I was twenty-two years old on my way to a job interview when my car broke down.
I was about a quarter-mile outside of the first town on a long stretch of nothingness, about ninety minutes away from home. I had just graduated from college with a marketing degree and was looking for my first job.
Six months earlier, when most people in my business school graduating class were interviewing with Fortune 500 companies, I was on the phone with a couple who owned a goat farm/bed and breakfast in Vermont, responding to their online advertisement for a caretaker.
I just could not see myself in a suit, working for a large corporation. When it came time to go into the business school placement office to sign up for interviews with the different companies that came to recruit, the pit in my stomach was actually physical, more of a large bubble that made my suit pants feel too tight.
Fear and shame kept me from moving to Vermont. Student loans, a business degree, the need to be “responsible” – those were the reasons the voice in my head told me to stay in the midwest and find a job that could lead to a career in the business world.
So that’s what I did. I graduated, moved back in with my parents to sort life out and figure out my next move. My best friend’s dad gave me a clerical job with his company while I looked online for something more long-term. A job opening in Indianapolis peaked my interest – outside sales (no desk – yes! Indianapolis – closer to Joe, who I had been dating for about a year and a half, and who still lived in Bloomington where we went to school). I applied and received a call about a week later to schedule an interview.
So, there I am, on the way to the interview, and as I pull into the small town on the way to Indianapolis, I watch the temperature gauge on my dashboard quickly move into the red area. Steam (or is that smoke?) starts to float into the sky from the hood of the car. I look to my right and see the first building in forty-five miles, a gas station.
Hoping they might be able to help, I go inside where the nice woman at the counter informs me this is a convenient store gas station, not an auto repair gas station. I go back outside. The car won’t start at this point, so I call my dad. He has a mechanic he likes in South Bend and doesn’t want me taking the car to someplace he isn’t familiar with and paying more than I need to for repairs, so he says to hold tight, he will come pick me up. I then call the company I am scheduled to interview with, explain the situation, apologize profusely, and ask if we can reschedule. They are very kind and agree.
My dad comes to pick me up, we tow the car back to South Bend and drop it off at my dad’s friend’s auto repair shop.
The mechanic calls two days later to let us know that nothing is wrong with the car.
They checked it forwards and backwards and sideways. They drove it. They let it idle. The car never overheated, there was no sign of damage from the car overheating earlier, and that it was ready to be picked up. No charge since they didn’t have to fix anything.
My dad and I shrugged it off as some crazy incident. I then picked up the car, drove to Indianapolis for the interview, got the job, moved to Indianapolis and proceeded to have the most miserable six months of my young life.
The job was not awful. I just was never supposed to have that job. It was not for me. Literally. Not in the way someone says, “Oh, golf isn’t for me.” The job I took was not mine to have. But I ignored all guidance, every feeling, every message – even when I was physically stopped in my tracks on the highway to the interview. I didn’t pay attention to any of it.
We are all on our path. Sometimes we take the off-ramp, like I did when I ignored all of the signs and messages I was receiving. I could have listened to my heart, my innate self, and kept going, but sometimes we just aren’t ready to keep traveling. Sometimes, we need to take a rest stop, especially when it’s dark and the road ahead isn’t visible.
And that is the one of the reasons reconnecting to our true selves is so important – when you are connected to your innate self, you can trust that whatever is happening is a part of your path (even the off-ramps and rest stops) and whichever way you go, it will lead you to the same place eventually – to where you need to be to live a life fully expressing who you are. And if you are feeling not-so-tapped in, eventually the signs and pull will get strong enough to lead you back to where you need to be.
I have tapped into this trust mentioned above several times, especially when I perceive things as “going wrong”, “not as I pictured”, or “not according to plan”. Like my car breaking down – all I could think of then was how ridiculous this timing was, how much it would cost, on and on. And now I know, if I am living a life of connection, even the “bad stuff” is there to serve me.
So, if someone were to ask me, how did you get here? Why do you feel the need to write about this? I would say this story was my starting point. Yes, there were and still are times I feel disconnected and I have doubts and can’t even make a decision about what to have for lunch that day. But now I know the difference between feeling connected to God, to soul and spirit, and what it feels like when I am lost in the fuzz of the world. And I am having so much fun doing my best to stay connected and having more days of being in alignment with who I am than not.
Our innate selves always know what we need. It is always there waiting for us to connect to it if we get quiet and listen.
Much more soon but in the meantime, can you think of a time when there was a sign pushing or pulling you a certain way in life? I would love to hear.
Photo credit: Homeland by schraglage on Flickr