As I write this, I am somewhere I shouldn’t be (at a Starbucks instead of at work), eating what I shouldn’t (a pain au chocolat and a Signature Hot Chocolate instead of green tea and no carbs), thinking of something I shouldn’t be thinking of (everything else except for my urgent deadlines). I am at my favorite spot by the bay, but my mind is far, far away.
Something happened very recently that rocked my world. While I cannot yet disclose details of the actual event, it was enough to leave me (happily) dumbfounded and disoriented. I literally saw parts of my life flash before my eyes, and I found myself asking a million questions at a time.
What do I do now? Who do I talk to about this? What are people going to say? What is my FAMILY going to say? Will people support the decisions I make? How do I handle this? How will I know what’s right for me? On what should I base my decisions? What should I consider? What signs should I ask from the Universe?
Most importantly: What do I really, really, REALLY want? Where do I REALLY see myself going? What will make me HAPPY?
It’s a question I periodically ask myself, and I usually create mind maps (like the ones below) to help me think things through. My dear brother, however, cautioned me against overthinking things.
“I read a Harvard study that said that people might be over thinking [certain] decisions too much,” he said over the phone. “Sometimes it’s best to go with your gut.” My brother + Harvard = the best kind of advice for me.
So this morning, after a bit of bayside sun and wind, I decided to let serendipity take me where it should.
One of the first things that caught my eye online was this piece by my dear friend and writing sister, Ana Santos, about 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai and how she was “shot in the head for going to school.”
While Ana’s piece was dedicated to her daughter, “R”, I felt the piece reach out to me, grab me by and hand, and say:
See–isn’t THIS why you wanted to write? Haven’t you always wanted to write about things that MATTER?
Haven’t you been missing YOUR VOICE? Haven’t you been waiting for THAT BEST PIECE OF WORK that will define you and what you believe in?
And I found myself crying–not just teary-eyed, but crying, in a Starbucks of all places–because I care for girls like Malala and girls like R, and I feel like I need to start using my voice (again) for things that truly rock my world and make my head (happily) spin. I cried mainly out of guilt–because I know that I’ve been given a tremendous gift and I haven’t yet used it to its fullest. Instead, I’ve allowed it to go stale and I’ve given a million and one excuses for why that is acceptable.
I reminded myself that I am no longer a 23-year-old at the cusp of her becoming, but a 32-(going on 33) year-old who should already have found her place in the sun and should be happily making that sweet spot her own. At 32 (going on 33), it should no longer be acceptable for me to continue wasting my God-given gifts. At 32 (going on 33), I should no longer feel like a little girl lost and drifting alone at sea.
But where do I start? And in which direction should I head toward? Every ship needs an anchor and a clear destination–what is MY anchor and where am I truly headed?
I don’t think I’ll be able to answer the questions just yet–though I know that a resolution is within reach. Like the ships of old, I’m going to use the stars and the elements to guide me, and I fervently pray that my intuition and the voices around me won’t lead my ship astray.