From the time I was about 10 onward, I wanted to be president or have some sort of very grandiose role. In my teens, I started reading the economist magazine and thought about acareer in business or public policy, or even becoming a phd. In college, I had a few internships in DC and thought that was where I would end up. I worked as a department sales person, then a substitute teacher.
And then I went to France, after not finding a job. Just for a few months of teaching English…and applied to business school.
Since then my path has taken the turns I would have considered the most unlikely, and probably the least desirable as well- I’ve made a career out of my lifelong love of language, in a business setting. I am not a do-gooder by trade, though I consider myself an unofficial diplomat- both as part of my career and just the reality of expat life and wanting to show the best side of my country.
I’m also doing pretty well at my job. Working in a business setting has been pretty fun, and the public policy wonky world of DC is just a dim image in the rearview mirror. I miss my students, but I can’t imagine getting up and doing the same thing everyday and planning lessons and all of that. I enjoyed being a charismatic mentor, but I’m not sure I could take the everyday routineness of teaching.
After scorning the idea of staying in France and saying it was completely impossible, I found myself possessed of a desire to stay, then left, and came back, only to feel I could never belong here.
I’m learning a lot, by virtue of working in a company where there is always something else to do, and find that I”m probably much more satisfied than if I were in a PhD program. I may be an intellectual, but at this point I think I’m more of a student of life than an academic scholar.
In other words, in very large part, I have gotten exactly what I wanted- an intrinsically motivating career that has every hope of becoming more and more materially rewarding as well, living in a place that is literally the stuff of dreams, where my everyday reality thrills my inner bohemian romantic, and yeah, I speak French fluently, which is something I always wanted since I was a child. Still can’t tell you why. THe more I know, the more there is to learn, and the pursuit of mastery in French is really one of the quiet, hidden joys of my life. It is an understated pleasure I take for granted but have found it sad to live without.
I have every possibility of going to new climes as well. In addition to having a corporate job, I”m writing a lot and being published. My job has, ironically- though why should it be ironic for a job to be helpful- rekindled the joy of communication and writing for me, and while I thought communications and PR were rather light and frivolous and I should be doing more serious “strategic marketing,” or something like that, I’m finding that the gift I take most for granted, and the strength I nurture with great joy, has indeed helped me earn my daily bread. Not everything at my job is the joy of writing, but the art of communicating well- especially in a cross-cultural setting- is part and parcel of my everyday existence.
I am like a fish in water, so incredibly blessed. I was about to say lucky, but the truth is that it’s more than that, and I shouldn’t give away credit. There was a lot of hard work along the way. ANd the hardest knocks came from inside me.
I have made a lot of mistakes on this path. In losing myself, I have lost control of some aspects of my life I always thought I had figured out. I gained a bunch of weight and I charged up my credit cards.
I seemingly lost my motivation to excel while in school, and thought about dropping out every day for a semester.
I have fallen in and out of love, and finally admitted that the person I thought was my soulmate, even if he did love me, would not be right person for my life’s journey. ANd probably, someone who I would never have thought will be a much better fit.
Because I am not at all the person I set out to be. It’s been hard to let go of the person I should be- not least being that I live thousands of miles from my family when I love them a lot and my moom’s only injunction when I gradutated from colelge was to have a US mailing address.
Saorry not sorry Mom. ANd By the grace of God, Mom isn’t sorry too- she’s proud of me, and not just for the travel and the accomplishements, for the fact that I do and dare to follow my heart. Even when it seems selfish and rebellious.
Accepting who I am, and accepting my destiny- and the talents and gifts I had no idea I posessed- has not come easily. I’ve always been quick to point out a flaw, but in this case, I have to scrap the whole project of who I thought I was supposed to be and call myself a fialure. ” This wasn’t my dream,” I thought to myself every day. But I don’t see myself anywhere else, doing anythng else.
I am where I am meant to be. For now. And the path I’m on todesn’t have signs, but I am following it, with sheercourage, better every day.
This is my life, this is my path. I am this person.
It hasn’t been easy to accept this revlation at times. Not because I wasn’t racived by others with love, but because it was hard to receive my self with love.
SO hard to banish the fantasy, and the inconvenient, uncomfortable turth that you don’t always get wht you want. You dont’ often know what you really do, nd youd desires are choosing every day.
But somehow, in the end, you are both the enfant, the nouveu-ne, and the wise elder in the back. At all times.
But let’s go back to being merry and bold and bright and cheerful.
And believe that not only does God have a plan for us, but it far exceeds our own.
I know tell that to all the suffering people whose maladies could be cured but for want of money, or to those who cant be cured.
Once thing is certain- in this life, if we are living from the place f GOd within us, is not goig to be easy.
And we have to give up a lot of things along the way. not just bad things, but good things that have reached their stopping point. And that’s ok.
God be with you Peace! Namaste,
I don’t know what’s next
And that’s tremendously freeing. Life is easier this way, floating with the current, but fully intact, fully aware that in no small part, it is my hopes and dreams I am floating on.
Accepting my treasure has not been easy.
But I’m here now.
Just needed to let thouose boundaries go, instead of defining my life away.
And more importantly, thank God for the person that I am. THe person He/She made me to be.