How Embracing the Unknown Changed My Life for the Better

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“Think about how proud your past self would be if they could see you now.”

I adore this quote that’s been remaking the rounds of late. Calling in a moment, no matter how quick, to realize just how FAR you’ve come.

To appreciate the progress of the past days, weeks, and months.

To celebrate the change and transformation that has come, ever so gradually, along the way.

These days, I’m experiencing more joy, growth, and calm in my days than I ever have. To be saying this at this particular phase of life—one where I’m literally making it up as I go along, EVERY SINGLE DAY—has me questioning how I lived for the first forty-odd years of my life.

These days, I’m experiencing more joy, growth, and calm in my days than I ever have. To be saying this at this particular phase of life—one where I’m literally making it up as I go along, EVERY SINGLE DAY—has me questioning how I lived for the first forty-odd years of my life.

I found myself on a path that appeared to be working.

Just five short years ago, I was on a path. A path that seemed to fit in all the expected ways. But quietly, underneath, the cracks were starting to show.

I was corporately employed and thriving in a company in a field + role I adored. Yet, endless lists of business ideas and domain name purchases told a different story. Somehow, even then, I was reaching for a life less conventional, less planned, and less structured.

I was married. Not quite happily, but seemingly fine. We were two ships passing in the night, raising a toddler and chalking our growing divide and resentment up to the natural ebbs and flows of marriage and relationships and work and life.

And I was a multi-tasking juggler. Balancing motherhood with full-time work boosted by a support system of nannies, grandparents, part-time school, and all the development activities I thought were needed for my three-year-old to thrive. My head hurts just thinking about the color blocking rigidity of my calendar in those days.

I thought things were going okay…it wasn’t true.

I was satisfied. Or so I thought. But the amount of therapy, wine, and chatter of anxiety creeping into my head at night told a different story.

A story of a woman hungry for authenticity. For connection and purpose and meaning in my days. A story of a me seeking fun + play + purpose + risk + uncertainty in ways I’d never known.

The amount of therapy, wine, and chatter of anxiety creeping into my head at night told a different story. . . . A story of a woman hungry for authenticity. For connection and purpose and meaning in my days.

The busier I got, the louder and more regular the chatter got.

“Is this it? Why are you not happy when ALL the things are so good? You’re healthy. You’re employed. You’re loved.”

When I could no longer handle my sense of discontent, I started to rebuild my life.

These middle of the night questions soon spiraled into journaling, more therapy, and lots of self-reflection.

At the end of which I started to find myself. And promptly set about tearing apart the life I’d built and knew to rebuild a new one focused on intention, connection, and joy.

This me likes learning new things and taking risks and falling down. Often.

This me is becoming comfortable in the unknown. My inner nerd thrives in the research and the trusting and the just-keep-goingness of it all.

Day-by-day I’m rewriting my story while rewiring my brain to define what success looks like, for me. So much of life as a single mom, an artist and entrepreneur, a woman in her forties navigating dating, is unknown.

I’ve learned to trust that even though I can’t see the full path (or even the next step), my intuition and resilience are strong enough to keep me moving forward.

There is no roadmap. No plan. No guide to tell me (or you) how to do this life.

A few things I’m learning along the way:

The unknown isn’t as scary as I once thought.

Change is uncomfortable. And being uncomfortable is usually a sign of growth.

Getting curious, asking questions, and changing direction is healthy. And nerve-inducing at the same time.

Trusting your intuition is the way to go. If something seems off in your gut, even if it’s aligned perfectly with the plan in your head, you should probably listen.

Not knowing the next step, or even the final destination is okay.

I’m learning, daily, to trust that even though I can’t see the full path, or sometimes the next step, my intuition, resilience, and resourcefulness are strong enough to keep me moving forward. Learning and growing as I go.

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