I’m going to begin this post with a quote I found after I was mostly done writing it, but it fits perfectly with what I’m about to say:
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” Joseph Campbell
I feel like so much of my life has been a series of unexpected outcomes. Despite careful thought and planning, so many aspects of my life have not turned out remotely how I thought they would. My career path for example has certainly not been what I thought it would be from when I was just starting college. I went from thinking I wanted to major in computer science to ending up with two degrees in biology when all was said and done, with a couple of diversions in between (pharmacy school and an occupational therapy program were considerations at one point during college).
My personal life has also not turned out how I thought it would other than the state I live in. When I was a young girl my family and I visited North Carolina and I fell in love with the state so much I knew one day I would end up living here. This, despite the fact that I looked at jobs in Atlanta, Georgia and the Washington, D.C. area up into Maryland in addition to North Carolina when I was finishing up graduate school and looking for a job. After visiting both aforementioned places and then visiting North Carolina, I knew North Carolina was the place I wanted to put down roots. I didn’t even have a job offer when I moved to North Carolina, but the economy was booming at the time and I was confident I would find a job in the research field soon enough, which I did. The rest is history as far as that is concerned.
Still, outside of my choice of place of residence, almost nothing in my life has turned out like I thought it would. Even my current job, which I’ve had for the past 20 years didn’t turn out like I thought. When I first moved to North Carolina, someone recommended I apply for a job where I currently work and I told them I didn’t want to do that kind of work for a living. I wouldn’t even consider it.
After a couple of years working at a university, my boss announced he was retiring soon so I started looking for a job somewhere else. I applied for a position at the place someone had first recommended to me before and I got the job. Even then I didn’t think I would really want to stay at the job that long and I told them I was only going to work at this place for a couple of years until something better came along. I’m not even sure why I had in my head that I didn’t want to work at this place or do this kind of research.
Pretty quickly I found out that yes, indeed I did want to do that kind of research. Not only that, I love that kind of research and love my boss and co-workers so much I’ve never even considered working anywhere else and have plans on staying at my current work place until I can retire. Just another example of something not turning out how I thought it would in my life.
A few years after I moved to North Carolina, I went through a rough patch in my life. Basically, my marriage was ending but I wasn’t ready to accept that it was over. I didn’t want to admit to myself and others that my marriage was over because I thought everyone else would think of me as a failure. Because my marriage failed, I myself was a failure, or so that’s how my mind was working at the time.
Every day on my way home from work, I would cry in the car. I wasn’t ready to admit my marriage was over but I was miserable. Every morning I would throw up and that continued for a month straight. One day I was waiting to pull onto the main road from my work place and I looked at the car in front of me and read their license plate. It said, “AcceptIt.” Accept it. Almost immediately I stopped crying. It was like an epiphany hit me. I needed to accept that my marriage was over in order to move on with my life.
It was as if a huge burden was lifted from my shoulders after that. Once I accepted that my marriage was over and just because my marriage failed didn’t mean I personally was a failure, I could finally sort through my emotions and deal with everything I had been going through.
I feel like so much has happened in 2020 that has been out of my hands and my life has once again been turned upside-down. Sure, COVID-19 has turned most people’s lives around in ways they never thought possible. Races were cancelled or postponed in my personal life and travel plans were also cancelled or postponed but those things are trivial. I know many other people had to deal with more serious issues like lost jobs, deaths in the family, and the postponement of major events they had planned.
Some things have happened in my life that I’m not going to get into the details of but suffice to say someone else made a major decision for me and, I’ve had to accept it once again. Accept that everything will work out in the end so I can move on with my life. Accept that everything happens for a reason and just because we can’t see that reason at the moment doesn’t mean we won’t see the reason later in life.
I’m not sure how I feel about fate. I feel like we all make our own choices in life but sometimes other people make choices for us that also effect our lives, sometimes in a profound way. On the other hand, I feel like we all have a pre-determined path we’re supposed to follow. Maybe if we decide to not follow that path, our lives will be harder than they’re supposed to be.
All I know for sure is I’ve learned no matter what happens in life, if we don’t accept it, things will be that much harder for us. It’s like beating your head against a brick wall trying to fight changes that just aren’t in your best interest versus going with the flow and accepting your current path in life. Right now, all I can try to do to make the best of things is accept it and know that everything will work out in the end how they’re supposed to.
I know I don’t normally post things like this, but I felt the need to get my thoughts out. Times are tough right now, so maybe someone else needed to hear these words as well. If anyone reading this wants to reach out to me to discuss anything going on in their life, feel free to send me an email at runningtotravel at gmail. I know I could certainly use more friends in my life right now and I would be happy to have another person in my life to talk to.