While sitting here eating my 2.5-quarts-of-popcorn and 1-pint-of-milk dinner, I decided I wanted to tell you about the exact moment in my life that I hit bottom.
2.5 quarts of popcorn will tend to do that to a person. Not so much the pint of milk.
It was March 14th, 2008, approximately 9 o’clock pm. I had no job, $50 to my name, a backpack of belongings over my shoulder, and now, rendered officially homeless as well. I watched the person who had dropped me off drive away, never once looking back, as I waited for the person whose front stoop I was standing on to come to the door, hoping she would take me in.
That one singular moment is forever etched into my memory.
The how’s and why’s of the situation aren’t really relevant to this blog post. What I will say is that immediately after, I did what any other 20-something does when they find themselves in destitute: I called my mommy.
A few weeks later, on the way to pick up the rest of my belongings that a friend had allowed me to store at their house until I had somewhere to put them, my mom said something that will also be forever etched into my memory banks. These were her exact words:
“The thing is, the Universe will always tell you when you’re not doing the right thing. And if you ignore it for too long, it will bang you on the head and force you to listen.”
That simple statement had pretty much summed up the entire past eleven months of my life.
So what exactly do I mean when I say “the Universe”?
The best way I can explain it is this: some people call it “God”, some call it “Allah”, and some Atheists out there probably refer to it as a “FGE” (*bleeping* Grow Experience).
I tend to think of it as a nonsingular, amorphous energy source of undetermined origin, more easily referred to as the Universe. The Universe is you, it is me, it is our intentions and our energies that we send to, and receive from, each other. This nonsingular, amorphous energy source of undetermined origin collects all these intentions and orchestrates them into a symphony called life. We just need to tune our radios to the right station to pick up its message.
I often do what I call “putting it out there to the Universe”, which simply means making public my intentions and/or desires. The Universe usually responds by manifesting opportunities, to which I just need pay close enough attention.
The Universe doesn’t give you a set of commandments or rules. All it asks is that you try to live the most personally sincere and benevolent life possible. The Universe will always allow you to make your own choices and decisions. It will, however, give you pointers along the way.
And, as my mother so eloquently stated, if you don’t listen, it will knock you upside the head and force you to make some serious changes.
Needless to say, in 2008 I took my cue from the Universe and have since moved on, and upward, with my life. Because I’m sure no one out there wants a play-by-play of the last three years, let’s just fast forward to the meat and potatoes of this post, which started two weeks ago. I will do my best to be brief, but thorough.
A new position became available at my place of employment. It was suggested to me by a reliable authority that I should submit my resume. Initially I was hesitant; I wasn’t really interested in the job. However, I was persuaded when it was implied that I could do so “just to find out more about the position.”
Little did I know, or expect, that submitting my resume would ignite a course of events that two weeks later would result in me crying at the bus stop on the corner of 68th & Broad.
But I get ahead of myself. Let me back up just a little.
You see, I was told the position was mine if I wanted it even before the interview. It was made clear that, as far as my career was concerned, this would be a very smart decision and would assist in upward movement in the future. However, I had other career ideas in mind. Promptly after the interview I set an appointment with our CEO for the following Wednesday to discuss these ideas and how taking this position would influence the potential for these ideas to become a reality. I announced I would inform everyone of my decision after this meeting.
I had about 5 days before this meeting to think about my decision. Even though I didn’t want the job, I knew I should take it. I also thought about the other plans, projects and possibilities in my personal life that I have had on the back burner for a little while now and have recently become open to pursuing. I felt if I took the job I would be pigeon-holed in a direction I didn’t want to go in. I thought that my life would start to be more about my job than it would be about… living it. I began to feel smothered by it all. Things were moving much faster than I was ready for, and were quickly getting out of control. I had put balls in motion that I now wished I never started rolling in the first place.
Enter Wednesday. To me, this was the day the trajectory of my life was to be determined. It was a Robert Frost “Road Not Taken” kind of day. During the hour-long ride I geared myself up, thinking about what I wanted to say and exactly how I was going to say it. Anxiety was high, but I was prepared and confident. This was going to be a pivotal moment in my life, and there I was, about to step knee deep into it.
Ten minutes before I was due to arrive I get a telephone call that the meeting was cancelled. Apparently there had been a mix-up and the CEO was already booked. There were no times available later in the day.
My first reaction: anger. My second reaction: rejection. My third reaction: “screw this, I’m quitting. Clearly I’m not appreciated around this joint.”
As I passed the stop I would have gotten off of at, I decided to wait and get off a block away. I was too embarrassed to be seen by any other employees. I crossed the street to wait for the next bus in the opposite direction. Then I started to cry.
Then I cried a little more. Actually, that’s a lie. I cried pretty much the entire ride back, keeping my shades over my eyes (even on the subway) and covering my mouth with my hand, trying my best to look pensive rather than revealing that my bottom lip was quivering.
Somewhere around the mid-point of my travels, I realized what the Universe was telling me: I had been waiting for someone else (namely, the CEO) to tell me what decision to make, when what I really needed to do was make that decision for myself. Additionally, the Universe was giving me the opportunity to stop some of those balls from rolling and get things back under control.
Message received. 2008 lesson learned.
When I got back to my office, I let everyone know that I had decided not to take the position. I stated it was for personal reasons and that I was well aware that this was not looked highly upon. I also said I understood the potential consequences that this may have for future advancement in my career.
And I, I chose the road less traveled by.
I thought perhaps later I would regret this decision, but in truth, I didn’t. And you know what? I still don’t. I made the decision that I felt was best for me, no matter the repercussions.
I think that’s exactly what the Universe was hoping I’d do.
Oh yeah, and remember those things I said had been on the back burner for a while? I’ve since been “putting them out there to the universe”, and I’m hoping to catch whatever the gets thrown my way.
So, now, if you’ve made it this far (and aren’t bored to tears), what’s the take home message in all this? Put it out there; be willing to listen; let it manifest; make your own choices.
And may the Universe never bang you on the head.