Alone at a small corner table in a coffee shop, I pulled out my newest prize from the local library, “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It” by Barbara Sher. Handling the book with great care, I opened it, eager to absorb all of its great secrets, secrets that would surely change my life and place me squarely on the path to the amazing career and life that presently eluded me.
The book came to me at a time when I was going through a massive reconstruction of my own. Months earlier, I’d finally gained the courage to leave the toxic work environment I’d been dreaming of leaving for years.
I’d gone on to start my own law practice but hated the constant grind for clients, the emotional exhaustion of being embroiled in strangers’ family disputes (I naively chose family law as my bread and butter, only to later find out its notorious reputation for being one of the most violent areas of law an attorney could go into), along with the terror that came with not quite knowing what I was doing, yet still being responsible for the clients who depended on me to help them out of an often messy, emotional situation.
It was a lot. And it was also not at all what I wanted to be doing with my life.
“I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was” was filled with a treasure trove of encouragement. It gave me permission to relive the dreams, aspirations, and the unshakeable faith that I had in myself and my future before getting bogged down with the realities of searching for a job as a new graduate in a horrible economy, looming student loan debt, and crushing disappointment as I tried to navigate life as a newly independent adult with no job and little resources.
It allowed me to connect with the little girl whose expansive imagination had created whole worlds in her grandmother’s backyard in Mississippi, worlds which fed and nurtured me even as I grew up in a dysfunctional, sometimes volatile, home environment.
It reminded me of the strengths I’d always possessed but had somehow forgotten along the way and gave me license to dream again. Most of all, it gave me hope that, despite my perceived failures and laundry list of setbacks, I still had time to create the life that I wanted by simply reconnecting with the little girl inside me who knew that she was destined for more.
Life can be devastatingly difficult at times. It’s hard to keep believing that there’s something better out there when you feel like nothing has ever worked out, and you’re beginning to wonder if anything ever will. You wonder if your time has come and gone, and if it’s now too late to embark on a new chapter. You question if you have the courage, the strength, and the energy to even try. I know because I’m in one of those moments right now. And it’s hard.
But, in this moment, it’s important for me to reconnect with the me from my yesteryears. The fearless me. The confident me. The dreamer me. The me that believed that I could and would make my wildest dreams come true because I was willing to show up every day and put in the work.
Big Magic Author, Elizabeth Gilbert once wrote that “The Universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” It’s a quote that I took to heart the first time I read it, and it’s a quote I come back to whenever I feel frustrated about what I’m not doing with my life. It reminds me to always look within because there is, indeed, something powerful and magical inside me, inside all of us, that is there simply waiting to be unearthed.
I don’t want to live my life without discovering every single treasure placed inside me. Even in this very difficult moment of starting over in an ongoing pandemic, experiencing the loneliness and grief of continued isolation during this pandemic, and dealing with the overwhelming uncertainty of my own life, I am determined to keep mining for those magical gems inside of me that will usher me into the next phase of my life. The ones that keep me focused on my purpose and that help me continue putting one foot in front of the other even though the path ahead of me is not yet illuminated.
And maybe that is the magical part of life, moving forward without knowing exactly what comes next but believing that whatever it is, it’s gonna be wonderful. And it’s gonna be exactly what I need to live the magical life I was created to lead.