At least once a day I give thanks for the life that I’ve built (with a whole lot of help). I smile. I snap a photo. I make a mental note for the moments when stress piles up and I want to throw my hands in the air and fall asleep on my laptop. It’s the kind of gratitude that makes my heart feel like it’s actually swelling with appreciation. It’s also the kind of awareness I’ve found humbling and helpful in the wee hours of the morning when I’m trying to get my baby girl to sleep and she’s on strike. These mental notes and precious pictures wash away some of the frustration and impatience that creeps up in my less-than-proudest moments.
I’m working on an article for one of my favorite magazines right now, which requires some delightful research. Late last week, I strolled up to The Avenue to do some taste-testing and brain-picking with Audrey, my trusty assistant. The sun was shining and Audrey babbled, clapped, and waved along the way (she’s also a charming tour guide). We walked into Ma Petite Shoe–a woman-owned, local biz that I visit at least once a month–and feasted our eyes upon the shelves of chocolate. Luckily, I also had the pleasure of sampling it.
While waiting to chat with Susannah, resident chocolate expert, I showed Audrey her reflection in the mirror and couldn’t help but snap our photo. I thought: This is my life, on my terms, doing what I love with my baby girl beside me. I remembered: The doubt of changing careers, the anxiety of taking leaps of faith (over and over again), and the difficulties that came with ignoring advice. And I confirmed: Every single sleepless night, every what-if mind game, every hymn sung by my imaginary choir of critics (all of which still exist on very low volume) were so clearly worth the grief.
When I feel afraid to listen to my gut, I reflect on tiny yet tremendous moments like the one at Ma Petite Shoe. These quieter times are loud in perspective. They give me a little space to relish the fact that I’ve yet to discover a moment that following my bliss didn’t eventually lead to just that. And I’d urge anyone who has something daring or dreamy tugging at their heart to take a step forward, even if it seems scary.
When I’m fearful, it means I’m growing my self, I’m creating my life, and I’m building my bliss.