With the risk of sounding of like a cheese inspirational poster, I am going to put it out there in big bold letters.
Life is a journey. Not all who wander are lost. Take the path less traveled. Enjoy the ride.
Now that we have the cliches out of the way, we can be serious about the journey. The trips we take that are filled with ups and downs and bumps and twists. The one where the map we have isn’t always the clearest.
All of our journeys are unique and inevitably we will make a wrong turn or be forced to take a detour. Some days we are traveling with a whole set of luggage, some days it is just a backpack. (What do you say, time to write a cheesy self-help book?).
In all seriousness, some days you do need to step back and look at the overall journey and see past the small segment that is today, this month or even this year. Being sick, dealing with tragedy, broken hearts and even career paths that just aren’t right can make you feel like you have lost your way.
You probably aren’t running in circles or moving backwards. Every morning that you wake up and take a breath is a positive moment. Follow that with a few steps and you are on your way.
My journey hasn’t always been the clearest and my path has often taken me the long way around. When I went to college, I decided to major in fashion design at a small, all-girl Catholic college in Milwaukee. Because studying Graphic Design at a big university would have been the obvious choice. Somehow I ended up with a French & International Marketing degree from the University of Illinois. I worked at Career Builder and Porsche before I realized just how badly I messed up my career choice.
I have been unemployed twice since graduating in 2007. Some days I find myself wondering turning down that job offer from Google was really the smart choice.
Oh, there was the day that my hands froze up from a toxic build up of medication in my system. The diminished control I had felt in my hands from migraine meds finally stopped them from working for a good 12 hours. I still can’t draw like I did before I started those medications and I probably never will.
I dated someone for 5 years that I was certain I was going to marry. It didn’t matter that the relationship wasn’t right or that I wasn’t myself in it. But when it was over I sure knew a whole heck of a lot about me.
I was in a car accident and they told my parents I might not ever walk again, so I ran a few 5Ks. Then I injured my knee and developed a progressive and incurable neurological condition.
A temporary stay with my parents that was supposed to last six months has now turned in to two years. Partially because of that break up, but mostly because there was no way I could have taken care of myself for most of those years.
I’ve been a blonde, a brunette and a red head with every shade of red hair imaginable. I have been morbidly obese and even a healthy weight. I have spent weeks at a time in the hospital and recently I became part cyborg.
I’ve had to use emergency epinephrine at work and have a coworker take me to the ER and I have had kick ass meetings with clients where I get to use this little brain of mine to help them create awesome websites. I’ve broken down because no one understood why just a salad on pizza for everyone else day finally got to me.
I’ve lost all of my grandparents, including the bonus ones. I’ve lost an aunt and several close friends. I’ve had my name trashed on the web because someone set their fans after me for a negative review of their book.
I speak three languages and have received honors for my French skills, had my photography published, been featured on design inspiration sites and won awards for my portfolio.
You might say there have been a few ups and downs and more than a couple twists and turns. They are painful when they happen and it can be damn hard to find your way back to the path and maybe you have to walk through that patch of poison ivy to get there.
It can be done. I know because I have done it. In college when I hated the school I chose or after when I hated my first job, I found my way. When my body failed me time after time, I found my way. I know you can find yours too.