On My Mind – 06 – Keeping it Fresh

I’ve been thinking a lot about taking chances lately. Risks. Jumping into unknowns. Stretching. 

One of my Core Desired Feelings for 2018 is “fresh.” When I picked that word, here’s what I wrote:

Maybe this is my brave word for this year. Fresh to me means something that’s new to me, something that stretches me, helps me grow and learn. Something that keeps me engaged and makes me feel alive. Something different. An adventure. A permission to explore.

I look at that and I am uncomfortable a little bit. I am the kind of person who likes routine. Predictability. Consistency. Those are words that represent me. They don’t really sit side by side with adventure and stretching. But I also have an endless thirst to grow, reflect, learn. So that thirst often propels me to step into situations that are scary for me.

In 1999, I got the opportunity to take a six-month job in Tokyo. At the time, I was living in New York City with my husband and we had no kids. My work was okay but not great. This job, while in the same company, was for a manager I really liked. But I didn’t know a word of Japanese and I was really really scared to go. 

Which is why I went. 

I figured if I was this scared, this would be an opportunity for growth. I thought about it, tried to be logical, but honestly in the end it was all about my gut. My gut screamed “go! go! go!” so I went. 

And It was tough. But it was also amazing. I wouldn’t take back those months ever. They are still some of my best in my life. 

When I look back at my life, I notice that all the times that I really loved, I was taking a risk. Moving to NY, living in Japan, quitting my job to teach in the Bronx, moving out of NY, our cross-country trip, moving to San Diego, moving to the Bay Area, asking to work from home.  And of course having my kids.

These are all cases when I walked into the unknown. I hoped and prayed for the best. I had really tough moments. But I remember each of them with joy now. It’s what makes my life interesting and full. Growing, while tough, is also really rewarding.

I’ve found myself in a similar situation lately and my gut is screaming at me again. Here’s to taking leaps. To feeling the freshness of the unknown.


On My Mind is a year-long project for 2018. You can read more about my projects for 2018 here.

1 comment to On My Mind – 06 – Keeping it Fresh

  • Stacia

    It’s such a tricky balance, to go for the new, big change or continue to learn and grow on a less steep slope. I left my job at Microsoft a year ago and moved to Amazon – a huge change! But I was so so so ready to do something really different, and it was a great opportunity to do more of what I loved. A year later, and things have changed yet again. A new position, a huge stretch for me, not something I’m sure I will stick with forever. But I’m definitely not bored, I really like my manager, I’m making things better for customers – I’m glad I made the change. And yet – I would love (LOVE!) to have a job where I could do more traveling…but I did that last year and it was super tough on my family. So for now, I will bide my time and shift the balance more toward them. In another year? Or two? We’ll see. 🙂 I hope your gut and your sense of balance both guide you to make great choices, fresh and otherwise!

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