Jordan-McDonald.com

January 1st, 2012

Jordan McDonald

Moving Away From Home

May 15th, 2013

This post was written on January 22, 2011 before I had truly committed to moving out to Vegas but was finally ready to start making real moves to do so.  This is me ramping myself up to move away from home; this is me facing the fact that it was time to go.

In order to do so I had to acknowledge some uncomfortable truths about myself.  I, like so many others, was looking for some sort of guarantee that I was making the right choice.  I had spent too much time dreaming & not any time actually acting.  Acting was the scary part.  Dreaming was safe, acting was life-changing.

I hope this post & the ones following can help others who find themselves in similar places in their lives.


“And the day came that the risk it took to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  –Anais Nin

I’m so close to making the biggest effort for change in my life, ever.  I’m about to leave my full time job, the home that I grew up in, & all that I’ve known for the entirety of my life to go to Vegas & pursue my MMA career.  I’ve never moved away from my hometown.  I moved out of my mother’s house at a young age but I came back numerous times & I never moved more than a few miles away.  I’ve always had big aspirations for change, for moving away from home.  In high school when everyone was making their plans to go to USC or Charleston colleges (both less than 3 hours away) I scoffed at their lack of vision while I poured over Dartmouth & schools in Hawaii’s booklets.  I never went to either of those places…  I ended up going to the local university, a paltry 40 minutes from the home that I’d lived in on & off since I was 6 years old.

After college I had grand plans to move to California, because I surfed & they had better waves there.  I made it out there for several trips, even drug my father & sisters thru California visiting law schools that I’d been accepted to but when it came time to make the big move I always found reasons not to go.  Even after one of my best friends moved out to San Diego & I went thru the trouble of driving with her across the country, I still couldn’t find the courage to get my ass out of the Grand Strand for more than a few weeks.  If you’d have asked me why I’d probably have told you it was a mixture of inconvenient timing, boyfriends, & a lack of funds but really, all those things were just excuses.  Excuses to cover up the real reason why I’d never moved away from home.

I was scared.

And I’m still scared.

I’ve just finally got sick enough of putting it off.  Sick of sleepwalking thru life, doing too few things that take me very far outside of my comfort zone.  The sickness has surpassed the fright.  I’m finally sick enough to change.  I know that to be something great you have to make great sacrifices – you have to make big moves.  I’ve always known it, hence my desire to do so.  But the fear of change, of failure, & my insecurity paralyzed me.

I’m leaving a strong support system.  I’m leaving my mother & she alone helps me enormously, just seeing her makes me feel more calm & at ease.  I also have my sister Jacqui, my close friends, my MMA families at Fitness Edge MMA & Wrightsville Beach, NC…  & then there’s the fact that I have this horrible feeling that my father’s health will take a drastic turn for the worse as soon as I leave…  But the truth is, I can no longer use these things as an excuse.  In all actuality I stay really busy with training & work so I don’t really spend a whole lot of time with friends.  The same goes for my sister Jacqui.  If I was to be completely honest I’d have to say that my MMA “family” at Fitness Edge only truly consists of 2-3 people for reasons that would take too long to explain & I don’t even live in Wrightsville Beach.  My father’s health is, in all truth, not at all connected to where I am in this world & to not leave just because I’m waiting on something bad to happen…  Well, that’s just stupid.

It’s just TIME.  It’s actually probably a bit past time but for all intensive purposes… It’s just TIME.

I think one of the harder things will be moving to an area where I will be a virtual unknown.  Since I’ve lived here in the Grand Strand my whole life – I rarely walk into a place & not know at least a few people inside.  There is some unconscious comfort that comes from never going too long without seeing a familiar face.  I really hope it doesn’t take me another 20 something years to get where I am here – there.

Everyone I’ve talked to tells me it’s going to be worth it & some of them literally squeal with delight; “Oh you’re going to have so much FUN!  It’s going to be such an adventure!”  I’m having a real hard time mimicking their energy now that the departure date is looming so close tho.  I can’t seem to get excited because honestly, I’m still scared.

I remember talking to my Uncle Brian once about going to law school.  I’d been accepted, I just needed to commit but I was balking.  I wasn’t positive that it was the right choice & I was letting that indecision paralyze me.  I told him I hadn’t committed to law school because it didn’t feel right making such an important decision when I was so unsure.  I thought that there should be some sort of sign when you began tromping off in the right direction, you should feel really good about it, someone should yell “getting warmer!”, a nonexistent crowd should start clapping, a halo & stardust should float over the path you should take & black clouds & oppressive shapes should crowd the wrong one…  Or, at the very least, the thought of moving in one direction shouldn’t bring on stress induced heart palpitations…  Right?  Either way I always thought I should at least have a little more of a feeling of confirmation inside that this was indeed, the correct choice for me.

My uncle Brian said no.  There is no crowd watching, offering advice, not necessarily any signs – sometimes you just had to go for it.  Sometimes your only mode of transportation to your future is a leap of faith.  He said most successful people at some point in their lives chose a path without any confirmation, without any assuredness, all the while scared out of their minds.  There is never a guarantee that you are making the right choice.  Not only was it not wrong to move forward without being sure…  There really was no other way to expect it to look or feel.

So, long story short, all these mini break downs I’ve been having, all these intermittent panic attacks I’m experiencing, all this doubt & reluctance & fear is not a sign that something is wrong with me or with my plans…  It’s just the feeling one gets right before they shake things up a bit.  Right before they take the adventure of a life time.  Hopefully, right before they finally find their true path.

One thing’s for certain.

There’s only one way to find out.

Pressing the button…

May 14th, 2013

The moment of no return...

This was written on March 8, 2011.  At the time of this post I was jobless & dealing with the fact that I was in fact, most likely going to go thru with the move to Vegas.    I knew I had to face the music.  Either do it, & do it now or admit to myself that living outside of my comfort zone was just too intimidating.  Admit to myself that I really was just a sleepwalker, never truly destined for bigger things outside of Myrtle Beach, SC like I’d always imagined…

I’d quit my job which was tough but I could deal with it in the comforts of my home.  I’d informed my friends but I knew they wouldn’t judge me (too harshly) if I didn’t go thru with it.  But, for whatever reason, I made the purchase of a flight for my sister to come meet me for the cross country drive THE turning point in my mind & I knew there was no going back after/if I purchased it.

I love this post because it captures that very moment when I committed- truly committed & knew I would not be turning back.  This is the moment I fully conceded to everything changing from the way it always was.  Every time I read this I am transported back into the body of that fearful girl that fateful night when I FINALLY faced down those demons of fear & committed to this path towards my future.  The following is what was going thru my head as I sat at my dinner table in front of my computer that night.  Enjoy.

 

I’ve been sitting here staring at the screen for way too long now.  I know exactly what I’m doing.  I’m talking myself out of it.  I just spent hours comparing flights & train prices & schedules & mapping out dates for my sister to come down from Portland & ride with me across the Motha F-ing country.  I’ve wasted as much time as possible “making plans” & now it’s time for “action”.  I know that once I click on this button tho, there is no turning back.  Or if I do turn back it’s going to cost me some serious $$ & I ain’t got no job!!  So, it basically sets everything into motion & then I have a DEADLINE that I can’t keep pushing back.  I have always gotten to this part & talked myself out of it.  It’s so easy to do damnit.  I act like I’m just being “logical” when really, all I’m really doing is being “scared”.  I’m sitting here & the flight is picked out, the schedules are meshing, the prices are within my range.  Now I’m just sitting here staring at the big ominous CONFIRM button on the screen & my hand is frozen still.

WHO AM I KIDDING!?  I’m asking myself; what chance in hell do I really think I have at becoming a successful MMA fighter.  Everyone, including me, knows that success is such a pipe dream at this point.  Why am I leaving a great job, a secure existence in my home town, surrounded by people I know so well?  During the worst state of economy since I became a “bill-payer” no less.  So I can go spend all the money I saved on moving out to Vegas & training for a few months without the constraints of a full time job.  & then what?  I can’t possibly think I’m going to make it out there.  Gina Carano is the only female MMA fighter that was able to successfully make some $$ in MMA & then parlay it into something else & the fans seem pretty pissed at her for doing so.  Why do I think I have a chance in hell at replicating or doing any better?  If success is so unlikely why am I risking so much?  (See what I’m doing here?)

Maybe I just need to stop trying to obtain success.  Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself.  Maybe I’m missing the whole point.  Maybe, all I really need is to try.  Maybe that’s the most important part of life anyway.  Trying is obviously the 1st step but it seemed fruitless to try without success as the likely end result.  Maybe focusing on achieving success has paralyzed me.  It is so hard to know that will happen.  Statistically, failure is much more likely.  Perhaps if success is no longer my goal, my hand will unfreeze & actually click the confirm button…

Fine.  Why don’t I focus on just doing it then, just let doing it be the goal because really, it is.  When you’ve been paralyzed your whole life, just trying is the goal.  I just need to leave my home of almost 30 years & drive across the country & train MMA & do whatever it takes to give myself the chance to succeed OR fail on a big stage.  Really tho, maybe I need to put the dream of success on the back burner & just focus on going for it.  Success is not the desired end result for me today, tomorrow or a month from now.  As of right now, just having the courage to go for it is.  Once I go for it & get out there maybe then I can readjust my sights but for now, instead of success I will focus on just doing it.  Even with failure as the most probable outcome because even if I am most likely to fail- I am at an even greater risk of failure if I don’t ever get out there to try.  If I’m so obsessed with avoiding failure then really, moving forward with this is the best option.  If I do fail, it’s not game over.  Never moving forward would be game over.  Game over before I’d even begun.

To be completely honest, at the moment I don’t really care about success or failure.  I’m still just working up the courage to press the confirmation button for this flight, let alone for the balls to fight & win a Championship Title fight.  What the hell, you only live once right?  I’ve already waited too long.

So here I come failure, you & your sweet sister success better watch out.

(presses CONFIRM button)

 

My Story…

March 15th, 2013

Preparing to drive myself & all my belongings across the country.

In 2011 I left my developing, challenging, & financially sound career and threw away every acceptance letter from each Law School that I’d approached.  I left the only home I’d ever known, a serious relationship, friends, a loving family and my beloved dogs…  Why?  I wanted to become a successful MMA fighter.  I gave up my rewarding work at an environmental non-profit.  I set aside a potential modeling career.  I knew I was much less likely to achieve “traditional” success fighting than I would as an attorney but I had to be me.  I wanted to win belts, titles and accolades in what many consider to be the most brutal sport in the world.

So now here I am in Las Vegas, the MMA capital, nearly broke, just scraping by.  Am I successful by any conventional measure?  Absolutely not.  I lost my first two fights after moving to Vegas & I live hand to mouth.  So was following my dream a good idea?  You tell me.  I wake with a smile on my face much more often now compared to before I left home.  I live outside of my comfort zone and therefore have never been more aware of the fact that I am alive.  I have emails and messages from fans who follow my journey; not because of my success, but because of my will to try.  When I take in all of these things the answer I come to is yes, absolutely yes.  Just a few years into the dream and I‘m still on fire.

It’s hard not following a life track most of us are taught is acceptable; going against the grain of an easier, safer and more secure lifestyle.  The training is exhausting, both mentally and physically.  The anxiety of not having any money is debilitating at times & seeing the looks of skepticism upon telling people my profession can get old.  I watch people with more conventional success buy clothes, nice cars, go out to eat at restaurants and have drinks any time they wish.  At times I wonder why I am doing this when I know I am capable of achieving that same type of monetary success and of living that same carefree lifestyle.  Just what is it that drives me to live the way I do and is it logical and correct?  I don’t always feel I know that answer, yet I’m forging forward regardless.  If I’ve learned one thing through all of this it is that you don’t always have to know the answer in order to move forward.

I’ve had many idols in my life.  They are all successful, at the top of their game & I’ve seen their smiles on TV, in magazines, newspapers and on the internet.  I now know what frustration, pain and sacrifice most (all) of them have endured to get there.  I will continue to go forward, not only for myself but also for those who have had doubts, fears, setbacks, & for those that lost the dream.  Maybe my story will reignite some of those dreams, continue to fuel the fire of those in pursuit or possibly set in motion those waiting on a sign to follow their heart.

Many ask what do you want your life to speak of to others; what is it you stand for?  I would love if my life spoke of the following:  Follow your dreams; even if it takes you down a road less travelled, even if most tell you it’s the wrong choice, even if you cannot find any logical reasoning for it beyond it is what you want to do.  Stop sleepwalking and take chances…  Live your life regardless.  It’s the only one you’ve got.

 

About

July 3rd, 2011

Jordan Mcdonald

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