Approximately 10 years ago, I experienced what I like to call my "Mary Tyler Moore" moment. I had spent the previous year adjusting to divorced life, and had recently completed my master's program. Those two events were pretty darn trying and exhausting, to say the least. Yet, I had persevered, and ended that year by purchasing my first home - a condo in the city.
The day I actually signed the six million documents that made the condo my own, I was elated, yet still felt a little odd. The last house I had bought was with someone - my husband, my life partner, and also the one who would help foot the bill. This is a big deal when purchasing something that will take 30 years to pay off. Really. So, you can imagine my combination of joy mixed with a little bit of overwhelm and melancholy when I took my new keys, and opened the doors to my new, empty condo… all by myself. I thought I'd feel instant happiness when I walked through the doors. Instead, I felt a little "off," and perhaps a bit sad, having no one to share the newness with. In those first moments in the condo, I walked around its five rooms. With none of my stuff there (I was waiting for the movers), all I really had to do was open closets, run the water, check out the fridge and look out the window.
After a few minutes of doing this, the enormity of my solo-ness got to me. I needed to get out and get some fresh air. I decided it was a good time to explore the neighborhood. I grabbed my keys and a twenty dollar bill, thinking at the very least I could pick up some snacks. Just a block from my new place I discovered a poster shop and for some reason was drawn inside. Literally the second rack of posters I looked at took my breath away, for in it was a poster that captured everything I loved. It was a flamenco dancer on the streets of one of my favorite Spanish villages. The bright colors were perfect for my new condo. I felt I must have it, and asked the man how much it was, regretting I hadn't brought my credit card. It felt so perfect, I'd have paid almost anything for it.
"Twenty dollars?" I asked, not believing it.
The man nodded, grabbed by money, and handed me the poster… obviously not getting the significance of this transaction.
I couldn't believe the poster cost the exact amount that I had brought with me. Tears welled up in my eyes as in a flash I felt the past year wash through my body, bringing me to this moment where I realized that things were going to be okay. Life doesn't always turn upside down in every direction; it sometimes brings you exactly where you need to be, and equips you with exactly what you need when you get there.
Well, needless to say, I bought the poster, and with a satisfied clip, returned to my condo. Yes, I was alone. The future was uncertain, but somehow that moment had been the reassurance that I needed that I was, indeed, going to make it after all.
Today, ten years later, I'm preparing to move to a new house with my new husband. While I am excited at the prospect of the move and love the place we're moving, of course I have a few anxieties as we go forward. The future is the future after all, and we never quite know what it brings. It helps to remember that the unknown future is a mix of moments that will scare and delight us, combined with the realities of the present that also bounce from ideal to not ideal, because after all… this is life we're talking about.
What about you? Are you in the midst of life, wondering if you're going to make it through? A rough, uncertain time in your career? Perhaps you are in the thick of raising young kids and you're wondering if you'll ever catch up on your sleep and your life and feel human again. Maybe you are desperately seeking something- a partner, job, home, purpose… or all of the above.
Whatever the case, remember that In light of every uncertainty life delivers, those moments that surprise and delight are waiting for us all, maybe just a block away from where we are right now. Just tell yourself… you ARE gonna make it after all.