Which direction from here?

Lost at sea
Lost at sea (image by Paul Fleet)

I started reading “The Girl On The Train” by Paula Hawkins and was struck by how much this passage resonated with me:

“All those plans I had – photography courses and cookery classes – when it comes down to it, they feel a bit pointless, as if I’m playing at real life instead of actually living it. I need to find something that I must do, something undeniable. I can’t just be a wife. I don’t understand how anyone does it – there is literally nothing to do but wait. Wait for a man to come home and love you. Either that or look around for something to distract you.”

Now, replace the word “wife” with “cubicle worker”, and instead of the waiting for the man to come home, it’s waiting for something significant, utterly bored to tears in the meantime, and constantly trying to find things to distract your mind. The words smacked me hard. I recently discussed with a dear friend that even though I decided to let go of making strict goals for myself and let go of trying to become a full-time artist/entrepreneur, it’s been both liberating and scary. It’s feels good to not have any huge goals or expectations hanging over my head. Yet, I feel like I’m adrift with no real direction in my life. Buddhist teachings instill that, more or less, it’s pointless to make plans because it keeps you a slave to the future, which is impossible to detect. The only thing we have is this exact moment, so be in it, completely. And this is what I want to embrace, yet I feel by doing so I’m living by default, becoming one with the status quo and just merely existing.

Why, WHY can I not find peace with my career path? It is the one thing that haunts me daily. But truthfully, I do know the answer. I know why I hesitate to try anymore. I know why I now pronounce to the world (or really, whoever is truly listening) that I’m okay staying at the day and finding something else within the government. I know why I say I’m okay with this, that yes, you are right, the day job can be the thing that supports my art and the life I want. I say these things because it’s fucking easy. It’s SO fucking easy to give up. My god, there is ZERO effort. It’s cozy, it’s comfortable. The hubby is happier with me just focusing on him, the house instead of being wrapped up in goals that may take me away from him. No one will feel threatened by my drive and determination to make something of myself. I’ll be the happy office worker who is predictable and reliable. Yes, yes, what a good smart person I am to just stay where I’m at because I have it made.

Now, I do realize and constantly remind myself how fortunate I am. I am grateful for where I am in life and take none of it for granted. But in going with the flow, there is a little piece of me dying. The rebel, the independent strong-willed woman who had such high hopes for a creative life is dying. And it makes me incredibly sad. I ask the universe every day to guide me in the right direction. And the funny thing is, every day I receive reminders such as the passage quoted above. I come across stories of women like myself who have made a difference with their lives. I read articles and essays about following your true north. The universe IS guiding me, and it’s telling me to wake up. It’s telling me not to give up on myself. It’s never too late to turn this ship around.

Which direction am I heading? My true north. Each day I must, and will, continue forward. I must and will make progress. I expect no less of myself.


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