Nothing in life plays out as you may anticipate, or plan. And especially for those of us who choose to draw our own path. This month our theme at Un.Inc is Stepping In. Stepping into your path, your voice. Listening to that nudge, or loud prompt in your gut that says “this way!”
I’ve been listening to that nudge since I was 21, and moved to Belfast on a gut feeling to work with teen girls. It was the first time I chose what felt aligned, purely. I was passionate about working with youth, I was given the opportunity to go for a year — there was no pay, but there was free housing. So I took it.
Of course, when I returned to the States more than a year later, the distance between me and my family and friends seemed vast. I had gone on a grand adventure, and they had stayed in what had been my normal life. It was no longer normal for me.
I began to belong nowhere. As Brené Brown says in Braving the Wilderness,
“True belonging doesn’t require that we change who we are; it requires that we be who we are.” — Brené Brown
Soon after I returned I found myself applying to design schools on the east coast, the city was calling me. I left 6 months later and moved to Boston. Everything I owned fit in my little black Saturn.
It may be easy to read this and say to yourself, “that’s nice, your twenties are for exploration.” And that would be true. Also… I don’t think we are ever too old to answer the next call to go deeper into alignment with who we are meant to be. In fact, I think we get better and better at embracing it. Even when it feels more like falling, than walking.
In a few weeks I’ll turn 40. As I write this I’m sitting in a makeshift tiny house on a plastic chair, looking out on our land. The rains last night brought huge leaks in the ceiling and walls. My bed is wet. The floor is wet.
I moved out to our 9 acres two weeks ago with my 10 year old daughter. I planned to purchase this tiny home shell from the owner and make it my home. But that is not where this story leads. It would seem that I am not meant to pour my energy into making this home. I’m not sure what’s next, logistically. All I know is that groundlessness is no longer a reason for me to leave the path I’m meant to be on.
We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe. But the truth is that we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is part of the adventure, and it’s also what makes us afraid. — Pema Chödrön, The Places That Scare You
There’s something magical about sitting here, knowing that nothing will move me from my belonging to myself and my own mission. Anything is possible. And I believe that even as I wonder aloud how to resolve this situation, unseen forces are coming to my aid.
This is who I am. And living this intent to create safe spaces for other change makers like myself is the most fulfilling thing I can imagine. As you step into your own next adventure, I’d encourage you to enjoy it a little. Let a smirk form on your face, after all — nobody else can live this life — only you.