketing for the company and then made my way into writing for a local entertainment magazine on the side.
My fear of not finding one job was squashed, because I found three, and moving away from New Orleans forced me to leave my comfort zone and seek out new experiences in work, all of which have been rewarding in their own way.
Relocating to live with my boyfriend has forced me to grow in ways I never knew I could and also encouraged me to embrace love instead of fear it.
If military life has taught me anything, it’s to enjoy the little moments. You know the ones. The hour you have together in the morning, even if it’s spent in the gym around a bunch of sweaty weirdos, the hour you have in the evenings after work to chat about your days before crashing at 9 p.m., or, for some, the FaceTime dates and letters in the mail.
It’s the little moments that matter with this life and I’m being taught to cherish them as the days go by.
Sometimes I do question this choice. I don’t question my relationship, but I question if I should have thought this through a little more. The logistics, you know? Things like managing my career growth, being forced to one day navigate the metro or finding a new hair stylist (it’s a big deal).
But I know that, for now, I’m where I’m supposed to be, and in a world, especially the military world, where a lot of things are unknown, it’s nice to know that I’m OK.
I’m going to be OK; here, back at home, the next duty station. Wherever you go, if you’re led by your heart, you will be fine.
Here in Virginia, I’m part of a team. My boyfriend, the pets and I are a team.
And I don’t need an engagement ring on my finger to make me believe that.
…but just in case my dude is reading, I’m a size 7 and I really like opals!
Kaitlyn McQuin is an actor, writer and teacher from New Orleans, who moved to D.C. because of a boy. Aside from turning everything she can into a joke, she enjoys being active, binge-watching dramatic TV to the point of stressing her out so badly she can’t sleep, and eating ice cream. She also enjoys traveling, which really helps out with this whole military thing. You can find more of her musings on her blog Powered by Sass. You can connect with Kaitlyn on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.