I can draw many parallels between this time off from life and when I took a semester off school. We are getting quite a few questions and curious looks as to where we're going from here. It's fun to laugh and say, "Who knows?!" but I am never quite able to do this. I'm always afraid people are going to think I'm crazy.
When I was going to college, I spent a summer semester studying literature at Cambridge University in England. It was an eye-opening summer, a chance for me to venture out on my own and come to some new conclusions about the type of person I was becoming. When I returned to the States and my old stomping grounds, I wanted to continue growing and evolving. I didn't want to get trapped in old routines. So I took a semester off to think, to grow, to expand. I worked, socialized, helped my dad out around the house. But Jesus, by the reaction I got from my family, you'd have thought I'd decided to join a commune or something. Every time I picked up the phone, I got the same response. "We are so worried about you! What are you doing with your life? You need to go to school! Do you have any idea how important your education is?"
But that was just the point. I did know exactly how important my education was. I knew how easy it was to get stuck in a rut, to look back at your life and wonder how you ever became the person you were and how little it resembled the person you wanted to be. I was nineteen years old and was already beginning to feel that way. The choices I made with that semester did not appear, on the surface, to change my life, but they did in a tremendous way. I ended a disappointing relationship that was bringing me down, that enabled me to meet my future husband less than a year later. I took a job at a news station that led me, nine years later, to the red carpet of the Academy Awards. I took chances that ended up allowing me to fulfill my dreams. I didn't have the luxury of hindsight to know all of that at the time, but I had the luxury of faith. Faith in myself. Faith in the bigger picture. Faith that it was all meant to work out in the end.
And that is pretty much what is going on with our lives right now. We have a sort of luxury at this moment that most don't get to enjoy or experience, and we are not letting it slip by. We want to figure out where we stand, figure out our vision for our future, and figure and how we can make it happen. We are taking a semester off, so to speak, to learn about ourselves, to work at making a better life for ourselves and our family, to slow down and decide what really matters. Just as when I was a teenager and the well-meaning relatives would call, all the friends and family are asking just what we are doing with our lives and have we figured it all out yet. I think of it akin to grieving. Everyone wants us to get over it and return to what they are comfortable with. I don't blame the family, for their concern comes from love, but they need to have the faith in us that we have in ourselves. It is all going according to plan. We find that out in the end.