I'm Right Where I Need To Be
I’ve been experiencing some turmoil in my life. Just when I was settling into an “old dog, new tricks” mentality, the acquisition of my company led to a new role and expanded responsibilities. It feels insignificant in the grand scheme of world events, but my nervous system doesn’t delineate. Each day, I’ve run through various emotions: overwhelm, fear, excitement, confidence. It’s creating a whirlwind after five years tucked safely in a career comfort zone.
Fortunately for me, I’ve spent the past four years in sobriety building a very full toolbox to manage situations like this. And if I’m giving myself enough credit, I’ve fostered an innate sense of courage that may have originated with tools, but now is a valuable appendage of my personality. My dear friend Audge recently discovered the power of affirmations, which were a pivotal part of my early sobriety journey. Her adoption of the practice was the perfect reminder for me as I hang on tight for this professional roller coaster ride.
My mantra of choice this month has been “I’m right where I need to be.” These seven words have proven powerful. I’m beginning to believe them even though they felt bizarrely foreign at first. I’ve been able to quickly cultivate relationships with new people in my circle. I’ve stepped into situations to share my expertise from a long-standing history with our client. I’ve found a renewed sense of enthusiasm around “new tricks” (to be clear, this only came after several weeks of resenting the metaphorical dog trainer).
As I embodied this idea in my professional life, it quickly spilled into my personal life.
A few weeks ago, I followed a digital breadcrumb trail and learned my online yoga friend, Kimmie, would be in Texas for work. I connected with her and she gave me her itinerary. We thought an Austin meet-up might be in the cards until I realized I’d been traveling that same week—and making a trip two hours in the opposite direction. The meeting felt out of reach given my schedule. Being the generous soul she is, Kimmie offered to meet me halfway.
This past Tuesday, Kimmie and I shared a physical hug a year in the making. We dined in a cute little German restaurant in downtown Lampasas, Texas, and didn’t stop talking for two hours. I shared my mantra with her and she used it to caption our photo. We were both right where we needed to be to solidify an already beautiful friendship.
Two days later, I flew to Southern California for work. I’d reached out to my best friend to ask if I could come meet his new babies while I was there. Even though it would mean a long haul across the sprawling L.A. metropolis, it was worth it to see this new chapter in his life in living color.
When I booked my trip, my faithful Hilton in Carlsbad was three times its previous nightly rate. Using hotels.com, I found the only beachfront property in the $200 range. It happened to be in Laguna Beach—an unfamiliar town, but I didn’t mind because a) it was similar to every other laidback, surf-centered SoCal beach town and b) it put me about twenty minutes closer to my friends. As it turned out, I was right where I needed to be.
I love solo travel because I can walk and explore at my own pace, taking in sights that I’m convinced are lost on busy tourists with an agenda. Friday night in Laguna created that experience, as I opted for a half hour walk to The Cliff, a notable restaurant overlooking the ocean.
The view was great, the food mediocre. The timing of my dinner? Divine.
As I walked back toward Main Beach, the heart of Laguna, my ears were assaulted by incessant car horns. Piercing whoops and hollers floated above the fray. I neared the edge of the crowd and saw hot pink signs waving wildly. Surprising to me in this sleepy beach town, it was a protest over the Supreme Court decision.
I was shocked by the wave of emotion that washed over me. I wanted to be as brave as these men and women taking a stance and using their voices. But who was I to think I had any right to be there? This wasn’t on my agenda and it meant I might not get back to the closer beach in time for sunset.
After skirting the crowd for several minutes, taking video to share in support on social media, I overheard someone ask a very official-looking, clipboard-bearing coordinator for a sign. I followed suit. Planned Parenthood supported me through college as I navigated newly-adult issues around sexuality. It was the least I could do.
I found a small clearing in the crowd near the sidewalk. I had the perfect vantage point to see cars driving by on the street, rolling down their windows to fist pump wildly and scream in solidarity. Admittedly, a few flashed a thumbs-down sign and grimaced, but they were the minority (as is the general population aligned to this decision).
A moderator, petite in stature but made powerful by her bull horn, led us in chants: “my body, my choice”, “stand up, fight back”. My throat opened wider with each repetition. My shoulder muscles flexed as I held my hot pink sign overhead. They burned with the same electrifying energy of the crowd. It was magnificent, and something so far out of my comfort zone, I’ve checked the “brave” box for months to come.
The next morning, still riding high off my amazing trip, I logged onto Facebook to read others’ commentary on the decision. A notification alerted me to a comment on my Laguna Beach photo - “wait, what?!” - words from my grade school friend, Suzanne, who reminds me every trip that she’s in the area and we should plan a meet-up “next time.”
I quickly messaged her. I had two hours to kill before my return trip to the airport and I was already packed and ready to go, could she meet? She was, in fact, getting ready for a walk at Main Beach, the site of the previous night’s peaceful protest. I tossed by bag in the trunk and hopped in the car. Just past the beach, I parked at a meter in front of the same psychic storefront I’d noticed on my stroll to dinner. I didn’t need her services—I was right where I needed to be.