Entries in Amber Rae (5)
By Amber Rae for Fast Company:
Someone recently told me that the time he spent unemployed was the best six months of his life.
"What did you spend your time doing?" I asked.
"I learned about things I was interested in, read a lot of nonfiction books, spent time with people who inspire me, played music, practiced leaning into fear, and spent a lot of time observing how people overcome fear," he said. "But then I had to get a real job."
"Is your real job aligned with exploring these interests and leaning into fear?" I asked.
"Ummm... no. I work in analytics," he said.
"Have you ever thought that your 'real job' could be what you're passionate about?" I asked.
Annoyed. Frustrated. Stuck.
It’s 9:24 p.m. on Monday and I’m trying to figure out what the hell to write about for tomorrow.
I have three half-written posts about three topics that other people encouraged me to write about: passion and suffering, taking bold leaps, and how people are mirrors for self-understanding. None of these topics are clicking or flowing and I feel stuck.
I used to hate planning. It felt unnatural and forced. Life felt like less of a grand adventure. I enjoyed the thrill of spontaneity, improvisation, and watching things naturally fall into place.
For a while, this approach worked. I did things that interested me and opportunities fell into my lap. I felt in touch with the flow of life.
But then a point came when life stopped moving as smoothly. I found myself spread too thin, spending my time and energy on things that didn’t matter. I knew the work and purpose I was meant to birth into this world. But I wasn’t focusing on it. This felt devastating.
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
I typically hate this question.
First off, it’s a classic interview question designed to test your commitment or loyalty to the organization that is thinking about hiring you. (And this often breeds dishonesty.)
Second, it tends to elicit a list of future milestones and hopeful accomplishments.
Neither of those are a sustaining force that will make you feel energized and intrinsically satisfied. They won’t help you feel like the best version of yourself either.
That said, it’s actually a damn good question if thought about in the right way.
Just five months ago, I had a major panic attack in my TriBeCa apartment. In the middle of hosting a weekly meeting with my team, my body began shutting down. I couldn’t breath properly and I felt such deep anger and anxiety that I didn’t know who I was in that moment. Tears began to form and I escaped to my bedroom to lie down.
As I lay in my bed, trying to catch my breath, my mind raced with a million thoughts. I couldn’t hear myself. I felt anger at other people for the choices I had made. I regretted not working on what I knew I was meant to be doing. I wondered why I had stopped writing. I questioned the commitment and promises I had made to both a project and person that weren’t aligned with my true desires.
“How did I get here?” I thought to myself.