you can move trains if you want to

This past weekend, we got away from the farm (and my 9-5 reality) for five whole days, making trips to my hometown in Ohio and surprising Webb’s sister for her birthday in Chicago. It was an interesting mix from Slow Easy Chill to Get Up & Go, and we had a great time. Still, it feels pretty good to be back home now. And it’s even better now that the sun’s coming back!

IMG_2451The point of this post, however, is not what we did in that time off. It’s the feeling we brought back with us. Because it seems I found myself a little extra motivation. While away, I was experiencing all walks of life: hearing stories, quietly observing, participating in new things (like shuffleboard – apparently it’s cool now?), watching ‘Chef’s Table’ on Netflix (OMG Christina Tosi) and daydreaming about my own yellow statement wall somewhere in our cabin (or green, or blue, or blush…).

On the 8-hour drive home, I took all those pieces of inspiration and placed them on a spectrum with aspects of my own life. Needless to say, I found some room for improvement. But overwhelmed as I was, I was still incredibly inspired. I could clearly see what things I should be doing, and all I wanted to do was brainstorm and get to fixing them (though when, I have no idea). I have a very long To-Do list.

But sometimes changing your life in a big way is just a consequence of changing your life in a bunch of smaller ways. Right? You’ve gotta start somewhere. If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad…

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Now away from those gorgeous marble countertops & delicious iced coffee drinks and back to my story!

Upon discussing all these thoughts and ruminating on our trip, Webb and I found that we were able to sum up our feelings in one short statement that we’d divulged out of a story we heard from his sister whilst walking about the streets of Chi-Town on a Sunday morning.

A few weeks ago, Rachel was riding on the L train, as most Chicagoans do. A homeless man on board was screaming out the weather forecast for no particular reason. “75! 60! Partly Cloudy!” [beat] “70! 55! Rain!” In the background, a ‘hype man’ of some sort was standing behind him, intermittently saying things like, “This could be you”. And then, of course, “You can move trains if you want to”.

Now it’s pretty obvious what the hype man meant when he said those words: If this guy is bothering you, go ahead and get on another train. No one’s forcing you to stay. But the great part is that when Webb heard it, that little positive, optimism-charged part of his brain chose instead to hear those words as a metaphor: rather than getting lost in homelessness or a lack of motivation or mental illness (which understandably is not always under our control) realize that you can do anything you want with your life.

You’re not just stuck on one ride for your entire life.

You’re not limited to the things that people say you should/shouldn’t do.

You can move trains if you want to.

What had started as a moment of confusion from the punch line of that story….actually became something that we chose to cling to. Because all jokes aside, we found it was actually quite deep if you let it be:

You can move trains if you want to.

I never dreamed of sitting at a desk every day. In fact, I was adamantly against it. I knew that the drudgery would kill my spirit because I’d seen it happen before – and yet when the time came to pay my bills, I found myself ass-in-chair.

I came to Nashville originally wanting to be a songwriter, then decided to simply work in the music business, and now I can’t think of anything but being a writer – of novels, of essays, of memoir, of blog. Webb has had his dreams of successfully owning and running his own metal and paint auto shop, which he’ll accomplish because he has a lifetime of skills and an incomparable passion for hard work. He’s doing it. And his dad started with a dream of training and boarding horses, and now owns a large piece of land in Williamson County where he does just that. It’s hard work, but it’s what he wants. And that’s something worth living for.

Every podcast I listen to is about growing your own entrepreneurial business and chasing the things that make your heart beat. And how we can all do it IF we set our minds to it. The hardest part is deciding that you can. The trick is not getting distracted – or stuck. Which is a lot more difficult than it seems.

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Come to think of it, I hear a lot of talk about dreams and goals. The ups AND the downs. That’s the beauty of social media and girl power and millenialism. We all have passions, but it’s what we choose to do with them that matters.

Some of us have those wild thoughts that persist and govern us throughout a lifetime; others have learned to settle for something stable and safe; and some of us find ourselves sacrificing our own wants for the greater good of supporting someone else’s dreams. None of these options are wrong. But not all of these options are right for everyone, either.

So what am I going to do about it? How am I going to move my train?

Upon coming home from our long, long weekend, I sat down with a freshly-made bowl of Alfredo pasta and went to town on my felt letter board. I put that silly quote on it, so we can see it every day. It makes us laugh, it makes us smile – but when we really stop and think about the gravity of it – it makes us feel, too.

You can move trains if you want to.

Whether your dream is writing a novel, or falling in love, or quitting your day job, or moving to Chicago – just know that you can move that train. All you have to do is believe in it. I’m slowly ticking things off one-by-one, and while it doesn’t feel like a lot, I have to stay positive in knowing that I’m making some kind of difference – AND sticking to it.

One of those steps was investing in this blog. You might notice in the address bar that you have now entered aNecessaryRebrand.COM.

Yep. I bought it.

Because I take this thing seriously. I take my dreams seriously. I have to. And while I don’t know what Step #2 is just yet, I’ve got some ideas brewing. In the meantime, I’ll just keep on writing.

IN FACT, I’m writing in more than one place. Check out what I’ve got going on with Birdie. It’s a bi-weekly novel series that I’m adding to one chapter at a time…in real time. It’s a little experiment and passion project of mine that I’m super stoked about – so head on over there and feel free to sign up for notifications. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before.