Why Not Get Everything You Ever Wanted?

Why not?


It’s a simple enough question, right?

Like... why not go skydiving?

Why not start exercising? (You’ve been saying you would for the last five New Years.)

Why not take up that one hobby you keep saying you really want to try, but you always find a reason not to?

Why not?

I asked myself that question about three months ago when I was presented with the job offer I had been waiting for (almost) my entire life.

In New York City.

The city I had wanted to live in since I first set foot in it when I was fifteen years old.

It seems simple enough to answer. It was bouncing-off-the-walls exciting. It was huge. It was what I had been asking the universe to give me.

My answer was so, sooo obvious, right?

Well, here’s the thing I soon realized: BIG dreams mean BIG decisions. It was scary, new, exciting, challenging, make-me-want-to-cry-for-joy and make-me-want-to-cry-‘cause-I-was-a-little-scared. I was moving away from my beloved family. I would be spending six months away from my fiancé, Dan, while we both pursued our separate dreams. (But February was just around the corner, right?) I was leaving the city in which I had spent my childhood and many of my adult years. (Pittsburgh, I still love you.)

It was gi-normous. And there were so many reasons I could have given myself, so many excuses I could have tried, that would have made me feel safer. Less anxious. More at home.

But I knew deep down in my gut that this was something I could not pass up. It truly was the opportunity of a lifetime—my opportunity. Not only would my bank account hate me (hello, paying job), but some day I would end up being an old lady with a load of regret.

So, I said, “Why not?” Why not move to the city of your dreams? Why not tackle the job you always wanted? Why not be on your own? Why not leave your loved ones when they know you love them no matter where you are? I could not find a good answer.

And so, I did it.

And, yes, I still sometimes feel those moments of, “But what about…?”

Sometimes, I am walking down the street and I see a child’s face that looks ohsoclose to one of my younger brother’s and I think, “Oh, my God. I have a brother. He’s not here. I miss him. Ouch. This hurts so much.”

Sometimes, I see a couple holding hands and I feel a shot of pain dive straight through my heart.

Sometimes, I cry.

But every time I set foot in my building. Every time I sit at the desk I have longed for all of this time... Every time I walk a little taller because I am doing this on my own, all by myself...

I remember: This is why.

I want to know: What's your "why not?"


**I wrote this article after reading SELF magazine’s feature, A Week of “Why nots?”, written by actress Becki Newton. Check it out here.


Caroline Shannon has been a professional journalist for six years, working for several publications, including Redbook magazine, Ideal Bite, Entrepreneur.com, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and First30Days. She is a certified Pilates instructor and takes a long, hard run just as seriously as she does several scoops of Purely Decadent's Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl vegan ice cream. She can be reached at www.carolineshannon.com.

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