Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Winds of Change

It is fall here in Michigan. And as the leaves begin to change color and the temperatures drop, I have that familiar feeling that change is on its way. This year, I am even more acutely aware of the change of seasons because it feels like my entire life is in a state of flux.

It has been over five months since I left my corporate job and embarked on this journey to self discovery, also known as a mid-life crisis. When I left that job, I had such a strong desire to walk away from health care forever and never look back. My plan was to teach yoga for the summer and then figure out what to do next. The passage of summer into fall is a not so subtle reminder that it might be time for me to start thinking about what is next.

As much as I would like to hold onto it, I can feel my carefree attitude of summer starting to slip away. When I left my job, I looked at the world with a new sense of wonder and amazement. Like anything was possible. Now I am starting to feel a more practical attitude emerge. It is saying "Yes, anything may be possible, but what is probable? What is reasonable?"  

I am not sure I like this more practical and reasonable approach to my existence. I have mostly lived my life with an abundance mentality. It says that there is no shortage of opportunity, skills or good fortune that may come my way. I don't have to cling to material possessions because I know that I will be able to acquire things if and when I need them. I don't need to worry about finding a job because I have always been able to find one without much effort.

In contrast, the scarcity mentality says that there are limits on things and you had better hold onto what you have in case you need it someday. It warns me that there are only a certain number of jobs and there are lots of qualified people and things are very competitive. It tells me that I should settle for whatever comes my way to earn a paycheck, instead of trying to find something that will truly make me happy.

Maybe the scarcity mentality is starting to creep in because I am uncertain as to how my old skills might fit into a new industry. In fact, I am not even sure what new industry I am trying to fit into. I literally have no idea where this path is going to lead. And it is more than just my career that I am unsure about. Everything in my life is changing.

Three months ago, I sent an e-mail to a cute guy on who happened to live in Ohio. And from that one e-mail, I was lucky enough to meet and fall in love with Mark Johnson. My heart is overflowing with feelings of anticipation, joy and excitement for our future together. But my mind wants to turn it into a project to be managed. It keeps asking "What is our plan for the future? What needs to happen next to get us there?"

My mind always needs to be busy. It's sole point of existence is to think, and that is what it wants to do all of the time. If I am happy and content in the present moment, then it will go digging into the past for something to obsess over or surging into the future looking for something to plan.

Lately, my mind keeps going through one scenario after another, looking for all of the answers. Will I move to Ohio? If so, will we live together or should I get my own place? And if I get my own place, should I rent an apartment or buy a house? And what will I do with my house in Michigan? Should I try to get a job in Ohio before I move, or should I move down there and then start looking for a job? 

I keep thinking if I make a plan, somehow it will provide me with a sense of security in the face of all this uncertainty. But we all know that plans can (and do) change. And even if I could map out a detailed plan with every step along the way, by the time I am ready to execute my plan, it might look completely different.

There is no master project plan that tells the leaves when to fall off the trees. They fall when they are ready. And once they hit the ground, you can rake them up into a pile if you want to, but the wind will just come along and blow them all around again.

As much as my mind wants to plan, I know that I am not in control of the outcome. When faced with all of these questions about my future, the simple answer is: I don't know. The universe has a plan for me and I just need to wait and find out what it is.

Some people might argue that decisions such as what to do for a living, where to live and who to live with are completely within my control, but I think there is a component to life that cannot be explained. There are forces at play that we do not comprehend and they gently guide us toward the decisions that we are supposed to make.

My role is to remain open to an infinite number of possibilities. And to faithfully search for the clues that the universe has planted for me along the way. Like following a cosmic trail of bread crumbs.

Sometimes I think that I worry and obsess over things because I am not ready. As much as they say that worrying is an unproductive emotion, it is really just my mind's way of circling an issue until I can get comfortable with it. This is especially true when it comes to making big changes in my life.

Right now I am like one of those brightly colored leaves clinging onto the tree. And one day, when a strong gust of wind comes along, I will take flight and land wherever I am supposed to be. (Mark Johnson will gladly tell you that this is somewhere near Cleveland, Ohio.)

When the time is right, making a change shouldn't feel like a change at all. It should feel like the most natural thing in the world. When the time is right, I won't be able imagine my life any other way.

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