I've been thinking a lot about when I'm going to get serious about pursuing writing (as in, 5 year plan and maybe a 2009 summer program), and how I will transition from my current job (which I like) and how soon, etc. etc. I just ran across something that seemed apt and very applicable to my life and the lives of a lot of my friends and acquaintances. It's by Martha Beck. (If you've never read or heard of her, she's pretty much the reason I pick up O magazine.)
"'I just don't think I'll ever find the right life for me,' Shiela frets.
'Of course you won't,' I say. 'How strange to think you would!'
It amazes me how often people use that phrase: 'Find the right life.' Would you walk into your kitchen hoping to find the right fried egg, the right cup of coffee, the right toast? Such things don't simply appear before you; they arrive because you rummage around, figure out what's available, and make what you want."
She then goes on to say that all you technically need to guide you (rather than a clear vision of what your ideal life would be) is that "warmer...colder..." sense like the one you use when you play that game of find the hidden object in the room. Knowing what feels better and what feels worse. Then, she says, "If something feels both good and bad, break it down into its components to see which are warm, which cold. Begin making choices based on what makes you feel freer and happier, rather than how you think an ideal life should look. It's the process of feeling our way toward happiness, not some Platonic ideal, that creates our best lives."