You need to know you’re on the right path

For some, their life paths are straight. If you can retire after thirty years of pretty much doing the same thing, that’s darn straight. But my path has been like a branch on an old tree, with Y-shaped intersections every so often where a life-changing decision had to be made. No matter what your decision-making process, (I wrote about this recently), you should be open to validating whether or not you made the right choice.

I moved to Honolulu as a single mom to go to graduate school. There were so many reasons why this was a bad decision, a risky one. I didn’t have a job, didn’t have much financial aid, and I was responsible for a second-grader. It was not easy, things did not flow at first. I put one step in front of the other, getting through one problem after the other, and wondered if I had done the right thing.

But I do remember a moment of clarity, amidst all the bumps in the road as I was attempting to obtain a sense of normalcy in this move. I was walking down the quad in the first few days of my arrival at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. There was a man walking towards me and as we got closer, we recognized each other. I had known him years before when we both worked at the local paper — he was a reporter and I was a copy editor. He and his wife had moved to go to grad school a year before. He told me about a job that was available at the department where he was doing his master’s, the Center for Pacific Islands Studies. I was in the Theatre Department at the time. I applied, and got the job. And since then, I knew I had made the right decision. This was the best job I’ve ever had with the best boss I’ve ever had. I soon transferred to this department when I realized the Theatre Department was not for me. I thrived there, both as a graduate student and in my job.

I don’t know what would have happened if I had not run into my friend that day in the quad. I may have given up, unable to afford the tuition, unable to make ends meet. You can’t keep beating your head on a wall, especially when you have a child to think of. At some point, you have to say, okay recalibrate. This was not the end of my troubles, but it did keep me on that path, believing I was meant to be there.

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe there’s a conspiracy for you to thrive, the Universe (God, Higher Power, etc.) wants you to do well, do the right thing, go on a soul-building journey. But we are not always in sync with this divine plan. So it is good to seek confirmation, to look for signs, to get validation that yes, this is what you should be doing, this is where you should be.

Playwright, essayist, teacher, artist, songwriter, poet. Creativity Activist. Learn more: https://www.dianeaoki.com

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