Go Your Own Way (Responsibly)
Those of you who have been reading my latest blogs might have noticed that I’m a bit preoccupied with the mythical beast that is the human female. Time for a change of subject. Lately, I have realized how much time I have wasted in life as a result of where my mind has been.
After I graduated college, I put myself on the fast-track to making sense of everything. That included politics and the power structure underlying our social malaise. If you have read my book, Robert and the Erupting Brain, you will see that I was a kid who severely lacked patience and healthy coping mechanisms.
In my defense, I felt like I had missed out on something. College, according to greater society, was supposed to be a rite of passage for me, but it wasn’t. Therefore, when I was thrown out into the real world with expectations of running a 40-year marathon toward retirement, I didn’t see much potential for becoming a true adult. (Funny thing about that is that you will run into plenty of people in corporate America who are stunted at a pretty miserable level of existence because, in my opinion, they never got a chance to find themselves.)
So what does it mean to find oneself? Everyone’s path is different, but I think one realization remains the same: you will become comfortable enough with who you are to trust in life. When you truly trust in life, you have the patience to let life unfold as it will, and you know that you will learn the lessons you need to learn when your experiences hand them to you. But there’s a catch: if you’re anxious and have a burning hunger for those experiences to happen as soon as possible, you need to be active in responsibly bringing challenges your way. As there is a season for everything, there will be a season to sprint like mad and a season to settle into your marathon. Let’s look at a snapshot of my life to support that claim.
· Number of jobs (defined as paying income tax) since age 20: thirteen
· Number of cities lived in since age 20: ten
· General feeling from age 20 to age 30: nomadic, unsettled, on-the-run
· General feeling now coming over me at age 31: comfortable, where I belong, ready to settle down, unhurried
So how did the shift occur? The answer is probably far more complex than I am capable of understanding, but from the point-of-view of the sheer number of my experiences, I would have to say that I have understood very deeply the futility of searching, yet the irony is that I know that I would not have reached my current level of inner peace had I not gone through those experiences.
If you’re looking for any life wisdom from me, the best answer to all this I can give you is: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. (Highly recommended read.) I won’t give anything away except to say that The Alchemist is a powerful story about how sometimes you have to go on a long and difficult journey only to one day discover that what you were looking for was back where you started, right under your nose all along. Now that I’m back home in North Texas, I see my old stomping ground with fresh eyes. Without my journey to expose me to different jobs, people, and environments, I might never have enjoyed the deep satisfaction of coming home again. I am no longer a child who is too good for home and needs to run away. I am an adult who realizes that this place made me who I am, and it is as vital to me as the bright moon is to the coyotes I hear calling from the fields.
While I regret how much “time I’ve wasted” as a result of being young and impulsive, how much time would I have wasted in life had I not listened to the voice that was telling me to run as life was putting shackles on my feet? Maybe, just maybe, my sprint had to happen so that my subsequent marathon would have clarity and gravity. Maybe if I had just accepted the status quo and tried to find the silver lining in my drab cubicle while marching soullessly toward retirement, I would have wasted far more of life trying to find my place in the world and wondering what would have been if I had simply stepped off the treadmill and let myself get lost in the woods.
Go with your gut, and it is my belief that the universe will lead you to the right place.
Good luck and God bless.