This morning I was listening to a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. Many know her as the author of Eat, Pray, Love. I’ve found that when I’ve heard her speak, I like hearing what she has to say. I think it’s tied to the fact that I’m inspired by the stories of great risk, of great change, of people who take the time to look at who they are, and how to live the fullest life they can.
Since writing her book, she’s spoken a lot about following your passion. In this speech, however, she spoke about her recent change in perspective, when she realized that not everyone has one single passion that he or she has known from childhood and is able to follow like a dagger. She spoke about the people who move about, following their curiosities. She spoke about people who have bounced through careers, homes, life paths, and the rich life that emerges from such a life. I loved that.
There is a voice in my head that says that I should know where I’m supposed to be focused right now. The voice says that I should know my next steps, what I’m meant to be doing. I was saying to a friend that at this point in my life, as a woman in my mid-thirties, it doesn’t seem right that I don’t know what I want to do with my life. So I added the word “now.”
I don’t know what I want to do with my life, now.
My career as a music therapist in a hospital made perfect sense for me. I walked into that role because it felt right. And it was right.
Until it wasn’t.
Obviously, the part of me that knew this is the part of me that said yes to my recent adventures, leaving my job and my country, in one of the biggest jumps I can remember taking. And now, I get the chance to follow my curiosity a bit. I have the room to explore a few more parts of myself.
I get to do yoga, and find joy in its lessons.
I get to introduce music to preschool children, and find the joy in the play, all while knowing my years as a therapist lets me see and adapt how I work with them.
I get to work with old friends, trying out new ideas, like mindfulness groups for parents.
I get to bike through the New York City Streets.
I get to give space to my being, something that was so challenging when being an emotional support to families in the hospital. It was important work. It was work that requires the giving of humanity. While I received gifts from that work, the space to be with myself feels healing.
I’m starting to feel a bit of an internal push to figure out some of my next steps. That said, the idea that I don’t need to have everything figured out is reassuring to me. It is OK to take time to follow my curiosities, and I imagine that I’ll encounter some passions along the way. It may be a bit messy for a bit longer. But who said being messy is a bad thing? I’ll take the messiness of a life I truly desire living any day of the week.