Learning from Ayn Rand



The feelings of self-doubt used to haunt me with its evil tendrils digging into my brain. Self-doubt always leads to regret. My confidence would sink like a stone being thrown in a pond. The endless cycle of beating myself up when a decision didn’t work out as expected led to more depression and anxiety. This has gone on all my life and I’m sure I’m not alone in these feelings. I would always measure myself against someone else’s worth. I was told many times over that I make bad decisions. Yet, something happened to me over the last seven months of my work travel adventures. I found me. 

     There is a great part in “Anthem,” written by Ayn Rand, that I think on often. When the main character of the book, who has never had a name, discovers the meaning of “I” and is no longer a “we” does life truly begin. “I” am an independent thinker. That was one of the most profound a-ha moments I have ever had in my life. I started to think as an “I” and it was high time I started working on myself. I’m not able to give you the exact moment I realize that I had changed…it took time, effort, and even tears. This time something else happened within the cycle of doubt of regret. This time I didn’t reach rock bottom before clawing my way to the surface. This time I let myself experience the highs and lows, allowed myself to cry, let the depression in, and this time I changed my way of thinking. 

     When I started out on my new life adventure of traveling in an airstream to work as an MRI Travel Technologist, I did it to see the world. I put aside the anxiety that held me back for so long and told myself that I would love this lifestyle. I ended up in some great places. I got to visit Washington, D.C. once again and fell in love with the sultry city of Savannah, GA. The historic district is beautiful and its people so hospitable and generous. However, as each week passed and the long hours wore me down, I knew in my heart that traveling was not for me. I kept telling myself to give it a chance. I would certainly find the excitement that other travelers talk about experiencing. The weeks led to months and I became increasingly more depressed. All I did was work. When I had time off I was too tired to go out and do anything fun. In seven months, I never took an additional day off or was allowed a sick day. I was finding the lifestyle to be very lonely. Self-doubt was about to set in. Regret was creeping in from around the corner. I was once again questioning my decisions. I had invested so much into this venture. I was so worried about not being successful that I didn’t talk to anyone about my struggles.

     As I said in the beginning, I don’t know the exact moment when my thinking changed, but it has in a larger-than-life way. By the time I got to my second assignment and grew into my new role, I was becoming myself. I shared my opinions, shared my knowledge, and learned to depend on myself as I was working alone on third shift. I realized that I was no longer afraid. How could I possibly regret going outside of my comfort zone when it let me grow as a person. There was nothing to regret. This was a huge win! I wasn’t brave enough just a few years ago and I went ALL in. Plus, I learned that tiny living is a great way to go. “I” is a new way of living and it has freed my mind and even my heart. There has always been a hurdle to overcome. An obstacle to jump over. Now I say bring it on. I can jump just as high and be as strong as I want to be from now on. 

     I took charge of my life and feel confidant knowing I did the right thing by reaching out to find a job back in Ohio. There was nothing open in my old hometown, but I landed a job at a large hospital in Columbus. My trailer will still be my home and I will have to learn about weather proofing my living space to make sure pipes don’t freeze and using propane for the first time. I’m moving on from one adventure and diving into another one. Only this time I’m sure of myself, I can shove the old fear down, and know that I am worthy of any decisions I make from now on.