Friday, February 18, 2011

Learning to Free Fall: With a Little Push from Jane Austen

No need for wings on this journey
It isn't often that I find myself lacking in motivation or inspiration. With so much beauty to see and adventure to be had in the world, there is much to draw from. But like every other person out there, I have my moments of indecision and procrastination. It's like standing at the edge of a cliff and knowing that if you want to fly, then sooner or later you'll have to jump. The longer you wait, though, the harder it becomes to take that first step.

It's only natural as a recent addition to the post-grad "real world" to question what you're doing, what you want to be doing and how you plan on getting there. Everyone falters in their motivation, myself included, and it can be hard to pick yourself back up. As I've begun to learn from my stumbles, though, having the courage to gather up the pieces and begin anew is what makes life so interesting. It also doesn't hurt when you have Jane Austen at your back, subtly nudging you in the right direction.

Now I realize that Jane Austen may not be every person's go-to life coach/hero, but I'm sure there is someone or something you turn to in times of doubt. Jane is far from being my sole resource, but she is a necessary one all the same. Her ability to put life into perspective with a well-turned line and a whiplash of sarcasm has long been a saving grace for me. Unusual? Perhaps, but now more than ever, I'm learning to better appreciate how Jane's novels illustrate a belief in self --and what trials must be overcome to define and maintain that individuality.


You would think that as a longtime admirer of Jane, I would already be aware of this concept. It would seem, though, that to achieve clarity there must be moments of blindness. In my case, it took this past week of second-guessing my choices and growing anxious about the future to realize that you can't overthink the process (not without driving yourself crazy at least)--a better choice would be to leap at every experience, wallow in the free fall and be OK with not knowing where you might land. As long as you stay true to yourself, there is nothing to be afraid of.

All easier said than done, right? I understand, as I'm far from overcoming all my worries about the future. Any recent or long-term graduate will tell you that it's a drawn out process without any actual ending. Nonetheless, it's a journey that shouldn't be missed.

Even if you have a million little things on your plate, or perhaps are struggling to even find one, I hope you can find a moment to step back and take a deep breath. It's far easier to take life as it comes than be weighted down by frustrations, worries and doubt. Why regret missing out on or overlooking the little things, when you have the power to change your perspective? All you have to do is take that first step off the edge. Who knows, maybe Jane Austen can give you a push as well.

"We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, 

than any other person can be."