The Stories We Tell Ourselves About Our Lives

Yesterday I got an email that made me feel like there was a cable of golden light running straight through the middle of me. It was about a potential job. If I get this job, I will have some exciting news to share. But even if I don’t, my reaction to it was instructive.

In a flash I saw how so many of the choices I’d made over the last 10+ years led me to this opportunity, and how it would address so many threads of me that have been dangling lately, needing a competent and loving seamstress.

We all have this instinct to tell stories about ourselves, about why we do the things we do. Sometimes the story feels so right because it aligns with some deep-down things about the kind of person we really want to be. We need to pay attention to those stories.

One of my best friends was with me when I got the email, as was my husband. I read it out loud and my friend said she got chillsit wasn’t the words I was reading, she said, so much as how I was reading them, how they clearly made me feel.

And yet.

I’ve learned about myself in recent years that I am the kind of person who gets really excited about ideas with the power to transform my life overnight. Sometimes I need to take a step back from my excitement at the possibility for a “quick fix” of the existential variety and observe the real desires or concerns at play.

A desire to be seen a certain way. A desire for certain struggles to be eased.

If I get this job a huge “if,” this is a very early conversation – I would love to be able to look back and tell myself the story, “I knew it, I knew it from the first moment” (maybe the way I knew about Jordan).  And to have a story to tell about all the threads that brought me here.

But it will need to be right for more than symbolic reasons. I say that not to undermine the power of symbolism, only to acknowledge it for what it is, and what it isn’t.

Sometimes, in my reaction against how out of touch this world seems to be with its true feelings, I become so enraptured of following my intuition that I can get caught up in the stories in my head – which is ultimately no more mindful than being caught up in any other story.

As much as this might turn out to be a wonderful next chapter, my reaction to the possibility of it may ultimately be the most instructive outcome.

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