Welcome to DORO – Pull Up a Chair
Remember 16? At 16 years old, I knew exactly where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I was going to be a lawyer and try cases using a strong, thundering voice like they did on television. I would wear suits and carry a briefcase full of important papers.
The good thing about my 16 year-old self’s plan was that it pointed me in a direction toward higher education. Once there, I joined the thousands of other students who at some point questioned if we still remembered our ABC’s let alone understood international politics in Professor Stephen Krasner’s class. The good thing about being confused on a college campus is that almost any door you open leads to something relevant. A professor or colleague with a life-changing book or project that exposed you to a brand new world was just one short walk away.
Decades later I prefer not to wear suits, prefer discussing first downs instead of the First Amendment and carry most of important docs in my iPhone that I think is actually glued to my hand now. All of this is a result of taking those random roads and figuring parts of myself out. But I often think that now, at this age, am I not supposed to know exactly where I’m going? Then I have one. One of those moments.
The Mahogany Moment: “Do you know where ya going to? Do you like the things that life is showing you? Where are you going to? Do you know?”
Sitting at my desk and staring at the day’s to-do list which often looks remarkably like last Thursday’s to-do list I find myself asking another question – “Why did I walk into this life?” Then I hear Diana Ross singing and the beautiful music and I remember the 70’s and I remember knowing exactly where I was going every single day as a little girl. My world was designed around my neighborhood so whatever adventure I sought typically happened two or three streets over.
Now? The adventure spans three metropolitan areas all over the country. Two businesses, a grown child and an open social calendar mean that the roads are endless. But after you finally realize that your business plan is not your life plan, that opens a whole new can of something. You see, it’s simple to build your day around the work at hand. It’s predictable. Formulaic. But eventually, checking off boxes of completed tasks doesn’t yield the same excitement as building into your day a real sense of purpose. So then you ask yourself – where the heck am I going? You begin opening doors.
Soon you find that not every open door leads to a protected growth area like in a childhood neighborhood or college campus. Some doors take you down long, windy one-way roads. Others place you in a labyrinth only allowing you to see a few feet in front of you with no idea if you’ll run into a dead end.
In those aimless moments, it’s best to be still. That isn’t the same as doing nothing. You must be actively still to engage yourself in an honest dialogue about all of those questions in that Diana Ross song. Remember your hopes. Talk to yourself about all of the things that your life reveals to you as you move along. Discuss with your soul the signs and clues that hint to you daily either confirming that you’re moving in the right direction or suggesting that you find another path. Invest the time in yourself so that you can answer those Mahogany moment questions securely. If the answer is I don’t know yet, there’s a security in knowing that you’re on the proper path. The “yet” implies that you will eventually know.
Like Diana said to Billy Dee, “I’ve been around and I see that there’s a much better life than this. And I want it. Don’t you?”
Now, to get my 16 year-old self’s determination back.