When in Doubt, Listen to the Voices

edmonton-skyline-photo

There is a part of all of us that knows what we want and which direction we should go in, but most of us are too scared to listen to it. We allow other voices – doubt, fear, outside expectations – to drown it out so that we don’t have to face it. So that we don’t have to take a risk on what we really want.

My target, my watchword, for 2014 is authenticity. Doing the things that are right for me. Embracing who I am, rather than straining for who I think I should be. Listening to that little voice that knows me better than anyone else and will guide me, sure-footed, every time, if I would just let it.

None of that has been easy. But I am finding that, the more I sift through the cacophony in my head and really search for that voice, the easier it is becoming to find it.

The first time was quitting my miserable job. I let fear stand in the way for awhile, convincing myself more than once that I would be fine, putting off handing in my resignation letter, and allowing fear of others’ disappointment to deter me. But I pushed through, and it turned out great.

Recently, I was offered a promotion at work. I thought about it for a few days, going back and forth at least 10 times, before deciding to accept it. But it never sat right; I spent all of my time re-convincing myself to be excited, that it was something I should do, that it was something I wanted to do. The problem was, though, that I immediately felt like I was mourning the future I was supposed to have.

Mere days before I was made the offer, Bryan and I were in Edmonton, at Remedy, one of our favorite places. As we drank kashmiri chai and ate palak paneer wraps, we discussed how much we missed the city, how we both felt pulled to return. How Calgary was lovely but Edmonton was home. We broached the idea of moving back, sooner rather than later. I felt a spark of hope ignite.

But it was quashed when I accepted the promotion. Over and over, I told myself that it was good, that it would be a great experience, that there was no way I could turn down the opportunity. More money, responsibility, power.

For weeks, I warred with myself, denying what I truly wanted because I felt like I couldn’t want it, that it was foolish and irresponsible and people would judge me. I referred to myself as “flaky” over and over.

Then I had a long and honest talk with my mom about what I wanted, and why. And I realized that it wasn’t wrong to turn down an opportunity that didn’t feel right and it wasn’t wrong to want to return to a place that has gotten into my blood, that pulls at me with more force than I have ever experienced in all my nomadic wanderings.

There isn’t anything wrong with listening to that voice that was telling me I was making the wrong choice. It was wrong to ignore it.

So. We made the decision to move back to Edmonton. The next day, I told my boss I could no longer accept the promotion. I told a few friends and started looking at apartments. We aren’t going until October. Our wedding is in September and adding a move to that whole craziness sounded like a whole new level of insanity. So we’ll wait. But even though there are a few shitty things between now and our triumphant return – my conversation with my boss is over, thank God, but moving is always a bitch – I feel at peace. From the moment we officially decided, I’ve been so full of joy I can barely contain it. It feels right on a visceral level, like pieces falling into place.

That’s what happens when you listen to the voice. Now maybe next time it will be easier, and I can spare myself the weeks of obsession and rumination.

Old-Strathcona-Gate-Edmonton

 

When in Doubt, Listen to the Voices