"We do not think ourselves into new ways of living, we live ourselves into new ways of thinking." ― Richard Rohr
. . .
After exiting my last company, I started a much-needed sabbatical to relax and discern my future. Sounds amazing, right?
Going into this time, I thought relaxing and dreaming would have been easy.
Was I ever wrong!
This period has perhaps been one of the biggest challenges I've faced in my adulthood.
. . .
The first half of my career was built primarily on stumbling into things.
As a high school junior, I applied to various universities that seemed "cool." I naively had no idea why I should have picked one over the other. After being accepted to all five, I chose one that seemed like it'd be the best fit. In retrospect, all of them would have been fine.
After college, I turned my part-time job on campus into a full-time one. Easy.
When I realized I needed to get the hell out of the small college town I was living in, I applied for a job in New York City. And I got one solely because of where I went to college.
So on and so on. Life just happened.
. . .
Selling my last company was in all ways, except financially, a big ball of stressful madness. I can't go into details due to long, boring contracts my attorney told me to read and sign, but I'm glad to put that chapter behind me.
And once I was free from all of that, I faced something I'd never experienced before:
a large space of
If my life were an ancient map, there'd be a massive "Terra Incognita" stamped over this period.
At first, this nothingness created anxiety:
How am I supposed to create something again from nothing?
Was the last success a fluke that I just stumbled into?
Could I do it again?
What if I fail miserably at whatever I decided to do next?
Would moving into a new career bring me energy and joy?
I was faced with a million options. I had enough resources and experience to do many of them, but logically determining "the right one" brought heavy angst.
. . .
Perhaps you are facing a similar nothingness -- from selling your company, starting a new career, losing a loved one, or moving to an unfamiliar city.
I'm still figuring this out, but six months in, here's what I've started to learn.
. . .
That nothingness isn't actually nothingness, it just seems like it at first.
When you wake up in the middle of the night in a pitch black room, your eyes aren't able to see anything. But wait a few moments and you'll start to see things that you weren't able to see before.
The soul seems to work in the same way.
Six months later, I find my senses are heightened. I've started learning how to see all the wonderful things around me with more clarity; how to hear people as they speak and not impose my own voice on them; what's valuable and what's not; how to slow down and enjoy and breathe; how to hear God in new, subtle ways.
And I now have more space to dig deep down and change, adapt, fix, discard, learn, add, and grow. To live into a new way of thinking!
I don't have the pressures of my past life -- to make payroll, to win new clients, to live under the stressful life that I had previously created. The nothingness imposes none of that... no need to please anyone but myself and my God.
And I can experiment and try small things without the requirement that I must be successful in everything. What a luxury!
. . .
I don't have all the answers. I won't ever. And many days I am still an anxious mess. But I've come to see this nothingness as a massive opportunity to simply live. I'm now certain that the next chapter, the second half of my career, will be better because of it. And for that, I am grateful.
. . .
Image: Public Domain, Wikimedia