“You will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did.”
Flashback to January of 2005. I was 21. My mom and dad traveled with me out to California to get me settled in for my internship. I had never been to Los Angeles and knew no one. After a few days in LA, my parents left. I remember breaking down as I sat in my apartment, immediately regretting my decision.
Like other Ohio University alum, the simple thought of my memories in Athens, Ohio still make my heart smile. Once that chapter of my life ended in June 2005 and it was time to move on, I packed up my small town roots and moved to Chicago. A new big city, with no familiar faces.
Almost 10 years ago, to the day, in August of 2007, I stood at O’Hare airport in Chicago, tears streaming down my face. My parents stayed with me as long as they could, before the security line left me standing “alone”. I vividly remember a guy in line asking me if I was going to be okay. Apparently others had noticed my tears.
Months prior to this, my company asked me to relocate to Hong Kong. Truth be told, I wasn’t even sure where Hong Kong was on the map. I was 23 and just becoming comfortable in Chicago. I wasn’t going to go. I was scared. Actually terrified. I had been to Europe, but Asia felt like another world.
“Kelli, Chicago isn’t going anywhere. If you move to Cincinnati and don’t like it, you can always go back to Chicago.” Such simple, but wise words from my mom as I made a move to another new city in June 2011. More tears, more feeling alone, as I left all my friends in Chicago, during the summer, which only made it worse.
My internship in LA with The Ellen Degeneres Show in 2005 was one of the most memorable times of my life. To this day, I still talk about the people I met and experiences I had.
The months I spent in Hong Kong ended up being life changing. While on my way to the airport for my flight back home, the tears returned. This time they were thankful, happy tears for the experience.
Chicago. I can never say enough wonderful thing about you. I met incredible people, made life long friends and have memories to last a lifetime. My almost 6 years in the “Windy City” will forever hold a special place in my heart.
The “Queen City”. You brought me closer to my family and have been so good to me. You’ve seen me through some of the hardest moments of my life. You have introduced me to forever friends. Thank you, Cincinnati, for the love you’ve brought to my life.
Every one of these life milestones started with fear of the uncertain (and likely, tears) and turned into incredible, unforgettable memories. I could have walked away from all of them. Stayed comfortable and “safe”. But my heart wouldn’t let me. Though my brain may have been screaming, “No! What the hell are you doing?!”, my heart screamed louder, “Take a chance.”
These moments or opportunities, present themselves to us many times in our lives. And not just on grand scale, but also in smaller every day moments. Don’t be scared of the unknown. Take a chance. The only thing scarier than change is being comfortable with comfortable.
You never know when the best moment of your life is one chance away.