A New Perspective
They say there is a time for everything. It's like when you read your favorite book again and different themes pop out and intrigue you. Or you seem to really identify with a different character you ignored last time. Remember that Sex and the City episode where the women are at a baby shower in the suburbs and Miranda says, "Maybe it's maturity or the wisdom that comes with age, but the witch in Hansel and Gretel, she's very misunderstood. I mean, the woman builds her dream house and these brats come along and start eating it."
I've always felt that my accomplishments made me who I am. Which always felt terrible because I never accomplished "enough." Which, in turn, made me feel like I wasn't enough. I've always been pretty good at many things, school, friends, sports, relationships, but never highly successful at any of them, in particular my career. I still remember the horrified faces of my parents when I graduated college and took a job at Whole Foods slicing deli turkey. All of that money and school only to have no idea what I wanted to do with my life. The next twenty years I struggled with what to do and who I was. Frankly, it was miserable. I was miserable. I lamented the fact that I never went to grad school or became a lawyer, but deep down knew those things wouldn't help. I had no identity and was drifting through my life.
Unfortunately, there was no upbeat, tidy solution to this crisis. I had to keep waking up and trying. Four years ago, I took a big chance moving to Florida to work for a paleo food service company. I was desperate to have purpose and BE SOMETHING. So, I made a huge decision with very little planning. I packed up everything and drove 30 hours to work with a company as their head chef. To say it was difficult, would be the understatement of my life. I've never been so challenged in all areas of my life as those 9 months. I took a HUGE risk and honestly, it was a disaster. I was lonely, overwhelmed with the responsibility I took on, and it was SOOO hot. Plus, my apartment was not exactly the Ritz. Did I mention the palmetto bugs?? AHHH!! I grew up in Houston, so I've experienced my fair share of cockroaches, but Florida takes it to a whole new level.
Being in Florida, dealing with very different personalities, seeing all of the ups and downs of running a food business, and being uncomfortable every day challenged me to find solace within myself. I was forced to face my limitations. I wasn't the most talented chef and I actually didn't want to do it anymore. I wanted more out my relationships and I didn't want to settle. I had uprooted my life and it wasn't working out. I had failed again. Cue the tears, the shame, the despair. Surprisingly, it didn't come this time. I felt relief. For once in my life, I had a super clear path. I wanted to go back to Colorado and I was going to make a happy life there. I felt it deep within myself. The fact that I could fail without it destroying who I was changed everything for me. I saw myself from a different perspective and with more kindness. Just like when you see the story from a different perspective and it changes everything. Consider Hansel and Gretel from the the witch's view.
With each passing day as I gain more and more experience, I can truly say that what I do doesn't make me who I am. Guess what? This makes everything so much more fun!! I can now embrace new things passionately, knowing that whether I fail or succeed or something in between, I'm steady in who I am.
What would happen if you could look at yourself from a different lens? What would you see? What if you could give yourself a break and embrace failures?