When my thoughts wander back to the relationship I had with my very first boyfriend, the beginning of the end is the scene that always comes to mind.

A couple months into dating, we were sitting in the library when he turned and told me that he loved me. Out of the blue. And when I didn’t say anything, he asked me how I felt. Though I knew I was supposed to say it back, the words that actually came out of my mouth were, “I haven’t yet formed my opinions on that particular subject.”

Nerdy. Harsh. And, in his mind, probably the worst possible outcome.

I agonized over that moment for days afterwards. “I just wasn’t prepared,” I told myself. “I just need to practice saying it by myself, and then I’ll be ready for it the next time.” But when the next time came, silence won out again, and I trudged back to my dorm room wondering what was wrong with me.

The only thing wrong with me, of course, was that I’d never been in love.

And that became abundantly clear to me a couple of years later when I fell in love with the person I still love today. It was so easy to look back on those awkward days and see how silly I’d been, thinking I could reason my way into loving someone. It was so easy to look back and see all the signs that it wasn’t meant to be, that there were bigger and better things waiting for me. And I vowed to never make the same mistake again.

Except that I did. The moment I began my professional life.

From my first day on the job, I began telling myself the things I needed to hear. That the work was invigorating. That I felt challenged and appreciated. That this career aligned itself well with my personal goals. That I was happy.

I said it over and over again, to my parents, my friends, myself. I said it so that it would become true. This was what life was offering me, and so I made it my personal responsibility to be satisfied with it.

As you all know, it (fortunately) didn’t work out as planned.

In a moment of desperation, I did exactly what I wanted to do with my life, practicality be damned. And I’ve been doing exactly what I want to do with my life ever since. Some days I look back, and it’s so easy see how silly I’d been, thinking I could reason my way into loving a job. It’s so easy to look back and see all the signs that it wasn’t meant to be, that there were bigger and better things waiting for me.

And I vow to never make the same mistake again.

Today, I hoping you take a small, quiet moment to actually listen to the words you’re telling yourself. You may be surprised to learn that your love, your calling, is just over the horizon, waiting patiently for you to stop believing your own words and finally take that next step.

Hi there! I'll be taking maternity leave during the summer of 2018. If you'd like a pet portrait during this time, feel free to drop me a note (awillsie@gmail.com) and I'll let you know as soon as I'm back to the studio. Thanks! Dismiss