No, I don’t watch Marie Kondo but I support the concept of decluttering and removing the things that don’t bring you joy anymore. This could be some old friends collecting dust, your job that makes you work 7 days a week or even a rib or two to get that waistline snatched (I am joking, we promote healthy body images on this blog)
Remember when we were growing up and the adults around us, even the kids in high school just seemed so much bigger. They looked like they got it all sorted. The freedom we imagined they had, the responsibilities, being able to have your own money etc IT WAS A LIE AND I WANT A REFUND. It’s not like society or school have ever painted a very realistic portrait of what the ‘real world’ actually entails.
In actual fact it’s a lot of choices, a lot of paths. Some diverge, some meet again. There may not be university or kids. There may be discovery of a new talent or a life event that changes your life. What I’m saying is that the path of life is an individual extraordinary mess for each one of us. One path uniquely tailored and destined for you.
I learnt this lesson some years ago and I have been trying my best to embrace it, I mean as much as a recovering perfectionist’s anxious mind will allow (baby steps). This led me to working on and doing a lot of different things, whether it be writing for publications on travel or packing up and moving to the motherland of Somalia, I began to say yes to opportunities and not shy away from them.
If you’re familiar with my journey in the past year (this is a good place to begin) you will know that I moved to Somalia. The opportunity was incredible, the rooms and people I had access to a dream, the little kids and women that I was serving, everything. But as much as I enjoyed what I did, I knew that the environment and work culture I was working in would lead to my burnout if I wasn’t consciously checking in with myself. So when it was all said and done, I decided to hand in my notice because no work situation is worth my wellness and the light that drives me.
Now I understand people’s comments that a year is too short of a time to throw in the towel. I understand when people say that not having another job lined up isn’t the smartest maneuver. I get the reservations, but those are other people’s fears informed by their own experiences and circumstances…not mine.
You see, I spent all of my teen years, planning the perfect path and later learnt that such a thing is a myth. Then I learnt more about life, and realized that I don’t ever want my career to define my life. But rather my life to inform it. What I mean by this is that, to me it doesn’t matter whether I leave this job or I freelance for a while or I take a month to do nothing, because checking in with myself, being fulfilled, feeding my soul, making sure my mind is right are my priorities.
Here’s the truth: no one will value you or look out for you as much as you will for yourself. I had instances where I legitimately felt guilty for leaving, to be honest I would have left even earlier had I not. I think partly it had to do with always wanting to perform to the best of my ability and not let my team down and in this case the entire department was myself and my supervisor, which meant I covered the advocacy, policy and campaign work across 6 offices by myself. I knew if I left, there would be a huge vacuum that would handicap the good work being done. But let’s be honest any office that values the people and the good work being done, wouldn’t risk it like this and it isn’t two people’s responsibility to keep one of the most important departments running. I knew that I always poured all of me into everything I did, and that I wouldn’t be met half way to accomodate some of my needs.
There is no such thing as coincidences. There are your God-given talents and there is the path that Allah swt presents you with. What connects the two is how willing and ready you are to seize the moment and do the damn thing. Yes, we may not have our futures figured out, but these tiny moments are usually the ‘signs’ that people speak of. Trust your intuition in order to steer your life.
In moments like this we all reveal to ourselves how unknowingly we can be incredibly self-deprecating. Do you know your worth? Will you settle for less? I’m not telling you to be at level Kanye, but I’m saying that each one of us have to have a minimum standard of self-belief and conviction in what we do and what we deserve period. Not just in the workplace, but in all aspects of life. That little voice in your mind that makes you doubt yourself, that isn’t your voice, those are usually external influences and you need to be ready to confront what your subconscious has absorbed to be truth.
I have some insight to what’s next but not the clearest picture nevertheless I’m grateful. Grateful for my circumstances, grateful for my family and friends. Grateful for the love in my life. Grateful for health and sound mind. Grateful that I woke up this morning when many didn’t. Grateful for my talents and skills. Grateful for all the struggles and challenges that teach me more about myself and life. Filled up, spilling over and so in love with life. I am anxious and fearful of this next chapter but when I have so much goodness around me, I have faith that the unknown, the future will unfold the way He has deemed best for me, and He knows best while we know not.
So always remember that life is never linear, but rather a continuous wave of learning. Don’t let it carry you, don’t go against it, but be in tune with it and allow uncertainty to be something you become comfortable with. Believe that you have greatness within you and unlock who you are meant to be, not who you are thought to be. You got this…I promise you, you have everything you need within you. Just be still and learn yourself.