Timing is a…you know the rest. I’ve certainly been reminded recently how ruthless, ironic and frustrating it can sometimes be.
Just when one opportunity arises, pulling you left, another arrives at your feet, attempting to tug you to the ground and keep you right where you stand. As soon as you think you know which way to go, something else nudges you in the direction you were about to turn your back on. And in no time, your mind is totally…you know the rest.
Lately, I’ve been reminded of life’s twisted timing, and my head has been spinning ever since. So the other day, in a half-serious manner, I sent a text message to a good friend asking him to tell me what to do.
“Give me the answers to life,” I demanded abruptly.
A drastic segue from the conversation we were in the middle of having, but without a moment’s hesitation, he responded.
“Keep your eyes on your own paper.”
Rather clever, isn’t he?
With sarcasm, I replied, “Is that a euphemism for the answer?”
But, then it hit me.
For much of my life, I’ve been too worried about what other people have written on their own paper. Sure, I like to tell myself I’m independent and don’t need anyone’s approval or guidance in knowing what is right. But, let’s be real. Who doesn’t, at some time or other, need to hear someone else’s perspective on the matter or assurance the correct decision has been made?
My biggest problem is that I second-guess the choices. In school it never mattered how much I studied, I rarely felt 100 percent confident in going with my gut instinct. I’d reason through at least one other option, making sure there wasn’t some small chance it could end up being the one I should circle. More often than not, though, my first choice was the right choice.
Now that I’m out of school, the second-guessing has only gotten worse. The choices have only gotten more complex and with much heavier consequences.
Do I move to Los Angeles now to chase a dream I might not be ready for, even though lately it’s as if the universe is sending sign after sign telling me I should go? Or do I stay in my hometown a little longer, build up more experience, establish solid footing before I sprint toward the West Coast? Do I even want to go west to establish my career to begin with? Because I do love New York City…
In being too afraid to go with my gut instinct, my eyes have begun to wander toward other people’s paper. I keep asking everyone else for the answer, as if they know the foolproof path I should take. Some have the experience and wisdom to offer a fairly reasonable resolution, but at the end of the day, it’s not someone else’s experience or wisdom that can tell me what to do.
I’m one to overanalyze — in fact, I over-overanalyze. I’ll exhaust my mind switching back and forth between every pro and con of a situation. Yet, I usually find no matter how many times I wrestle with the solution — or ask other people to determine it for me — I end up going with the answer I knew was right in my heart all along.
It’s easy to get distracted by what other people think, say or do, but every person’s circumstances are unique, and no one but you can know what will make you happy in the long run. You can ask your mind a million times what to choose — or you can ask other people — but when the opportunity is right, you’ll know. And it’s not your mind that will tell you.
I’m not saying I suddenly have the answers to life, and I’m well aware they can’t be found in the back of some book. But why should I want the answer to be the same for me as everyone else, anyway? We’re all writing our own story — or so I like to think.
Yes, it’s good to seek advice when you’re making an important decision, but don’t let somebody else ultimately decide your destiny.
Next time you feel like asking someone to give you the answers, keep your eyes on your own damn paper, and have the courage to go with your gut instinct.
Trust me, if you do that, you’ll pass the test every time.