In 2012 I stumbled upon a road that revealed all the answers to me – or so I thought. A public library believed in me and hired me to be part of their outreach team. I didn’t even know what this title meant at the time and I thought they had made a mistake until I started working and fell in love with the job. The questions about my future vanished. I pushed them behind hedges and ignored their presence. I was happy where I was and I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the next few years: promote library and engage with people on a very regular basis. In truth, I was running blind on a path too straight.
A budget cut later, I became expendable and hit a wall. I fought and crawled my way back disregarding that hurdle, convincing myself that if I could only get past it, everything would be fine again. I would still be working with my beloved libraries – only not in the extinct outreach team. I was hired again but stopped running. My brain wasn’t on fire any longer and the questions became impossible to hold back. They crept on me and slowly the answers disappeared.
I got scared. I cried, too much. And then I stumbled upon Rainer Maria Rilke’s quote at Coffee-Stained Journal and I realised I didn’t need to be so afraid. I repeated the words like a mantra over the weeks, trying to embrace the questions and advance once more onto my path. Slowly I came to realise I’ve never had any answers, only a glimpse into a truth I had ignored until then – I love engaging with strangers. In my hurry to leave my past struggles behind and settle on a road I had lost sight of one important thing: this life was never the one I wanted.
I am grateful to have been offered a glimpse into what I can be and the amount of energy I have when doing what I love but I was not directing my willpower where it should have gone. I was pretending to have grown enough to know how to run but I’ve never even tried to walk.
I cannot deny that I am not happy as I once was. I do not get up in the morning eager to go to work and collapse in bed at night exhausted but with a grin on my face. I am unsatisfied by my day job, constricted by politics, secrecy and relentless negativity. I battle a lost war against raging boredom. But in my spare time I have slowed down, giving myself space to grow, fall, learn, and explore unknown trails I had ignored before.
There is a maze revealing itself, endless possibilities that gets me excited and frightened in equal measure. I am tentatively stepping into one direction while keeping my eyes on another. It is a tricky balance to maintain and I know I will have to make a decision someday soon – but not right now. I have to love the questions before I can reach any answer.
Isn’t it the journey that matters?