Trusting The Process And Why It's Impossible For Impatient People
Years ago, one of my best friend's gave me this coffee mug.
As per usual, I was going through a time in my life where I was doing none of those things. I can't remember exactly what was going on at that juncture in time, but I'm willing to bet my naturally cynical nature had decided nothing was going my way or working out for me, I probably had applied to jobs and been rejected, and there's no doubt in my mind that a shitty situation with a crappy guy was playing a role in making me feel frustrated with life's process.
I'm a worry wart. I'm also a planner. I'm also someone who cannot handle the unknown. And I come by all of it honestly (thanks, Ellen's genes). But one characteristic tops all these others, and it's what makes my daily life so unnecessarily hard — I'm impatient. If patience is a virtue, I have none. When I decide I want something, I want it now. Right now. Today. This goes for, well, everything. Be it a clothing item, a relationship, a job — YAH GIRL HAS NO PATIENCE. And it gets even pettier than that. No text back? No response to an email? A package being a day late? WHAT GIVES? WHERE YOU AT? I NEED ANSWERS.
I don't know when or how I became such an impatient person. If I had to make an educated guess, I'm willing to bet that anxiety very often goes hand-in-hand with impatience. That is, it makes sense that a naturally anxious AF person's patience would be slim to none, especially since it's fueled by their very mental state and being. But being impatient has only made life harder for me. Expecting so much out of a situation so quickly has only caused me suffering — self-inflicted suffering, might I add. I am, at my very core, a negative thinker. In fact, the other week, my boyfriend said to me "I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking" and I said to him, completely unironically "I'm not."
So, the deliciously caloric mixture of anxiety + fear of the unknown + impatience makes for one tasty serving of having zero fucking chill when it comes to "trusting the process."
Because trusting the process isn't natural to do. As humans, we don't innately subscribe to the mentality of "Everything I've gone through and am going through WILL make sense and ultimately lead me to wherever it is I'm going." Maybe yogis think that way. Or Gandhi did. Or that one super trippy neighbor on your block who DEF led the charge at Woodstock does. But that's not your average, everyday citizen's thought process. We're full of anxieties and living in a world that's only gotten more and more ravenous for instant gratification only makes things worse. You want to know it all pays off RIGHT. THE FUCK. NOW.
I started copywriting 5.5 years ago and, upon getting my first ever copywriting job, I figured I for SURE had beat the system and had everything laid out for future Emma. But I was extremely wrong. Since then, I've gotten fired, done freelance, interviewed for countless jobs in countless cities and states, threatened to leave Dallas more times than I can remember (ask my friends — I'm sure they've kept a tally somewhere), questioned my entire career, flirted with getting into something new, had days spent in bed wondering where I went wrong, why I wasn't MORE, how I let mediocrity happen to me, what the fuck would become of me, if I should be doing more/less/nothing. I wanted to make something happen NOW — RIGHT NOW — that would set me on whatever path I thought I had strayed from.
But what I couldn't see was I hadn't strayed from anything. This is exactly where I was supposed to be but I refused to know that. That was (and always has been) my problem. Instead of accepting where I am right now and TRUSTING THE DAMN PROCESS, I'm looking (worrying) ahead, trying to figure out if what's happening right now is what's supposed to be happening right now instead of enjoying/accepting where I am now and that it will somehow make sense down the line. And some may say that mentality is ambitious in a way — I want more and I want it now, so I'm going to figure out how to get it. But really, it's ultimately destructive and expends so much energy on so much that you cannot control (I should've mentioned up there that I'm also a control freak, but I feel like that's become pretty obvious?).
And all this didn't hit me until last week. Last week, I was offered a job at a company I've been wanting to work at for 4.5 years. 4.5 years ago, the woman who is about to be my manager and coworker at my new job found me on Instagram via a Thought Catalog article I wrote, a website I was writing for remotely full-time for $30K because I had been fired from my first agency job and couldn't find work in Dallas. She was brand new to Dallas, having just moved here to work at a start-up called rewardStyle. I wondered if there were any writing opportunities for this new company, and we agreed to meet for lunch one day in a super fancy tea room. Ultimately, we realized there wasn't a need for my expertise at that time, but we kept up with each other and touch based countless times in the following years. Until last month, 4.5 years after meeting, she texted me about an open position on her team and would I be interested in coming in for an interview?
And now here we are.
But if you had told me that chance meeting and the preceding 4.5 years of copywriting jobs that seemed to go nowhere would end up like this, I WOULD'VE NEVER BELIEVED YOU. If you told me all the blah, unsexy projects I worked on, the seemingly aimless work I did, the frustrations I endured, the challenges I faced, the putting in my time toward IDEFK WHAT would somehow eventually lead me to where I am today in my career, I would've awkwardly laughed it off with a "Ha! Ugh, I wish" and considered it a far-fetched fantasy. It also would've taken all the mystery out of it. To know WHAT it what was all for would've inevitably made a dent in any ambition or eagerness to put in the work to get there. It would've ruined the process.
And I guess that is what I've been trying to get at through this post. That life is a process. It's rarely in an order that makes sense and more often than not leaves you feeling helpless, lost, and really sad, but it has this way of all coming together when you least expect it. Yeah, it's cliche AF and what my friends and family have been telling me for my entire life, but things happen when they're supposed to. And nothing before that should be considered a waste of time. Sure, life often seems non-sensical, aimless, and like it's leading nowhere fast, but it only seems that way.
Literally 7 months ago, in the depths of my post-anti depressant depression, I sat in my 1-1 on the phone with my best friend, sobbing.
"I just can't see anything past this. I feel like this is it. This is my life. No better, no worse. This is where I am and where I'll be forever. I won't become anything more in my career. I'll work at the same job until I die. I for sure won't meet anyone. I won't have babies. This is my life. I've come as far as I'm going to and the thought of it kills me."
And after what's unfolded over the last 7 months, I'm almost embarrassed about how wrong I was.
So, do better than me. Try harder to trust that you're WHERE you need to be, with WHO you need to be with, doing WHAT you're supposed to be doing and don't worry about the WHY or HOW. Those will come if you (say it with me, fam!) TRUST. THE. PROCESS.