I swore I would never get another tattoo.
The irony of this promise crossed my mind on my 25th birthday as tattoo artist, Jonathan, inked a mountain range onto the inner part of my left foot. As I watched him wipe tiny beads of blood across my flesh, my heart pounded in an overly rhythmic pulse, sort of like it did when I was seven and OD’ed on Baby Bottle Pops. My anxiety came from a place of trepidation: Fear of committing to a tattoo, fear of turning 25, and fear of leaving Los Angeles.
Yep, after a year and a half of calling California home, I would be taking a three-month break to tour with children’s theatre. And when I said yes to the job five months ago, leaving Los Angeles seemed like a treat. It’s not so much that I don’t like LA.; I actually sometimes love it. What I don’t love is staying in one place for too long.
That being said, leaving Los Angeles felt a bit like leaving a party. I was getting major FOMO, and doubting my commitment to this road theatre adventure. But excitement, and a contractual obligation, prevailed. I started the journey last week, just a few days after my 25th birthday, where I packed up a solitary suitcase and hopped on a plane to Minneapolis in order to start rehearsals. After the first week, my tour partner and I would hit the road, performing in Elementary schools throughout Ohio and Kentucky. It’s a good thing I like bluegrass.
But let’s talk Minneapolis, as this was the first slice of this commitment. Our afternoons consisted of rehearsals, “life on the road” meetings, and learning how to budget gas as we trekked from one town to the other. I sat in the conference room, taking notes, and wondered about Los Angeles. After some mindful thinking, I was able to catch myself, and realize that I was playing the “what if” game. “What if” I had stayed there? What if I had done ______ instead? But that was not my reality. My reality was the moment at hand; sitting in this exciting new space and taking on a new job. It was time to stop ruminating and start committing.
Once I started saying yes to the rest of the week, beautiful things began to happen. I was in burger restaurants with old friends, drinking a beer from the Surly brewery with mittened hands. I was wandering through a corn maze, eating my first cheese curds, and using the word “pop” instead of soda. The Midwest was wrapping me up in a big flannel blanket and it felt gooooood.
Minneapolis is pretty swell. There are trendy coffee shops, $2 beers, and a heaping handful of polite strangers. The “friendly Midwesterner” stereotype is alive and kickin’; almost every time I stepped into the elevator I began conversing with my fellow rider. And then there’s the Juicy Lucy, something that will simultaneously widen your waistline and have you banging your fist on the table, asking whatever deity why it’s taken so long for something so perfect to stumble into your life.
But the best thing about this new job has been addressing this Dementor-esque thing known as “commitment.” Risks, such as a leaving your friends to pursue a passion, aren’t necessarily worth it if you don’t go all in. Our fear of committing to things often stems from a deeper, more secret fear. Maybe we don’t want to fail, disappoint our friends. Maybe the unknown really freaks us out. And like many fears, the best way to overcome this bad boy is to go all in.
After writing this blog post, I look back down at my tattoo. There was no part of me that was 100 percent sure I wanted it, just like part of me wasn’t 100 percent sure I wanted to leave L.A. That’s okay; sometimes 70 percent is enough. Risks can be exciting rather than scary, and committing to a new idea means committing to a highway of fresh adventures.
Photo by Ali Kaukas
Amanda Kohr is a 25-year-old writer and photographer with a penchant for yoga, food, and travel. She prefers to bathe in the moonlight rather than the sun, and enjoys living in a state of the three C’s: cozy, creative, and curious. When she’s not writing, you can find her driving her VW Bug, looking for the next roadside attraction or family diner. She also roams the internet via her blog at cozycaravan.com.