Why do I keep coming to this place alone? I asked myself as I sat at the bar of my favorite Vietnamese restaurant in Greenwhich Village. I have a weird addiction to pho and this was the first place in New York that I tried it so I call it my favorite. Which I suppose isn’t fair since I haven’t tried any others. But anyway. I come here at least once a week because a tasty bowl of pho is only $8 and that’s a steal here. There is no wifi, cell strength is hella weak, and it is always crowded. I should also mention that I truly hate eating by myself, but I love the food so I come alone anyway. In this weird solitude where I am ironically surrounded by other people, I have a lot of time to think. A couple of weeks ago during my lonely ass lunch as my podcast was going off, I had this epiphany about my life. And every week since then, I kept getting these little signs reinforcing that message.
Is the suspense killing you? Ok here it is. I realized that I focus so much on getting to the next level in my career and in my life that I treat the space I’m in with total disregard. We are taught to always aim high, the best is yet to come, your greater is ahead, but we never acknowledge the place we’re actually in. We go through all of these tiny storms that are pretty much called your 20’s and we trudge through them reluctantly without paying attention to the lessons that come from these seemingly horrible experiences.
The first sign I received that I was on to something here was from a podcast. If you can’t tell, I love podcasts. You don’t need cell service or wifi to listen to them once they’re downloaded. They’re free and you can learn a lot while being entertained. The latest one I tried out was called The Psychology of Eating. This therapist was helping a 20 something year old girl with her life issues (which I will spare you) but what he said resonated with me so much. He told her that “our 20’s are rough waters but you still have to honor whatever stage of life you’re in.” My face lit up as I listened to him speak my life while I crossed the Manhattan bridge on the Q train. Of course the person across from me noticed my enthusiasm and gave me a puzzled look.
Sign number two came from the pastor of the church I attend here. I am so in love with this church, but that’s another post for another day. In the midst of his emotional sermon, he said that when you are well with your soul, no matter where you are in life you are content. Once again I was filled with enthusiasm that my epiphany was real.
The third and final sign came from my daddy. My dad and I have had a strained relationship the past couple of years, but he’s been communicating a lot with me lately. He is the smartest person I know and I am so thankful for him. My daddy isn’t just well read or “book smart” he has the ability to think critically in the most interesting way about concepts that most people are unable to grasp. It’s hard for me to even put into words the level of intelligence my dad has but maybe this will help. Today he sent me an email of food for thought. At the end he said: take it easy, don’t judge yourself, be patient with yourself for in your patience you possess your soul. Normally I would say ‘wow dad heavy much?’ But given the context of my life recently, this made perfect sense to me.
I say all of that to say that you may be struggling right now. You may be broke, unemployed, alone, afraid, anxious, etc. But you are in that place for a reason and you have to honor it before you can move ahead. By honor it I mean seek understanding for why you’re there, try to learn something about yourself from the experience, and stop kicking your own ass for not being where you feel you should be. Don’t let the storm defeat you. Our 20’s are the time for us to make mistakes, to be confused, to figure things out, and to grow to the next phase. So relax. You’re doing fine. You are exactly where you should be right now. And while you should always be striving for more, you have to honor what you have. Being patient during this confusing time is where you find peace and how you quiet the storm that’s raging inside of you. Consider this, the work you put in is nothing compared to the work you’ll have to do once you reach your goal. Do you really want to be there unprepared for what comes with it?