It’s no surprise that I make impulse decisions. In February 2003, in the middle of a blizzard, on the night before my first arbitration as a self-employed attorney, I jumped off a roof and sprained both of my ankles. My first real estate purchase was the very first apartment that I saw. “Let’s get married.” “Let’s adopt a dog.” “Let’s have a baby.” “Let’s have two.” Not a tremendous amount of thought or planning in any of these decisions. I don’t necessarily recommend this strategy, but I know that I’m the type of person that might talk myself out of a plan if I over think it. My fear of a boring life far outweighs my fear of change and adventure.
Moving away from New York, my family, and my home of 35 years was one of the most planned decisions of my life that almost never happened. The itch began during Spring Break, 1999. Amsterdam was the first trip overseas by myself. All I had was a round-trip ticket. No family. No travel guidebook. No plan. For 10 days, we wandered. The only map was folded in my pocket and only used at the end of the day to find our way back to our hostel. This was one of the most liberating feelings of my life. Years later the theory of improvisation would clarify and add a philosophy to my 10-day experience of freedom and life happening in the moment.
Over the next 14 years, my life would change in countless ways. Relationship, career, spiritual shifts, marital status, moves, career change, and family additions all contributed to forming who I am today. However, the decade and a half of life changes all happened in the constant of New York. Nicole and I love to travel, and we’ve explored Canada, Prague, Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Slovakia, Krakow, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Costa Rica, and state after state of “escape the cold” southern weather. With every trip, the same pattern persists; excitement followed by curious exploring, followed by daydreaming, and then the inevitable disappointment of a return to reality. After most trips, and sometimes during, our keyboards would get an extra workout as we surfed the real estate and job listings wondering if this would be our inspiration to finally set sail. Year after year, trip after trip, our hope diminished as the gravity of New York continued to grow stronger…and then, two weeks ago, the universe rolled out a red carpet.
San Diego was the first place in the U.S. that I wanted to move after I graduated from college. I was only there as a child, but the promise of perfect beach weather and a cross-country adventure were enough to ignite my 21-year-old mind. Instead, I listened to the “voice of reason” that I’ve come to learn is the voice of fear. I took the “safe” route and went to law school. I knew this would make my family happy and proud, and making a lot of money sounded like a ticket to anywhere. What I received was a sentence to more entanglement, and the gravity grew stronger.
Three years ago, after much self-negotiation and detangling, I sold my law firm to focus on my place in the world of comedy. This leap would change my entire worldview, because when I landed, it was in the world of improv at The Peoples Improv Theater in NYC. This was the perfect point of my life for improv. Not only would I practice it as an art form, but the deeper improv philosophy made sense to me in my life off the stage as well. Day by day, one “yes” at a time, I lived moment to moment. I slowly let go of my judgmental mind. I followed the fear and didn’t let it paralyze me. I accepted that fact that change is not only natural, but also it is the only way we get anywhere.
Three weeks ago, Nicole found a job at a fertility clinic in San Diego. They made an offer and she accepted. Four weeks from today, we leave New York. A few years ago, I would freeze from all the fearful reasons why I shouldn’t leave…not anymore. I still feel the fear of change, but it means something different now. I don’t know what the future will bring. Maybe I’m just seeing the world through rose-colored glasses, but what I do know is that nothing is permanent except change, and I can keep changing, and I will…