Last week, I pulled a dining room chair onto the porch, grabbed a blanket and sat up with our neighbor listening to the lake boom and crack as the ice expanded in the Alaskan night.
We talked about how awesome it is to live here, how our life suits us to a tee, and watched a meteor shower light up the sky to prove it. Sitting there, it hit me how radically my life has changed.
Not that long ago, feeling gut-punched after an interview, I was at the end of my rope.
My former marriage was on the rocks, I hated the white-picket-fence desk job I thought I’d love, and we never had enough money.
In my 20’s I thought if I got the right gig, made a perfect southern pecan pie, and followed every self-help book out there, and ‘fixed myself’ whatever that meant, that I’d be happy. But it didn’t work. I was lay-down-in-the-ditch miserable. I couldn't imagine spending another 20 years like that.
My future felt as hopeless.
This interview was all rainbows and butterflies. They asked what I liked, what I was passionate about, about my dreams, and my hopes for the future. I thought I was on Mars. Every time they asked me another question about myself that wasn’t work-related, I drew a blank. I couldn't even tell them my favorite color.
I’d been so focused on getting a degree, a job, a husband, a house, and all the things I thought "I was supposed to be doing" that I had never thought about what I wanted or even what I liked.
On the way home, I turned off and parked at the overlook. Denali and the entire Alaska range was visible. Lit up in majestic, pink alpenglow. Tourists in white tennis shoes pay all kinds of money for a cloudy glimpse of “The Great One,” but I couldn't take it in. I sat there numb. Stunned.
Who the hell was I? What on earth DID I want to do with my life?
I had no idea how important those innocent interview questions would be, and how fast my life would change when I decided to find the answers.
Today, as I sit at my desk writing this to you, my window overlooks this beautiful frozen lake, in a constant sunrise/sunset pink this time of year with our short days. A tuft-eared squirrel chirps a demand for more seeds on the windowsill.
My life is full of everything I love. Small planes, wilderness, winter, adventure. My partner and I have a relationship that is not just supportive, but it’s fun, even though we are total opposites. I run two successful businesses that both push me and fulfill me. And know myself to my core.
I couldn't have had any of this without the inner journey that began with those confronting questions. Cheers to confronting questions.
How about you? What are your dreams? Are you where you want to be?