I watched a lot of “Wheel of Fortune” in my formative years, and there’s one particular scenario I want to talk you through:
After six minutes of uninterrupted game-play, there are only one or two open letters on the board. The audience, hosts, viewers at home, and contestants all know what the puzzle is, and everyone is itching to solve it. The active contestant already has, let’s say, $12,000, and he or she decides to spin again. My mom would always say, “Greedy, greedy, greedy!” before raising her hands in an adorable “See? I told you so!” gesture when the person lost it all.
While most people, myself included, can appreciate the wordsmithing challenge, the genuine reactions of someone winning a BRAND! NEW! CAR!, and never-aging Pat Sajak and Vanna White, lately I’ve been asking myself if I’m that contestant with a prize in hand who is being too greedy and about to jeopardize it.
Wheel of Fortune Fun Fact: In the late 80s, after I left the daytime network show, ratings were dropping [humble brag], and dollar amounts on the wheel were getting so low that people couldn’t afford vowels, so cost to buy one was actually lowered to $200 and then to $150.
— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) February 26, 2019
You see, I have a challenging job, fantastic friends, a great apartment, a loving family, a comfortable lifestyle, and so many other things in New York that I am ridiculously grateful for and privileged to have. But I still want change. A big change. One that, essentially, is sending myself and my family across the country with no home, income, or health insurance (temporarily, just need to be melodramatic about it here) because my husband and I want a change.
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My friend Ben, along with his wife and daughter, are somewhat experts in change. They tend to move to various places around the world every year or so. They’ve lived in Jordan, Vietnam, and the Dominican Republic (and less exotic places such as Ohio, where we met/he’s originally from). Recently I was emailing back and forth with him about constantly changing their scenery, getting new jobs, and living a freer lifestyle than most Americans consider the norm.
He’s the first to admit that it’s not easy. In fact, it can be difficult as hell to leave people who you love, along with the comfort of familiarity, but they press on, raising their daughter as a bilingual toddler expat. In his writing, Ben recounted the time they were particularly emotional about leaving a place that they’d made home and they legitimately agonized over the decision. Through tears, his wife Christine admitted that it was the right thing to do — because change “expands us” as humans.
And I absolutely love that way of thinking.
I’ve spent seven years mastering public transit, crying over how ungodly expensive the cost of living is, rolling my eyes at oblivious tourists, discovering delicious hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and climbing the corporate ladder, and it has been grueling in the most rewarding way possible. For every New York minute I’m sad to leave it, I’ve got at least six hours of excitement to counterbalance the clock.
As of July 1, my family and I will be residents of Seattle, Washington, and in the coming months I’ll spend my days writing my second book and focusing on other creative projects before starting the search for my next full-time job in the fall — where I hope to make as much of an impact and learn from as many amazing, hard-working people as I have here.
Speaking of the best humans, Nicole Lance (of Lance Strategies) is a superwoman who I met by chance at a retreat in Arizona. (I’ve told this story before because not only is it worth repeating for the pure wisdom, but I carry this memory with me so close to my heart that I love to share it.) In 2018 on a sunny spring day, we were sitting around the lunch table, and I was inhaling my third dessert while telling a group of strangers about how I was nervous as hell to publish my first book. She patiently listened to me harp on, and in the loveliest moment of nonchalant clarity, she said, “The fear is greater than the fallout.”
I repeat that line every time I get a little (or a lot) frightened, and I’m saying/writing it now to you.
Don’t be afraid to chase after what you want — as small or big as it might be — because if you want to lose or gain 15 pounds, go on a solo trip, take salsa dancing classes, whatever the hell is a secret, greedy desire buried in your mind, just remember that you’re allowed to spin the wheel. In fact, it’s probably worth the risk. (Unless you’ve got thousands of dollars to your name and you’re trying to squeeze an extra $250 when the puzzle’s already solved. Then just please take the damn prize money and go home.)