Waiting for the Universe to Show up

It seems at times that my life is a series of waiting: as a writer, waiting for rejection (or sometimes, happily, acceptance), as a working person, waiting on a job opportunity, as a lover, waiting for something new and malleable to solidify. Waiting is such a big part of growing up–this fluid, in-between stage where our lives seem to be made up of more questions than answers.

One of my dearest friends and I often chat about our careers and our futures–typical fodder during the uncertainty of your twenties. My friend once told me about a concept he adheres to that he deems “waiting for the universe to show up.” The idea is that in all that you do, applying to graduate school or changing careers or asking someone on a date, you are required to do everything you can to get yourself halfway, then you wait for the universe to show up and meet you in the middle. I like this concept because it doesn’t put all the responsibility on us, which allows room for some mystery in life. At the same time, it doesn’t put all the responsibility on the universe–or luck or a god.

Unfortunately, sometimes the universe takes its time to show up, which is when we find ourselves in the waiting. If so much of our lives is taken up by this, of the uneasy combination of anxiety and hopefulness, how can we make the most of it? Live in it, I suppose. Accept and embrace those moments of uncertainty when we don’t know what happens next but we’re allowed to dream and expect and wonder. Perhaps this all comes down to being present in your own life.

While sitting and ruminating in one of my own life waiting rooms, I read Maria Popova’s latest post on Brain Pickings about Joseph Campbell and his famous “follow your bliss mantra.” He too talked of being present in your life, which he believed was an important step in the quest for bliss:

“If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are – if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time.”

Today the universe showed up. After a few exciting and anxious weeks, I am happy to announce that I have accepted the position of publicist at The Feminist Press, an incredible non-profit publisher so in line with my passion and heart for gender equality that I nearly cried working on my writing samples for the job application. I have long known that my greatest passion is storytelling, particularly through the medium of writing, and that my call to action lies with women and LGBTQ rights. Working at The Feminist Press offers me the opportunity to combine these in a dynamic setting. I’m sure I will have much more to say on this soon–I start next month!

So I have an answer now to something I had been waiting on for a few weeks. That doesn’t mean the end of waiting–in fact, I’m currently waiting on some big decisions regarding some of my writing. I understand that life will always contain uncertainty, but that I can find certainty in myself if I learn to embrace the mystery, the questions, and the waiting.

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