Self-awareness can be a great thing. If you’re aware of your behaviors, shortcomings, moods, it can do wonders for your ability to manage yourself, interpersonal relationships, and navigate life in general. But no matter how well we may know ourselves, there’s nothing like an outside perspective to shine a light through our dustiest windows, exposing truths we have left forgotten to decay in the recesses of our brains.
At 31 I took a leap. I felt myself stuck in the same gear, on the same path, chugging along from administrative position to administrative position, never advancing, only moving on to what I always perceived as “better jobs” because of…well, pay mostly. I found myself making the most I had made in the almost ten years since I graduated college and I was completely unfulfilled and utterly miserable. And so, when I saw an opening I took it. I make donuts for a living now. I make roughly half what I was, and yet, overall my quality of life has improved drastically. It has thrown my brain into complete chaos, adapting to my new lifestyle with its ever changing schedule and sheer physical demands. And while that can be stressful and anxiety inducing for the part of me that has spent my whole life organized and planned, it’s exactly what I needed – like a reboot for my life.
And still, as of late, I’ve felt a little as though I’m treading mud in lead boots. My motivation and momentum has gone on holiday and I’ve been moody, depressed, and feeling rather lost. And so, in a moment I cannot assign quite the correct adjective or characteristic to, I reached out to an old friend, someone I had not seen in quite some time, someone I cannot recall having ever spent time one on one with, and I set up a date for a chat. And that is why I find myself here writing this now; because I find myself energized, motivated, and inspired. Because an outside perspective – and I really mean outside, not your partner, your bestie, or your work wife/husband – can hit you like a bolt of lightning.
I sat across from this self-assured, successful, put together woman for two hours tonight and while we did catch up on life, we mostly talked a lot about intentions, skills, fulfillment, and how much we’ve learned from failures and jobs that weren’t right for us. She talked a lot about myself to me. She spoke plainly about how she perceived me, the skills I had, my value professionally, and the steps I should be taking to achieve my goals. When I confessed that I sometimes doubted my decision to take the leap I did, that I sometimes wonder what the hell I had gotten myself into, she reminded me that doubts are very human and at the very least it makes my life, and the book I will someday write, way more interesting.
Talking with my friend for the first time in months, very possibly over a year, during which time we had both evolved so much, I was reminded why I made the choice I did 7 months ago. I was reminded of all the ways it was infinitely better for me than not. And most importantly, I was reminded that momentum can begin with a single breath, step, word, or giant leap. Momentum is always lost only momentarily and it’s up to you how long that moment will be. I’ve always considered myself very self-aware, certainly to a fault, as I love to torture myself with my shortcomings. But someone else’s perspective has helped to reorganize my awareness – a little mental feng shui if you will. A message leads to a conversation to an idea to a blog and onwards. I think I’ve shed the boots and I’m crawling forwards out of the mud.