The world works in mysterious ways and I can’t help but always trust it, even if I’m just being naive.
It’s become rare for me to have time at the end of the night to curl up to my laptop, plug in my headphones and let words and thoughts go where they may. (That used to be my regular routine for my entire adolescence/young adulthood, if I remember correctly). And I owe you all a big update. (No news, just where this point in life has gotten me.)
In a couple of weeks I’ll be closing in on my first full year back at home. My college days seem a little hazy now as I’ve found that the first year out is really just a test to who and what you really are.
Even though I truly wholeheartedly damned miss college — the freedom, youth, zero responsibility count and thrill of learning something new every single day — you really begin to find yourself outside of it. (If you remember my post from a year ago “Why Postgrad Has Taught Me To ‘Return To Love'”, my recklessly ambitious soul was unhealthily obsessed with work.)
For the past year, I was convinced that my stay here was temporary. I struggled for months to make myself a home of this place because I was stripped away from the friends, dreams and places that have inspired and brought out the best in me; I returned to a place of old limiting dreams and desires that no longer serve a purpose; and I am constantly surrounded by people who are content and comfortable with a slower-paced lifestyle.
I basically felt like I didn’t belong.
But, as I was a stranger in my own town with nowhere to be, nobody to run to and nothing to look forward to, my endless naivety and hopelessly anxious soul-that-is-hyperaware-of-her-life-and-career almost saved me.
I knew I had talent, drive, two degrees that somehow say I am smart, and a loyal following of friends, readers, bloggers, musicians, classmates and/or mentors who all see or have seen something in me. And it took this past year for me to fully, really realize that.
I’ve consistently had an online presence for the past decade of my life — I’ve blogged, taken countless selfies pre-Facebook, recapped experiences at concerts and music festivals and that one time I auditioned to be “Dia’s Biggest Fan In LA” or had my foot fall asleep while interviewing Kina Grannis. I’ve basically grown up on here, and you’ve (embarrassingly) been able to witness all of that.
Just in the past few months, people have walked into my life and become little “lights” and “guides” for me throughout this fickle point in my life.
There’s the brother of my favorite singer-songwriter who reached out me to bestow his and his sister’s decade-long wisdom of living a life of music and following your soul’s work. He’s given me impromptu lessons in rock history and master songwriting tips to craft the right song and produce something that is genuine, and you. A friend, a mentor and constant source of guidance and motivation to write and play just a little everyday.
There’s the local group of musicians who have had a long history of traveling, producing and recording artists overseas, as well as being a trusted gigging group throughout all of California, to somehow find me as I gawk over their performance at a Saturday morning’s stroll at the farmers market. They have seen something in me and my potential and have opened a door to me at a time I was just about to give up, throw the towel in and plan to move to LA.
There’s the stranger turned someone-who-I-feel-like-I’ve-known-all-my-life who I have suddenly crossed paths with because of an innocent Facebook message, which has led into a deep relationship based around our dreams, careers and highly independent and ambitious souls. This person has allowed me to see the parts in me that I don’t always see in myself, and has reminded me of who I am and still can be. Above all, I can feel my heart beginning to open up because of this person — something that God knows how it happened, but must be happening for a reason. And I’ve been feeling more and more like myself every single day. That’s something else.
And there are the people in my life who are there every day, seeing me complain about being bored or getting up at 3am in the morning, struggling to find the will or energy to write an overdue article or new cover song, having a bit too much fun slinging back lattes and cappuccinos for sometimes-snobby but most-times-friendly customers, or hearing me play the same guitar riffs over and over again until I can sing a melody in my head and write it down for future reworking. These people see me in all my naive glory, and how can I not be thankful?
This past year has been a roller coaster of me thinking I’m okay and motivated one day to being completely lost the next, and it’s taken me up until this point to finally and genuinely say that I am okay with where I am at this point in my life. I see change; I see refocus; and I see a light.
The other day, I was talking to my friend about these new changes and realizations I’ve had.
Me: “My brother keeps telling me I’m going to be like Dia. Struggling artist forever. But I told him I want to be successful and entrepreneurial like Meg. And he said if I want to be like Meg I have to be like you and start my own business!”
Her: “Hahaha, no! Be Rachel. Seriously. Go your own pace. You’re successful as you are.”
Me: “True. As long as I’m living out my life in the way that I love, that is success already! There’s no one definition.”
Her: “Speak! No regrets when you’re doing you!”
No one knows you and your journey better than yourself, and you ought to honor that. There’s no one definition of success, and whatever success is to you is different to someone else.
I feel that we all ultimately want to live a life that we love — no dreams or people or things we’re still chasing or finding. It’s that point where we can say we are proud of our lives. And we are proud of who we are.
I am a work in progress, as we all are. And we ought to honor that.
With love and honesty,