I wasn’t going to publish a post this week. The truth is, I don’t know what to say right now. Every time I try to put even a few words down on paper, I hesitate. My brain tells me I’ll say the wrong thing, so don’t bother, because you don’t want to offend anyone. What good will my words do, anyway? And with that, I close my laptop and push it away, before I can complete a single thought.
I’ve been in this place before. Not in this exact situation, of course, but in this place where I haven’t known what to say. Last spring, it took months for me to process the fact that everything I had once believed would exist in my future was being thrown to the wind. I didn’t know how to navigate the new reality, and the unknown had me questioning everything. What would the next 1 month, 3 months and 6 months look like? Who could I turn to? And where did I really belong?
The situation consumed me. I tried to write, but I always hesitated. My brain told me I would say the wrong thing, so don’t bother, because you don’t want to reveal too much or hurt anyone in the process. What good would a blog post do, anyway? With that, I always deleted the draft, closed my laptop and pushed it away, before I could complete a single thought.
One day, in the middle of my road trip from Boston to Washington, DC last year, I found myself sitting on a train unable to hold back the tears. I happened to be texting with David, when I finally broken down and shared all of this. I hadn’t given up hope, but because I couldn’t see past this dark period in my life, I had no idea when I would finally see the light again. So I surrendered to the pain and confusion, waved my white flag and said, “I don’t know what to do anymore.”
His simple reply was one I’ve never forgotten:
It was short, sweet and to the point, and I’ve carried those words forward with me ever since. Helping someone came in all different forms: from opening more doors to doing random acts of kindness, giving more of my time, listening intently and even just smiling more. I didn’t know what to do for myself, but I could still offer parts of myself to others – and that has made all the difference.
You might be unsure of how to navigate your new reality. The unknown could have you questioning everything. You might not be able to imagine what the next 1 month, 3 months and 6 months will look like, or know who to turn to, or even know where you belong right now. But it’s important to remember that we can never know what the future will hold. And as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
So, when you don’t know what to do, help someone else.