It took me some time to realize that I was on the wrong path. That the work I was doing for a living was no longer fulfilling me; actually was no longer working on any level. It seemed that satisfaction was no longer a given, despite a job well done. If I wanted to take pleasure in my work, genuine, heartwarming pleasure - I had to demand it. And then I had to create it.
I had reinvented myself before, so I knew I had it in me to start over again. This time, however, was markedly different in many ways: I was entering my fifties. My perspective was wider. I had suffered just enough loss in my life to not only realize its fragility and preciousness; but also to reflect long and hard and deep about its meaning and my purpose.
My heros had changed - they were no longer the ones with the most enviable stuff, they were founders of socially conscious companies.
The way I viewed success had also changed. I had achieved the title, the cache of important, famous clients and the travel - metrics I used to value - yet I felt completely, utterly devoid of fulfillment or contentment. I wanted a happy life with work that moved me and gave back in a significant way. The words of Emerson were tugging at me: “…to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.” The path I was creating had to have a heart.
The process was slow and arduous. It required more introspection and soul searching than I’ve ever done or been willing to do. I struggled to redefine myself because who I was was all tangled up in what I did and who I really wanted to be was nowhere to be found just yet.
I was unwavering in my determination to figure it out. It was the beginning of a spiritual journey that cracked me wide open and begged me to put my pieces together in a new way.
It slowly took shape in my head. In the pages of my journal. In circle graphs and sketches and inspired moments running through the woods. Always when I was quiet, reflective and without judgement.
Which is perhaps one of the biggest irony of my story. The old me had been trained to accomplish things within the allotted time I sit in my office. The more I crossed off my list, the more productive I viewed my day. This was so ingrained in my thinking that it took a full three years before I began to value my time in the woods as much as I valued my time at my desk. In truth, the woods is where all of my best ideas are born.
When I had finally figured it all out, I knew I had found my life’s work. My soul knew. With every fiber of my being, I knew.
The unequivocal truth is that when you decide to create a new life for yourself, to make something where there once was nothing; when you determine that you are not going to settle, that you are willing to invest in yourself and do the work that is required to become the best and highest version of you? The universe rises to meet you. Magic happens. Doors open. You are supported and held and guided. And the fulfillment you feel as a result is beyond what you have ever experienced before.
It not only changes you…it changes everything.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” E.E. Cummings