Call me crazy, but I had to say "NO"
And although that choice made me feel crazy, in the same moment I never felt so SANE. I know it was the right choice because it didn’t only come from me. My friend “the Universe” actually stepped in and helped me see what it was I truly wanted. It literally smacked me – or better yet, smacked the decision “on” my face!
I’m still laughing at the messages the Universe sent and it’s a story I’ll never forget about how the Universe helped me make up my mind.
It all started with pizza, an apartment and a little bit of mascara……………
There’s no place like home
There’s no place like home. I would know because I actually don’t have one.
For the past four years, I’ve been living out of suitcases and backpacks, moving from hostels in Mexico to bungalows in Thailand to country homes in Italy to guesthouses in India. Since returning home from my epic travels, I have been bouncing between houses of friends and family, watching empty homes and caring for pets while people are out-of-town on their own journeys of life.
It seems like every few weeks of every few months I’m packing up my things and moving once again. At times it’s pretty freeing, but after a while it can be kind of stressful. Lately it’s been getting pretty old.
I live this way for one purpose though.
I choose to do this because I am writing a book.
House-sitting allows me the freedom to commit almost all my time to writing, rather than working long hours to make money to afford rent and other amenities that “normal” people enjoy.
Last month I tried applying for an apartment, but when three consecutive house-sitting opportunities landed on my (virtually non-existent) doorstep, I figured the Universe was letting me know it wasn’t the time to make the move to my own place. I saw the opportunities as gifts from the Universe so kept my heart and hands open and simply chose to receive them and go with the flow.
The other day however, the Universe gave me another “gift,” although this time I wasn’t so sure if it was one I was supposed to take.
He had me at “hello”
As part of my Bohemian book-writing lifestyle, I also work as a waitress at a local pizzeria a few days a week to save funds for the editing and publishing of my book, and for a little spending money for necessities on the side.
While working one night last week, at the end of serving a particular table, I was clearing away dishes when one of my guests asks me the most random question, catching me completely off guard.
Dealing with crowds of people each day in our busy little restaurant, I’ve gotten some pretty strange questions including the time this young little blonde thing asks, “Um, is the buffalo mozzarella vegetarian, or is it like, made from buffalos?”
However bizarre, those questions are easy to answer (and are usually accompanied by a sympathetic “aren’t you precious” pat on the arm).
But a question I wasn’t prepared for was when the man at my table asked me out of the blue, “Have you ever thought of working in sales?” and “Would you like to come work for my company?”
The answers to those types of questions are a bit more difficult and most likely not found anywhere in our restaurant training manuals.
He went on to explain that a new high-end luxury apartment community is being built on the north side of the city and would be opening soon. He was looking for someone to lease the apartments and help manage the community and thought I would be a great fit.
It all sounded interesting, although nothing earth-shattering and I smiled and listened politely as he named the benefits of the job. Then at the very end of his “pitch” for the new profession, the hairs on the back of my neck stood straight up and I may have even gasped when he said, “And you get a big discount on an apartment.”
How did he know to offer this to me?
Here I was, a “homeless” vagabond in need of the next place to live and secretly wishing with all her heart to have a place of her very own. And there he was offering me a luxury apartment at an affordable price.
It was a Jerry Maguire moment and he had me at “apartment.”
Or did he?
The battle of head and heart
My head immediately began filling my thoughts with benefits babble, telling me this was a great opportunity. A new job that would whisk me away from the life of servitude of waiting tables, a 401K, health insurance, working with fun people AND a place of my very own!
My heart on the other hand began that annoying little wise whisper, practically screaming from my soul saying, “Yea cool, but what about your book?”
Having this new place would also mean changing to a new job – a FULL-TIME job. That would definitely take a huge chunk of time out of my week that I am used to dedicating to working on my book. That didn’t sound too good, but ….. I would have my own place which means no more suitcases and constantly changing zip codes.
What was I supposed to do?
I left the restaurant that night conflicted on all fronts. I was flattered at the proposal, intrigued at the prospects and excited at the possibilities. I was also frustrated at the choice I would have to make. Sometimes opportunities come wrapped up in pretty packaging but we have to dig a little deeper to see how we really feel about it inside.
Rationally it made sense to finally “grow up” at 34 and be responsible, take the “real” job, accept the apartment and move on with my life. As I dug deeper, I realized those thoughts were rooted in fears and I uncovered this feeling of being scared at what I was doing.
Maybe underneath it all this dream of writing a book was just a fantasy delusion in my mind. I’d been at it for a year already and I wasn’t sure how long it would take to complete. Maybe it was time to give up?
Taking a deep breath and diving past those initial fears though, reaching deeper into my soul and true heart’s desires, I felt if I took the job I was betraying my destiny and my dream all because I wanted a few creature comforts and was allowing doubt to cloud my vision.
The decision should have been obvious, but in the battle of head and heart emotions run high and thoughts are scattered. After day of contemplating what I “should” do, I still wasn’t sure of the right choice.
Calling for reinforcements
So, I did the only thing I knew what to do. I checked in with my wisest and most trusted friend – the Universe – and asked IT for guidance.
It didn’t take long for the Universe to respond and IT was loud and clear in what IT thought I should do.
In only a few short days after receiving the initial proposal, I got my answer – in the most unlikely of places.
Help in making up my mind
A few days after my new job proposal sent me into a mind frenzy of what to do, I awoke one morning to find that a few items of my makeup had randomly all run out at the same time.
The foundation pump was empty. The eyeliner was shot. When I dunked the wand into the tube of mascara, I realized it too was on its last leg.
I guess all my beauty reinforcements had decided to abandon ship all on the same day. A little bit strange right? I mean, they all ran out on the same day.
(A little clue: When asking for guidance from the Universe, answers often come in the form of synchronicity and “coincidences” and moments that make you pause to say, “Isn’t that strange/random/odd/peculiar?” The art of being able to read these signs is to pay attention and see the connection………….)
It was a Friday and I had also randomly picked up a shift – something which I hardly ever do. This meant I was unable to run to the drug store to buy any new makeup before needing to arrive at the restaurant.
Not able to do anything about it until my shift was over, I went in with a half-made-up face and decided to stop by the MAC (makeup) store after work to remedy my dilemma since it was located around the corner from the restaurant in the mall.
Something also to take note of – I have NEVER stepped foot in the MAC store before. MAC makeup is expensive and I don’t care too much about looking glamorous anyway. That day I only went out of convenience and my immediate needs for some beauty staples. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
After my shift was over that day, I headed straight for the ladies with the magical wands and beauty brushes at the MAC makeup store. Apparently, so did every other woman in need of makeup that day.
When I arrived, the place was packed and swarming with color-hungry fashionistas looking for the latest shade of lip gloss. Feeling a bit overwhelmed and out-of-place (I think I was the ONLY one in there without already-fabulous-looking faces all dolled up in bright colors) I was determined to get my things and get out of there. So, I boldly inserted myself right in the ranks of them all.
After a few minutes of drowning in an overwhelming sea of glosses, blush, compacts and more, a lovely sales clerk came to help me. She was swamped with all the other customers but listened to me as I told her what I was looking for. With what seemed like thousands of different shades, she quickly offered a few options and products and then left me to play with them while she ran off to assist the other lost and longing-to-be-lovely woman looming about.
I wished the process of making life decisions was as simple as making decisions about which lip gloss color to choose. If only we could try on a particular new “path” for a brief moment, see how it fits into our life and complements our true colors, and then just as quickly wipe it away and switch to a different option to see how that one feels. If only life were this simple, my decision about whether or not to take the job would have been a breeze.
Thinking of this, I happily applied different shades of gloss and other samples, but was then left waiting for her to return to help me with the next product. She would return every so often to give me more “stuff” to try and then would run away again and continue helping others. This routine seemed to go on FOREVER.
It’s like I was stuck and literally couldn’t make a decision – or purchase – without her.
As it neared almost a full hour that I was “held hostage” in the store, I started to get frustrated and realized how much I was tired of waiting for this woman to come back and help me on and off.
Finally, after almost all the other women had cleared out, the woman came back around, profusely apologizing for the wait and finally finished getting all my products.
As she gathered the few items I’d chosen, she asked why I’d never been in MAC before. Explaining that I didn’t wear much makeup anyway, I also offered up that I had been traveling the past couple years and joked that you don’t need too much sparkles and eye-liner while living on an island.
She looked surprised and said, “You’ve traveled and lived on an island? How cool! You should write a book about your life!” to which I laughed and said, “I am!”
A huge smile broke out across her face and she looked at me, as if we suddenly belonged to the same secret club and said, “I’m writing a book as well…..”
The meaning behind the message
Although I’d been there for an hour already, I spent the next 20 minutes talking to her about the book writing process. She told me how she’d been working on a young-adult fantasy trilogy for the past five years of her life.
“Five years!” I thought. I had been working on my book for one year and I couldn’t imagine four more.
She went on to tell me she had even attended several events where publishers showed great interest in her work and requested a final copy of the manuscript when she was finished.
But then her excited voice slowed to a heavier tone and she gave a sigh of resignation and said how that was actually two years ago and she STILL hadn’t finished the manuscript to submit and get published. She lamented how hard it was to work full-time and manage this store, while trying to balance the rest of her life AND write the book.
In the end she said she would just keep writing and hopefully one day it would be finished. I smiled and said of course it would, (knowing that I wished the same for my own book).
I bought my things and we said our goodbyes and I left – finally – after a full hour and a half in that store.
Reading the Signs
As I got in my car and drove home, now late to the place I needed to be but with new makeup in hand, I thought of how RANDOM the whole day had been.
In one day, I had run out of almost all the makeup I wear, which happened to be on a day that I am normally never scheduled to work and only put me at the mall because I had picked up a shift from a friend (otherwise I just would have gone to the drug store or some other random place to buy makeup).
However, necessity and convenience had caused me to stop by some expensive makeup shop around the corner from the restaurant where I work, a store I never go to, all so I could stand around waiting and waiting, feeling like I was wasting my time and just wanting to get out of there but feeling determined and stubborn to not leave before I had the things I came to get.
This led me to talking to this woman who was (coincidentally) also living the life of trying to accomplish her dream of writing a book and hearing her story of not having yet completed it.
I thought back to her sigh of frustration at how long it was taking. She was frustrated at having to work – which is a necessity for money and survival – when all she wanted to do was write. It sounded all too familiar to the sentiments of my own life.
I couldn’t stand waiting over an hour to get something I wanted as trivial as makeup; I couldn’t imagine waiting five years to finally get the satisfaction of something as important as fulfilling my dream of writing this book.
It made me think about the job proposal I had received earlier that week.
Having a place to call my own and no longer bouncing around from house to house was tempting. Leaving the career of delivering food and drinks to hungry people and answering the same questions over the menu day in and day out sounded blissful. Working with this company and this guy and all that the job entailed sounded like something I would really enjoy.
It all sounded great. Except for one thing:
Would I be leasing apartments to people five years from now talking about how I was still writing a book and hoping to get it out into the world one day just like the woman I had talked with at the MAC store?
The thought broke my heart. How could I give up on my dream – of something I believe is part of my destiny and that has brought me and my life so many enriching gifts thus far?
And that’s when I knew.
No matter what my head was saying or how “rational” it seemed to take this opportunity, what I truly wanted in my heart was to finish this book. Even if it meant I had to keep working at a restaurant. Even if it meant I would still not have a place of my own for a while. All those things didn’t compare to the thought of actually making this dream a reality.
I didn’t want to wait any longer. I wanted to make my dream a reality now by giving it all I had.
My decision was clear.
Looking back, you HAVE to laugh at the signs the Universe sent to help me with this decision.
I mean, I asked the Universe to help me make up my mind, and how did it help me? Through a whole random day revolving around…. “make up!” I had been vacillating about this job position and one random trip to the MAC store because my makeup had all run out in one day had somehow helped me make up my mind.
This is the magic (and sense of humor) of the Universe!
We are NEVER alone in our lives and always have help in whatever we need. The Universe is talking to us all the time and the signs are everywhere; we just have to open ourselves to see them.
Just Say NO
In the end, I had to say “no” to the job offer. And the apartment. And the health insurance. And the stability.
I said “no” to that opportunity, but I said “yes” to another – the one in my heart.
It may seem like a small decision, but it wasn’t an easy one for me to make.
I think that’s how it is when you are following your heart and living your destiny. Sometimes it asks things of us that aren’t always the most pleasant, but are absolutely the most rewarding. Life will send us “tests” not because it wants to trick us, but because It’s just checking in to be sure we still really want what we say we want.
And so when you’re following your dream, don’t allow yourself to get distracted by shiny objects. It may seem “insane” and you may feel crazy for turning down really great opportunities, but in the end, I have found the craziest thing of all is to not follow the callings of your heart.
Deep down, you know what you want. It’s just the courage – and a little bit of crazy – that it takes to get it.
And if you ever get confused, just strike up a conversation with the good old Universe. It is ALWAYS there to help you make up your mind.
Here’s a favorite poem of mine that pretty much says it all:
The Road Not Taken
I’m wondering if I’m alone in my “insanity?” Have you ever done something crazy, even though your rational mind said not to, because you felt it in your soul? Please tell me about it below – I would love to hear your story too.
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