Life is eternal movement.
I found this line in Radhika Jha’s Smell when I used it as my book report for an Asian Literature class back in college. At 18, I thought it very profound. At 29, I’m living it.
Let me backtrack a bit.
See, I keep a journal. I don’t write on it regularly (months would sometimes pass between entries) but I make a point to write something on two occasions: January 1st and May 16th. My January 1, 2015 entry included this:
I know it’s wrong of me to think this way but I feel like everything is on hold. Like I am waiting for my life to start. I get the feeling that I’m not yet comfortably fitting into my space.
Yes, yes, too much drama, I know. But if I can’t be fully honest in my own journal, where else can I be honest in?
A couple of years ago, my brain caught up with my heart and decided that what I really want to do is to write. Yes, that thing I’ve always thought of as a hobby is actually what I want to fill my days with.
Was I happy when I realized that? Of course, I was. I was ecstatic! For about five minutes. Coming from a family of teachers and nurses and accountants and engineers and doctors, I grew up thinking that a happy and successful life means I have to go the college-med school/law school/grad school-large stable company route and my brain kicked in with these reality checks:
1. The wasted time check (“you’re gonna throw away 5 years of B2B sales experience for writing?”)
2. The too-old-for-this check (“you’re 25. Isn’t it too late for such a drastic shift in career/life direction?”)
3. The income source check (“how are you gonna live off of writing?”)
4. The what-would-my-family-think check (“you’re throwing away your business education? Are you sure you want to be that person whose career your family don’t understand? Best get an MBA.”)
5. The it’s-not-going-to-work check (pretty self-explanatory)
Yeah. Sometimes, I hate my brain, too.
I want so badly to say that after that realization, everything fell into place. But I’m not living in a fairy tale here.
It has been difficult. You get that realization and you expect that everything gets clearer and easier. But it doesn’t. Simply because it’s difficult to make such a huge transition while life is happening. And it’s not like you can ask life to pause and wait for you to get your shit together.
But I was able to start something. I was able to overcome that nasty voice in my head (that irritatingly sounds just like me) and actually start working toward that goal.
So, there I was bumping along, slowly gaining momentum on the direction I want. But, as evident in that January 2015 post, still feeling as if something is missing or just plain wrong.
I’ve made plans, you see. And I’m not just talking about writing, which was embedded into a bigger life plan. Finally, I have a plan for what my life would be 3-5 years later. Plans that involve the rest of my life. Plans that involve the rest of someone else’s life. Plans that my brain and my heart seemed to be in agreement with.
But I can’t seem to shake off the fear and feeling of wrongness.
And so I followed what my heart was telling me and shook up my life again. Casualties included all plans made (okay, not all. But a good 90%), a friendship with a ten-year historical span, and a really great friend.
Just when everything seems to be making sense, just when my life seems to be going along a great track, my heart l told me to go the opposite direction.
This is a life’s a bitch moment right here.
But see, the thing is, when I look back at all the decisions I’ve made in my life, the best ones come from when I followed what my heart was telling me. Going freelance, buying all those airline tickets, joining STORM, diving headfirst into LDR, getting into writing…all these gave me immense joy and purpose. All these decisions made me feel like I’m on the right track.
So when my heart told me to go the other way, I did the most human thing in the world: Overthink. For months.
Eventually, I gave up thinking and just simply prayed about it. First Friday novena masses. Prayers to Saint Jude because I truly believed I was a lost cause. Prayers to Nuestra Senora de Salvacion because it seemed to always work for my mother. For months it seemed that I stormed the heavens with prayers. Me. The most unreligious in our family. And while I resisted at first, I could not ignore the fact that my heart shouted louder in prayer.
So, here I am. A twenty-nine year old writer still working on her first novel while working at a tech start-up and spending her free days mostly alone. No plans, still. No five- or even three-year milestone map. Just taking each day as it comes, living on passion and prayer, and learning to be more open to life and people.
My life is moving. Changing. Growing. Eternally.
And it’s beautiful. Just simply beautiful.