This post was inspired by an audio recording I made for Project Thinking Out Loud. I started to make a word-for-word transcription before I realized that on-the-fly spoken things do not translate well into written text. Original audio and inspired written piece below.
So I like this guy. And I did what any sane person would do naturally: I told him. And as it turns out, the feeling’s not mutual. He said to me, “You know, I’m just not looking for anything like that right now.”
And so that’s what I want to talk about today. Not this situation with the boy exactly, but that sentence: “I’m not looking for anything like that right now.”
And just to clarify one more time, this boy is 100% within his right not to like me or be attracted to me or want to date me or anything. That’s totally his thing. I’m not disputing that or trying to argue or anything. But after the initial disappointment and embarrassment died away when I heard that sentence, “I’m not looking for anything like that right now,” the sentence itself and the feeling behind it stuck with me. It resonated with me. It made me look back on my own life and gave me a new perspective that I want to carry into my future. And so that’s what I want to talk about right now. That sentence and the sentiment behind it.
It seems to me that as I look back on my life and all of the times that I’ve thought that to myself, every time I’ve realized suddenly or gradually, “This is not what I want. This is not what I was expecting. This is not what I was hoping for,” the end game of these situations has always made me bigger and better and stronger. Every time I was in a situation that made me go “Woah, this is not what I’m looking for,” I’ve gotten bigger and better and stronger.
Here’s an example. A year and a half ago, I moved to Warsaw, Poland to work for a family I met on the internet. At the time I found this opportunity, I was working as a cashier at Walgreens. It was completely soul-sucking and miserable, and I was doing everything I could to get out of this job. Scouring the internet for ideas and opportunities, reading and writing, producing things to get me noticed. And so I found this opportunity with this Polish family, and we started communicating and talking about having me move out to work for them. That is, until I suddenly got cold feet.
I started having second thoughts. I thought, “Oh my god, wait a minute, this isn’t what I want. This is NOT what I’m looking for, actually.” I could have given you a hundred reasons for why I didn’t want to do it afterall, but actually, if I was really honest with myself, I was terrified. I didn’t know these people. I mean, they could be axe murderers for all I knew! I didn’t know the country. I didn’t know the language spoken in the country. And it just seemed too big and too scary and didn’t seem right for me.
So I told the people, “Sorry for leading you on, thank you for your time, but no thank you.” And a week or two went by, and the inner turmoil was just growing exponentially. On the one hand, I firmly believed that this opportunity didn’t align with what I wanted. On the other hand, I felt so drawn to it. Obviously, I ended up caving in, reopening communications with these people, and moving to Warsaw to work with them. And despite the initial fear and small bumps along the way, it ended up being one of the most satisfying and fulfilling and coolest things I’ve ever done.
I could go on and cite other examples where I’ve been really stressed about things happening in my life that I firmly believed I didn’t want or need, but this is getting long already. And I’m sure you have your own experiences that are resonating right now. That thought, “This isn’t what I’m looking for right now,” is universal. And whatever situation is tied to it always turns out to be something that ends up making you a bigger and better and strong person.
My hope is that the next time I have that thought, I’ll remember what I’m writing now. Hopefully I’ll have the courage to accept the situation, jump in fully, and see what life has in store for me.