Remember when you were a kid and you would play Marco Polo in the swimming pool? One person closes their eyes and tries to tag the other player by following their voice. One says "Marco", the others reply "Polo". The ones with their eyes open have a serious advantage and the one with their eyes closed just really hopes they get lucky. It can be very frustrating to just spin around in a vast ocean (or pool, usually) responding to the voices that call you in all sorts of directions.
I have felt like that for a long time in my journey. I have felt like I had my eyes closed and simply went where the next voice called me. What was calling me where my interests, passions and the like, but I always responded to them very dramatically. I went the way of the sound with all my might, hoping, just hoping it might catch. I have smacked face first into many walls that way. Many of my "ah-ha this is it, I am such a genius" ideas are followed by a much more quiet, "oh yeah, about that....nevermind." What I have realized through that is I was responding first, then trying to decide afterwards if it was really something that was right for me. Shiny object, shiny object. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that there is an "ah-ha!" moment, a single solution.
I recently wrote an article for Marathon Matt and Psoas Bodywork about my thoughts on running and lessons I have learned that would be helpful to a first timer. One of the first thing I said was "Be patient, go slow, don’t rush." I realized as I wrote that, that while I have done that with running, letting myself gain experience with time and accumulated practice, that in my career/passions I have not allowed things to just unfold. I wait impatiently for the one big "ah-ha" answer. But I am being impatient without knowing what it is I really want. Therefore, I cannot work to get what I want, because I don't know what that is.
I see this a lot in relationships. People get together with someone but don't know what they actually want from a relationship or from another person. They haven't done the self-work to know why they really want to be in a relationship (either generally or specifically). And so ultimately, not knowing leads to failure because the premise was wrong. You don't go into a clothing store and just start trying on any random arbitrary size do you? No, you have a pretty good idea of where you fit and you try things on that are a close approximation to that idea. If you pull something off the rack and it drastically doesn't fit, you re-evaluate. I feel like I know what I want in most areas of my life. I feel like I have done a lot of self-work to make that so. But I definitely think that I did not, have not done enough work on my career path in the same way as I have in my personal path. I left grad school and lost momentum when I realized I was not super into being a librarian. I haven't done enough to change that because I didn't know what I wanted. And furthermore, I lost a little confidence in my ability to know since I had been SO sure about my career as a librarian.
I am changing that. I am beginning to toe up to the line to fight the battle. I shucking off some residual fears and digging really deep for my confidence. I also feel like I am gaining momentum even though it is just a whisper. I am starting to know and that feels really amazing. It may not be real change but it is a turn in the right direction. Even though there have been many days full of trepidation and self-doubt, I am finally not being sucked in by it. Knowing is truly half the battle and change is afoot. I like that.