Although I declared 2017 to be the year of delight, I realized that this year has also been about space—clearing and creating space in my life for whatever wants to be next. I’ve spent much of the summer clearing out clutter—clothes, books, kitchen items, jewelry, glassware. You name it; if it no longer fit me, literally or figuratively, I let it go.
I crave space and function best when I give myself the space I need. Physical space, emotional space, visual space, breathing space, living space. I’ve never been someone who thrives on a packed schedule, running from one commitment to another with barely time to catch a breath and switch gears.
As I have been recently reminded, few things delight me as much as space. Space feels like freedom, the gifts of which are often awareness and enlightenment.
Here’s the tricky thing about space, though: It’s often uncomfortable. We’re socialized to be busy, to fill every possible moment so we appear productive, valuable, and successful—and believe that we are. When confronted with space, we avoid it.
I did that very thing last fall. I finally had some space from moving and settling into the new house, and a friend called offering me some freelance work. I accepted. I had the time so why not? She was offering me the chance to do something I was good at it—even though I left a job doing that very thing almost three years earlier. The opportunity certainly appealed to my social self—recognition of my talents and instant self-worth in the form of earned income.
Although taking on the work consumed the space I had created, I’m not sorry I took the job. The money has afforded me additional space. The work also served to confirm what I already knew but my social self had let me conveniently forget, which is that this particular work no longer fits me.
The challenge with having space is that we don’t like living with uncertainty. It’s that discomfort that makes it all too easy to fall back to something that feels familiar and comfortable, even if we know it’s not the right thing for us. One of my favorite quotes from Danielle LaPorte’s Fire Starter Sessions is “Be careful what you’re good at. You could be doing it a long time.”
When you’ve decided to not do something you know you’re good at in order to find something new you hope to be good at, it can be hard to have faith that you are where you need to be and that you will find your way. I was recently wading in this pit when I happened upon a gem randomly tucked into some files I was cleaning out. It was exactly what I needed to hear. (Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I originally read this or who penned it.)
If you’re currently struggling with being in that liminal space, I hope this message helps you, too. And if not now, perhaps you’ll stumble upon it in the future when you most need it.
Everything is going to be OK.
You do not have to always have all the answers.
You do not need to make money to make a difference.
You do not need to have valuable stuff to feel valued.
You do not need to call yourself by a fancy title to feel proud of who you are.
You do not need to worry so much about what you won’t be anymore.
You do not need to know what you are meant to do before you start doing something.
You do not need to know where you will end up in order to take the first step.
You only have to take the first step.
Take the step.
Then take another.
And remember this: You are the only person who can pursue your happiness. You are the only person who can listen to your own heart. You are the only person who can nurture your soul.
You are the only person who can save your life.
Do it. Save yourself.
Everything is going to be OK.