As she talked I was amazed at how similar it all sounded to me when I was getting ready to go. People commented on how brave I was (although I didn't feel it.) or they would play the nay-sayer, projecting their own fear of adventure onto me to downplay any sense of dissatisfaction they had for not taking a similar risk in their own lives.
Of course there is also the FOMO Factor. FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out. As she's getting ready to leave a lot of turmoil is happening in my friend's family and she knows she could put her plans on hold in order to be there for them. When my date to fly was approaching I got the news that my Aunt was pregnant and I remember thinking I couldn't possibly go to London now - I'd miss out on watching my cousin in the first few months of his life!
As we talked about the inevitable FOMO that you can expect to experience when you leave behind friends and family for your own adventures, I felt a sense of growing realisation.
I have long been an advocate and believer in doing what you love, doing it well, and letting money or whatever you define as 'success' follow. I believe it, but it wasn't until I was sitting there across from someone who, when I first met them I would never have believed would take the initiative to fly halfway around the world, that I really accepted what this meant.
We can plan and prepare or follow guidelines or rules or 'schemes' until we're blue in the face, but eventually something is going to give. Something is going to mean we have to take the plunge and just do all those things we're always saying we would do if we had the time or money or training.
As of right now I am self employed. I have been saying I've wanted it for so long and always thinking there was something I had to do to get there. All I ever had to do was stop working for other people and know that I can rely on myself to make my own income. I'm a talented, creative and imaginative person. I have skills that I can market and a passion for developing more.
I could wait until I have enough money saved or the right business plan written or a big contract lined up, but it's too easy to fall into a trap of not knowing what is 'enough', what is 'right' or what is 'big'.
FOMO is just one of those things that we can use to justify holding ourselves back. Ultimately, though, it's your life. Basing your life on what other people hope or want for you, and especially what they expect from you, isn't going to help you realise your own dreams.
In short, all the excuses in the world aren't going to stop me from living my dream right now. I'm no longer going to say I'm 'setting myself up' to be self employed or that I'm 'working towards it'. When people ask me what I do I can tell them:
I'm a Creative Specialist. I do graphic design and I'm publishing a book this year. I'm self employed and yes, I'd love to do some work for you. What did you have in mind?