It is December eighth and I find myself thinking about a piece that I wrote awhile back when I was studying and working in London. I talked about my life being one big puzzle and I was in there, piecing together parts, gluing them over and shaking my head in frustration when it all didn’t work out how it was supposed to. A sample from my musings:
Before I came abroad, I thought I’d pieced the puzzle together. Everything seemed to line up – what I wanted to do, where I wanted to live, how my future would probably play out. It was neat and tidy and, in my mind, there was definitely a pretty little bow on top.
And at the end of my time there, I observed:
After my time at The Cogency, my puzzle pieces are scattered about – lost in unknown imaginations and possibilities. And that’s just the way I like it. If I’ve learned anything from my time here, it’s that there is no possible way of nailing down fate.
Every plan and vision and idea is just a human attempt at making sense of the real confusion that is the future. It’s only natural. But the real fun rests in the knowledge that you shouldn’t even try to figure it out – you’ll probably end up restlessly searching for invisible pieces while the reality sits in front of you, waiting to be put together.
My semester working in London has left me more confused than when I came. I don’t know where I want to live or work or travel. I don’t know what I want in the next year or five or ten. And I don’t think that I should be trying to find that out.
Oh, how wise you were, young Mary. Because it seems as though I’ve once again found myself right back where I started – with my plans and my ideas and my cute little bow on top – only to find that they’ve been scattered and confused and ruffled up once again. I am at the end of the year, fresh off of a beautiful voyage with my outbox full of job applications and my direction woefully unguided. I suppose I thought that by this time, a mystical enchanting light would have descended from the heavens with brilliant and perfect direction for my future path, complete with neon signs and flashing arrows. Or perhaps I just thought that my travels would illuminate what I was meant to do, where I was meant to go, who I was meant to be.
Whatever I thought, I was wrong. Woefully and haughtily wrong.
As I look back on my reflections after my last big jaunt in Europe, I see a sort of blindness that makes me slightly embarrassed to write about: though I have been shown time and time again that I am not all-knowing, all-seeing, all-feeling, I still have a tendency to press onward through life with the supposition that I just might be. Sure, I might be able to justify this sort of behaviour with Pinterest-ready phrases like
Fear of failure is the biggest barrier to creative thinking
Thomas Edison failed a million-ba-jillion times before he succeeded
But, really, I know that this sort of thinking can also be a barrier to true knowing, seeing, feeling. If one thinks as though one already knows-sees-feels all there is to be known-seen-felt then how could one possibly be open to learning, to seeing new perspectives, to feeling vulnerable and confused – the true sparks to living creatively and loving wholly?
It is here that I usually start arguing with myself – for, surely, there needs to be a balance between confidence and humility. Yet, I always wonder, where the hell is that elusive line? How do I find that balance? Can I find the balance? Or are being confident and being humble mutually exclusive traits?
Honestly, I don’t know.
Maybe it will always be this cycle that I find myself in right now. I may always walk into a situation with my chest puffed out and find myself deflated and confused by the end, wandering humbly about until my confidence comes back and I need another hole popped in me. And while I hope that I’ll one day find myself with normal posture and no need for either holes or patches, having finally learnt to walk the line, I can’t say that I can see that far ahead.
Oh, look! I just might be learning something.