We often embark on a journey in life expecting to do or find something specific, and come back having discovered the unexpected.
I went alone to see Ralph Breaks the Internet recently. I enjoy the digs on Disney princesses just needing a random man to save them, the portrayal of Twitter as a tree where birds chirp the same cat picture at each other, and highlighting the toxicity of Internet comments. I especially love Ralph’s journey of self-discovery that allows him to become a better friend. One of my favorite lines comes near the end as Ralph comes to grips with Vanellope’s decision to stay in Slaughter Race.
I get it. You’ve found your dream game. That’s awesome.
(Quote may be a rough approximation as it is based solely on my memory of the line.)
That jumped out at me because it was definitely not what they were seeking. Sure, there was some heavy foreshadowing, but ostensibly they were looking for the means to restore her ability to perform her original game.
The parallels with my own current situation struck me.
A couple weeks ago, at the suggestion of my boss as well as my HR leader, I decided to take an extended leave from work. In working with my therapist, I decided to go further and get an Airbnb for a few weeks. The goal is to turn this time into a healing retreat, calm the panic attacks, and hopefully help my nervous system start to stabilize. In many ways, it feels like the goal is to help restore my ability to perform my original job—programmer and manager.
As I have been taking a break from life responsibilities, I have found that writing and podcasting, have been incredibly therapeutic for me. It is helpful when I am feeling agitated to channel that energy into something productive. Through doing this, I have discovered that I really love writing. I have only recorded a few podcast episodes, but I have enjoyed that tremendously as well.
I am not necessarily feeling like I have found my dream job and that I want to change careers. But I have felt that I came intending one thing, and have discovered something else. I have long wanted to be a blogger, but have felt that I was not a good enough writer to do it seriously. As I have been writing more, almost out of necessity, I have found that I do not need to wait until I am a good writer. I can just get started. I know that that I will get better over time. And along the way, I hope that I can inspire others who have felt like they have a desire to do something more than what they are currently doing, but have held themselves back.
So my advice, both to my future self, and to anyone who might be reading, is to just move forward. Be willing to accidentally discover your dream game. Do not be so rigid in your plans that there is no room for serendipity. And, for goodness sakes, stop listening to the voices inside your head that claim you are not good enough. Just start.