Tom Cruise terrifies me.
Tom Cruise in underwear is an even more disturbing mental image.
So this isn’t about paying homage to that 1983 classic movie that I have no interest in ever seeing. (Which says a lot, because I love movies.)
But ol’ Tomkins doesn’t have a monopoly on doing risky things.
We all have a few moments in our past that we think back to and muse, “What in the f*ck was I thinking?!”
Oftentimes, without the asterisk.
But playing through those same mental frames are moments of sheer bliss, of taking risks and them paying off. Because, very occasionally, big risks have an even bigger payoff.
Which has proven harder than I thought.
It’s one thing to say, “Hey, I want to move to the other side of the country,” and another thing entirely to actually make it happen.
But nearly five months later, it’s actually going to happen.
I’ve just successfully ripped away the last remnant of re-used bubble wrap to coat a particularly cherished piece of pottery when Andy calls.
He’s been in an all-day training session with his manager, and I know he’s coming back earlier than usual. Which, after a long day of going back and forth with our prospective LA apartment manager and packing, is a very welcomed break in our routine.
“Hey! Are you leaving?”
“I just resigned.”
Now, it’s not like he wasn’t going to resign in two days anyway. But I’m still surprised.
He tells me how it came up in conversation, and how he’d told his manager that he’d put in his official two weeks’ notice on Friday.
But the best part for me is hearing how uplifted he sounds. It reminds me of the freeing effects I’d experienced after my sparkly departure from my toxic job.
We chat for a few minutes, taking in the moment and realizing that this is the last big step before the actual move.
Then, the unexpected happens.
“Oh my god.”
“Honeywell is calling me.”
“OH, uh, SHIT, uh, GO!”
We hang up.
And I stand at the counter, where I’ve just pulled out vegetables and venison to make yet another cost-effective meal.
And chop a bazillion carrots and broccoli crowns.
And start having my own conversation.
“What’s going on?!”
“It’s either a really good thing, or a really bad thing that it’s taking this long.”
I look at the clock. Two minutes have passed.
I haphazardly chop more vegetables.
Then, five minutes pass.
And the phone rings.
And I nearly cut off a finger.
I pick up.
*Andy laughing hysterically*
“I. Got. The. JOB!”
Let me just tell you.
After we both scream and talk and gush and scream and gush and hang up so he doesn’t buy it on I-40 Downtown Abbey style, I have an ugly, cathartic cry.
Like, slumping-against-and-inching-down-the-wall-into-a-sobby-heap-on-the-floor kind of cry.
Because, in that moment, all of his job-searching efforts over the past six months have paid off. Not only that, but barely ten minutes after putting in his notice at a job that’s sucked the life out of him, he hears from a job that’s already changed both of our lives.
A game-changing job.
A job that translates to so many more opportunities.
A job that means we’ll now have a much more solid base on which to build our lives in California.
A job where he is respected as an equal among his heterosexual coworkers, and reaps the same benefits.
A job that means all of the “eventually’s” may be in our near future rather than “one day.”
So, we celebrate. In our favorite way.
And reflect on this whole experience.
This has been one of the most stressful processes of my entire life. And I know Andy feels the same way.
It’s been fraught with minor triumphs and massive setbacks. It’s challenged us to change and adapt, and lean more heavily on one another.
It’s shown us that taking the road less traveled isn’t a skip through the woods. It’s a long, tiring, draining process that can wear your nerves raw.
But it can also teach you so much about yourself.
We’ve grown so much.
Scrimped and saved.
And learned to let go.
Now, as we find ourselves looking back, we know that taking big, terrifying risks in pursuit of a happier life can pay off.
That whatever hiccups we may experience along the way can be overcome.
As long as we believe in ourselves.