I have an addiction to Halls cherry cough drops. I love the taste of them, slightly medicinal with an underlying sweetness, and the size, one drop lasts about five minutes. They’re portable, don’t have an expiration date, and the wax-paper like wrapping protects them from the abuse of being carried in pockets, purses, and the car console.
A few years ago I was attending yet another boring work meeting in a job that consisted of going to boring meetings. We were seated around a conference table so there was no way to secretly work on a grocery list or write hate mail. Opening up my laptop and checking my email was out, too. Looking at the small, crumpled pile of cough drop wrappers in front of me, I realized they had printing on them. I unwrinkled one and was surprised to find it covered with messages such as “Dust off and get up,” “You’re resilient,” “You’ve survived tougher,” and an explanation in all caps, “A PEP TALK IN EVERY DROP.”
Five years of addiction to these delicious cough drops and now I find out there’s a pep talk in every drop? How could I have been so blind? Still, the messages started me on a path that included enrolling at Goddard College, inching my way out of the nursing profession, and starting this blog. All because of messages I had been carrying around for years, but had been too busy and preoccupied to see.
It’s like when you buy a red car and you start to see red cars everywhere, when you’re ready, you see that signs are everywhere. Unhappy with your job? A college catalog with a certificate course you’ve always wanted to take ends up on your kitchen table. Stressed out over finances? You see a small notice on the bulletin board at your gym offering free membership in exchange for volunteer work. House falling apart? A little blurb in the newspaper asks for volunteers to learn about home repair through helping low-income homeowners.
It isn’t that the catalog, notice or blurb decided to show up that day to entice you. It’s been there a while, waiting for you to take the time to see it.
Once you see the signs, it’s up to you to act on them. Leaving behind the comfort of the life you know for the life you don’t isn’t easy, but whenever I get discouraged or second guess myself, I remind myself to, “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim” (Nora Ephron) and that “Its better to die on your feet than to live on your knees” (Emiliano Zapata).
Sure, getting out of the passive, mindset that life-is-happening-to-me-like-a-slow-motion-crash is hard, and sometimes it seems that every step you take toward a new future, gets you forcibly dragged back three steps, but if you are ready for a change, look around and notice the signs. The universe is trying to point you in the right direction.
I’d love to hear how life sent you a sign in the comments section.