Forgive my indulgence here. I've been doing a lot of reading...and reflective thinking lately.
These days I'm spending a lot of time thinking about what I want my life to look like. I'm at the crossroad. I'm ready for a change and I've been doing some exploring...trying to figure out my next steps. While my round the world trip may be a few years off, I'm making some changes now in anticipation of that event.
You see, when I turned 18, I had no roadmap. The main goal was to graduate from high school. After then, it's pretty safe to say...there were no other plans. No visions of college, or thoughts about a career. I was lost. Raised by two working middle-class parents...after graduation, I did what they did. I went to work.
Maybe I watched too much TV. Maybe I read too many books.
All I know is, I looked at my parents' life and decided...I want my life to be different.
Okay, the reality is....that's all I knew. I didn't know how it would be different...or that one day, I'd want to make a difference. I just knew that life had to be about more than getting up, going to work, and spending 50 weeks a year...planning a vacation that involved little more than visiting relatives.
Even when I was growing up...in my own rebellious way...I sought out everything that was new or different. I befriended the new kid from India...even though it wasn't until I was much older that I grasped where India was. My neighbor down the street was an African American artist who taught karate to all the kids in the neighborhood...for free. Deep in the heart of racist middle America...I had to lie when I went to his house.
I've always been intrigued by people and the things they are passionate about. Art, jazz, food, textiles, physics, photography, scuba diving, theater, dressage, business, philanthropy...you name it. I love learning about it.
I'm insanely curious...and always have one eye cast on the next adventure.
But every now and then, something trips me up.
The moment hits me so hard, it's worthy of a little gasp. La la la...and then WHAM! I stop dead in my tracks....and realize just how far I've come.
Such an event happened this week.
I'm working on a new project and several of us went out for lunch at a small Thai restaurant. I start blathering on about how well the food is prepared and noticed some nuances that were exceptional. The woman sitting next to me, picks at her food and says, "You know a lot about this, huh?" More blathering ensues and I mention that I took cooking classes in Thailand. Then WHAM! It turns out, this 50 year old woman had never eaten Thai food before. And even though Canada is just three hours north by car, she had never left the United States.
I keep thinking...what was so profound about that moment?
As I'm writing, I realize...that could have been me.
Hell, just a few short years ago...that was me.
Life is full of funny twists and turns. Who knew that when I followed my heart and moved to Seattle, that this would be my life? I still have to pinch myself sometimes!
In this oh-so-reflective mode, I keep trying to figure out...what exactly was the critical path that lead me here? Like anything, it's a series of events, each one leading to another.
At each major stepping stone, I doubted myself completely.
With each leap, more than a few people who loved me said in their own special way, "You'll never make it."
Leaving the naysayers behind, I crossed the chasm, leaping from rock to rock. For my next step, I could see the rock ahead and it never failed to be covered in moss. I'd hurl myself towards the rock. Occasionally, I would stumble and collapse. I'd cling there, with my chest against the cold rock, lost in the rhythm of breathing. There, with the damp moss against my face, I'd survey the landscape...and determine the best way to get back up.
And eventually...I'd figure out how to stand, again.
My new vantage point provided a fresh perspective.
Not long after I regained my balance...I'd spy another rock. My ex would say, "You just got here. Why are you making another leap so soon?"
I had no words.
But I readied myself for the next leap anyway.
People ask me how I gain access to noteworthy people and events. That's it. That's the big secret: I leap.
To the outside world, I may appear confident. I can assure you...looks are deceiving. I'm nervous as hell. Scared to death. And think, "What the hell am I doing here?"
But here's the key...I keep going.
My dad has this saying, "You can make any mess you want...as long as YOU clean it up." Before, that saying applied to making a mess in the kitchen. But as an adult, what it's come to mean to me is...whatever situation I get myself into, I have the power to fix it.
So I leap.
Maybe I get bloody. Maybe I get the wind knocked out of me. Maybe I don't know what I'm doing...but I know...I have the power to fix it.
The questions I keep asking myself are...what do you want your life to look like? What's the next step? And most importantly, what are you waiting for?