Consider me a “Yes (Wo)Man” of sorts. One year ago, my life was in utter disarray. I lost my dog and my house, and after couch-surfing for a few months, I finally got my awesome apartment off Peace Haven Road—only to get laid off two weeks after I moved in, most of my stuff still in boxes.
I was down and out with absolutely zero motivation or ounce of happiness, pretty much exactly like Jim Carrey in the 2008 film “Yes Man.” (Don’t worry; the sob story is almost over.)
But before losing my job, I took a weeklong work trip to NYC that I did not want to go on. Single female walking around an unfamiliar city AND having to work? I wasn’t feeling it. But little did I know that it would shake me from my happiness hibernation and forever change my perspective on life for the better.
What exactly did I do? It’s easy: I said yes, just like Jim Carrey.
I got another cat. (Sorry readers, I am a bit of a cat lady). I set up my apartment the way I wanted. I became a regular at a dive bar near my house, where I met some great people of all ages. I finished my master’s degree, and started a business.
Also throughout the year, I traveled to Clearwater, Florida, to meet a new friend, where I did all the touristy things and walked on the beautiful beaches there. I watched the Patriots (I’m sorry about that, too) lose the Super Bowl and sought comfort in my new friends.
I traveled to New Orleans, where I tried drum ceviche and had the best Hurricane ever at a little hovel near a fan boat attraction (way better than the ones off Bourbon Street).
And my most favorite adventure included a 15-state, two-week road trip on the back of a Harley-Davidson Road King with my boyfriend, sleeping on the ground every night and waking up at the crack of dawn to pound the pavement. I saw Mount Rushmore and some of the weirdest roadside attractions possible.
Slowly, I saw myself changing and growing. I suddenly found myself comfortable being alone and loving my newfound independence. I took safe risks that showed me who I was—the person I forgot about.
Thanks to my “experiment” of saying yes to more spontaneous adventures—the kind of adventures that take you to new places, push your boundaries and comfort levels, and introduce you to new cultures and ways of living—I fully realized how I’ve changed and just how much I was missing out.
And it’s because of this spontaneity that I ended up where I am now, the new editor of Winston-Salem Monthly. By working to eliminate the worry and fear of the unknown, and trying to live a life more indicative of “going with the flow,” I’ve been able to embrace more adventures—both professionally and personally, simply by leaning in and saying “yes.”
It was because of this very spark—the idea of positive change—that our WSM team decided to lovingly refer to this issue as the “Change Issue,” and in it, we highlight all of the positive changes our city has undergone, and will undergo in the future. We look at change-makers and the impact they’re having on the city. We also say goodbye to an old friend and welcome the changes associated with that.
I used to be afraid of change, and now I’ve learned to embrace it for what it is.
Have a safe, adventurous, and happy 2019.