The best laid plans are the ones that make you blissfully happy…. Meg Nocero, author of The Magical Guide to Bliss
I never wanted to leave. In fact, in May of 1999, when I walked into that old dilapidated building we lovingly(?) referred to as 79th Street, walked out onto the 11th floor, introduced myself to the receptionist, sat in the chair by the elevator door and waited, I was bubbling over with excitement internally, yet controlled externally as I held a big toothy grin that I was waiting to share with anyone who passed me by. I truly felt like I won the “Golden ticket” of legal jobs, I got my chance to work for the Federal government as an attorney. For years and years, I listened to the stories of my Italian American grandfather who served in the U.S. Congress for NY in the 60s, even handling immigration legislation on the Hill. He was always bigger than life to me, photos of him and JFK, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Sophia Loren always greeted us when we entered his home. I used to stare at them from the favorite evergreen fuzzy, spinning chair in my grandmother’s kitchen, thinking how incredibly awesome it was that a member of my family had been able to serve with such distinction. It just amazed me. Big shoes to fill.
While I was always encouraged to study hard, growing up I don’t remember anyone ever thinking much about me as a student. Silliness really. I, on the other hand, thought I could be good at anything, especially in areas of creative exploration. I adored spending hours and hours happily constructing stories around the worlds that I built for my dolls who kept me company after coming home from school. I guess that did not matter because I gave others the power to measure my success from the beginning, I thought that the unfolding of my potential was always in someone else’s hands.
But I loved to learn, that was the crazy thing about it all. I was so incredibly visual. Words danced for me off the pages through pictures that I conjured up in my head. My imagination would take flight every time I learned something new. It took me longer than most to complete assignments because I analyzed everything that I took in. Critical thinking was more important to me than getting the work done. But, this was seen as lazy because I did not get things done, and laziness is a failure of sorts. And I was paralyzed by the fear of failing, so I just got by and in that way I could not fail. But my stories of “Hello Fellow”, drawing for hours and hours of the worlds I wanted to see and spending my days dressing my dolls up in beautiful dresses that I made from stolen pillow cases or whatever I could find acting out the scenes, this is what I loved and their I excelled because I was happy, even if no one knew it.
Until day by day, month by month, year by year, my need for approval from others took over, and I slowly packed away my creativity, ultimately to find myself looking for a profession that would do what was hoped for, make me a responsible person where I could pay my bills. And over time, the “Golden Ticket” was traded in for “Golden Handcuffs”.
And instead of being forgotten, instead of falling through the rabbit hole to a place of hopelessness, along the way, because of experiencing loss and grief, I started to resurrect the person I was meant to be, the writer, the creative, the dreamer. Until finally in June, enough happened to where I got up the nerve, the guts, to resign from that very place so that I could break out of a pattern that would never allow for me to be simply happy without having to prove myself worthy. To a place where I can just be me, and that’s ok. Fearless? Oh dear God -a resounding no. But a woman of wonder once again, yes!
Such a very interesting intricate and simple puzzle life can be. Patterns playing out over and over again until that very moment when you make a choice that gives you a chance to end the repetitive “ground hog daze” of life. Until you get to a place, and decide you are the one who will find you. Until you get to the place where you decide it is time to make decisions using your heart. Until you get to a place where you follow your bliss, and finally allow the universe to conspire in your favor.
On the outside, we all may just be specks on this great planet that travels through the universe, but on the inside, there is so much possibility. Signs are all around, big ones and small ones- and this morning while looking out the window of my hotel room, right outside, there was a huge sign reminding me that I once again won the “Golden ticket”, this time one where I get to renew my old dreams. Now with that, go out and look for the opportunities and allow the universe to conspire in my favor. And at his time in my life, the measure of success will be me happy doing what I love to do not for anyone else’s approval but simply because I love doing it and it makes me come alive. So, write because you love to write, sing because you love to sing, dance because you love to dance and be a lawyer, doctor, anything because you love it. And how sweet that will be!