DISCLAIMER: I have been on a writing strike. Bear with me. Thanks.
When I was a child, I couldn’t fathom the idea that anyone was a Tom Petty fan. I disliked his singing style so much, I balked at listening to the meaningful music. Of course, I felt the same way about Bob Dylan and Janis Joplin. Now that I’m older, (and CLEARLY wiser,) I’ve grown to fall in love with and appreciate extraordinary talents that transcend a “purdy” or lyrical vocal quality. All of these artists’ songs strike deep chords inside of me and are among my very favorites.
Beginning on April 4th of this year, I celebrated spring, by springing free from a job that resulted in deep pain and angst in me. Once I left that position, I couldn’t help but notice that I was hearing a ton of Tom Petty songs. Perhaps I was just listening for them. It seemed that almost daily, I’d hear, I Won’t Back Down, The Waiting, Free Falling, and Learning to Fly.
I didn’t understand the meaning, or if there was any meaning for me. I just knew that feeling trapped and waiting to leave that job was the hardest part. I had to learn to fly again and while I was free falling, I was not going to back down or retreat.
Whenever a pivotal life shift happens, we hear songs or magically receive messages we think we need to hear and learn from. I’ve noticed this phenomenon with every break up I’ve ever had and especially during my teen years. I was certain that Foreigner, Lionel Richie and Phil Collins were wholly inspired by the intensity of my relationships and eventual break ups. Waiting for a Girl Like You was written for me. Truly was written for me. Don’t even get me started on, If Leaving Me is Easy.
During this past April, I could have become totally lost and depressed by all that I’d experienced. Instead, I became inspired and evolved into the most authentic version of me I’ve ever been. In other words, I became more honest with myself about what I abhor and cannot fathom, what actually brings me joy, and most importantly, I realized that I’m already enough no matter what state I happen to be in, even if it isn’t pretty. This is something I’d been struggling to learn for a very long time. Maybe we all struggle with this.
In order to financially and emotionally support my daughters and myself, I willingly and enthusiastically embarked on freelance writing, teaching, facilitating and speaking. I adored just about every minute of every freelance gig I’ve had in the past six months. It’s as if I’d finally found clarity in what my place in this world really is.
It’s to remember to Be Here Now.
When I think of the grandiosity that can come with finding one’s place in this world, it sort of seems like bullshit. My place in the world is here, where I’m sitting right now. My ego thinks I need more; need to go bigger. It’s simply not true. My place in this world is to do the best I can and serve others. It’s likely that I believe your place in the world is just like mine.
Almost six months to the day I departed my ill-fitting position, I finally accepted a full time position that I can already see is a far better fit. I’m looking forward to this adventure and to the collaborative efforts that already exist in furthering this organization’s mission.
I’m grateful for all that comes with getting older, through both painful and joyful experiences and more than anything else, I am grateful to simply be here now.
My guess is that Tom Petty no longer believes that the waiting is the hardest part.
It’ll all work out. —- Tom Petty