I have spent a great deal of time lately thinking about what it is I want. I am back and forth, sure then unsure, about how to move forward. Further, I question what it even means to REALLY want something – I often pursue things that don’t present too much of a challenge, for fear that if I stepped to far out of my comfort zone, I might become too vulnerable. I take comfort in being good at things in the technical sense, which helps to blur the fact that I am not pursuing them with passion.
My dad told me recently that I need to find myself, that he sees me floundering. “You should get lost somewhere,” he says. “Maybe then you’d find yourself.” Speaking with my father one-on-one can often be surprising, as we have the opportunity to talk so infrequently and yet he sees me so clearly and can describe me with chilling accuracy. He was seeing something I had recently been seeing in myself – that it is time to tailor my life around a real, permeating goal that can guide me out from under his wing and into the world on my own. It does not necessarily mean a career choice, or chasing a certain paycheck; for my dad, many moons ago, that goal was finding (and keeping!) a mate, which he did, and they have been happily married for the past 40 years.
Recently, I have begun to finally pursue things that challenge me, with the confidence that if I screw up, so be it – I can brush myself off, and move on. Still, I can’t say I have settled on a specific goal. I’d love to be a better writer, a better runner, a better cook. I’d love to be better at networking within my field. But these things all hinge on a more important goal that needs attention first: to be comfortable with myself. I want to consistently make choices that I feel good about, rather than focusing on making other people happy. Furthermore, I want to make the wrong decisions – lots of them – and prove to myself that wrong turns and brain farts and love handles are all normal. Progress is slow, but writing is a great outlet for my thoughts and ideas and is definitely a big push in the right direction. In writing, you can be what you are not in real life. You can admit fears, you can change your mind, you can be bold, or you can disappear.
And speaking of disappearing, my dad’s idea of getting lost somewhere really resonates with me. I would like to find a way to travel alone. It scares me and yet it excites me, as it would present an opportunity to act confidently without distraction, influenced only by my own thoughts and desires and hindered only by my own limitations.