Lost. Confused. Disheartened. When life puts you in front of a fork in the road, how do you know which direction to choose? It’s not that either choice is necessarily wrong, but you know that whichever you choose will dictate the rest of your life. (Just a tad melodramatic…)
I’ve recently found myself at a metaphorical fork in the road…In January, I lost my job at a local advertising agency. A job that I dedicated every waking hour to – every ounce of my being was consumed by this role. I really wish I could blame this hyperbole on my artistic license, but I can’t. It’s the sad and honest truth. When I slept, I would dream about my job and all the things I hadn’t completed that day. On the weekends, my email was constantly open and refreshing just in case a client needed something before Monday. On weeknights, If I made it home before my husband went to bed, it was a great night. Most nights, however, were not quite like that. The day I received the news, something inside me broke. I started asking questions like, “Am I not competent enough to handle the demands of this job?” “Did I make the wrong career choice?” “Was I not good enough for them?” “Did I really fail this early in life?”
For those of you who are lucky enough to have never asked yourself these questions, be thankful. Those simple questions can eat away at your spirit. Each day that you can’t provide an answer, a piece of yourself tears away. You suddenly feel detached from the world around you, wondering if it really matters if you get out of bed or not. Suddenly, daytime television is your only solace. I’m not sure I could count the number of Criminal Minds episodes I’ve watched in the last couple months. It’s a struggle to pull yourself up and convince your broken spirit that you are both intelligent and fully capable of handling the demands of a difficult job.
That’s when the lingering, metaphorical fork enters your life – you are finally given a choice. You can begrudgingly choose the left and remain balled up in a fit of self-pity and anger, cursing the world for dealing you this crappy hand. Or you can get up, hold your head high and choose to walk proudly to the right. I chose to go right.
I’m not jaded into thinking this path is without pain or disappointments. I know this route will be just as treacherous, if not more so, than the one I left behind. Because, let’s be honest. It would be much easier to stay in sweatpants all day, downing bags of Cheetos at both a disgusting and impressive rate. I wouldn’t have to face the fear of rejection, I wouldn’t have to set myself up for future disappointments. You can’t fail yourself when you don’t try, right? Along the path I chose, I will have to face my fears, my inner demons, before arriving at the end. This path will be longer and much more “dark and twisty” (Grey’s Anatomy, anyone?). But I know the day I do reach the endpoint, I will be a better person. I will know infinitely more about myself and how I want to shape my future. For now, I’m jut strapping myself in for a bumpy ride. What is it all those wise people say, “Take it one day at a time.” I’m beginning to think there’s a great deal of truth in those simple words…
*Lyric Title: Imagine Dragons “Demons”*