It’s Okay to Be Where You Are

From dreamstime.com

We arrive in this world with no suitcase full of provisions. Nor do we have a map to tell us which way to go. All we have are the paths before us. Some are dirt roads with footprints of those who came before us. Some are paved with stone, with no trace or trail to follow. No matter where you’ve been or where you wish to go, there is one thing that is important for you to know…

It’s okay to be where you are.

I wish someone had said this to me years ago. When I first entered the working world in my early twenties I had this idea of where I was going on my journey. I was going to move back home to New York, get a teaching job in the Board of Education and move out of my parents house. I had it all planned. It happened for so many others. Why wouldn’t it happen for me? Well, it didn’t. I moved back home just in time for there to be a hiring freeze throughout the Department of Education in New York City. All my plans went down the drain.

There were no road signs to warn me. I wasn’t where I thought I would be. I was only just starting out. I panicked.

This fear snuck up on me again recently. In a few months I’ll be turning 30 which has caused me to reflect on all the things I wanted to accomplish but haven’t yet: a job that provides me with stability, finishing and publishing a novel  and saving up enough money to buy a house.

And you know what comes next…once you start reflecting on all the things you should have accomplished or expected that you would by this point in time, you start to compare yourself to others. The taunts of “where I should be” and “where everyone else is” on this journey echo through our minds.

This is something we all experience. Maybe you started with a company 10 or more years ago and you think you should be at the top of the company by now like some of your co-workers. Or perhaps you’re reaching the age you wanted to be married by and/or have children. Then there’s that trip you wanted to take to London. Your friends went recently and you saw their pictures of the bright red phone booths, Big Ben and the beautiful greenery in the countryside. It looked gorgeous and you wonder why you haven’t gone yet. And by far the most painful, losing a dear loved one you had expected to be traveling this journey through life with you.

Thanks to social media, we are bombarded with the “success stories” of others. Everyone seems to be in a better place than you – emphasis on the word “seems.” Take away the camera and keyboard and you’ll find that everyone is just as insecure about where they are on their journey.

And for that moment when we realize everyone is insecure, we feel okay. We feel better knowing that others are insecure just like us. We feel justified in our feelings. But I’m here to challenge that feeling of insecurity. Don’t be insecure about where you are because you are meant to be here — exactly where you are.

I want to tell you that all the things that happened that were not in your plans were a good thing. All the things that you considered to be roadblocks are what helped you evolve into the strong person you are today. You can now take on the things you thought you could never do.

So be where you are. Own it. Own every “wrong turn” you have taken because it has brought you here. It’s okay to carry any losses with you as long as you don’t let them weigh you down. If you’re in one place in life but desire to be in another, first allow yourself to bloom where you are already planted. You’ll be surprised what heights you will grow to. And most importantly, don’t worry about where everyone else is on their journey. Your journey is not the same as theirs. Your journey has and always will be uniquely yours, whether you choose the path with footprints or choose to pave your own.