a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Archive for November 11, 2012

finding clarity in chaos (sunday setup 11/11/12)

< by Jill >

One of the greatest lies we tell ourselves is that we’re supposed to have everything figured out. It’s not just the whispers of the inner ear, it’s also the windbags who suggest visiting a career advisor, life coach, someone — anyone — who can parcel life into neat steps and seal it up in Tupperware.

About five years ago, I had my own air-tight life plan. It went like this: teach second grade, marry my boyfriend, and ride off into the sunset in a hybrid minivan named Stallion. Then, life happened. The guy jumped ship, the job dissolved, and I found myself alone in a cockroach-infested apartment on Chicago’s south side thinking, But I had it all figured out!

Nope nope nope. I did not. In that pitiful moment I swore off long-term life planning. I still maintain a calendar, but it’s with the acknowledgment that anything could happen.

A month ago, my beloved boss left his position for a different job. On Wednesday, a dear coworker will also begin a new career. As we speak, Nate‘s hunting for a non-profit gig. A year ago, none of these people could have predicted that they’d be in this position at this moment in time. Here’s the kicker: Their lives are more interesting than ever.

Whether traumatic or joyous, major life changes almost always refine us into better people. We can’t typically anticipate the force that will recalibrate the compass, but we can acknowledge that it embodies an enormous potential for clarity, direction, and personal growth.

Just remember: You don’t need to have it all figured out.

[This week’s theme: Finding clarity in chaos]