I have been thinking a lot lately about the story part of our lives.
I use New York City as an illustration often because, for me, that city was more than just a place to live; it was life lessons as abundant as deli bagels. (Point being: I enjoyed a hearty amount of both during my time there.) (: So, as to why the story matters. There was a time in my journey of moving when it wasn’t all Frank Sinatra and Sex in the City. A few weeks before I got the job offer, I was really restless with the waiting process. I had polished my resume, compiled my portfolio, applied to every job I came across, and could visualize my life in the city more clearly than my life as it was… And yet – there was still. no. offer. And so I was forced to wait.
And that’s when it hit me: this is part of the story. Humans love stories; we crave them. There’s no story in a movie without plot twists; there’s no story in a life that unfolds exactly as one would expect; there’s no story in someone who gets everything she ever wanted the moment she wanted it. What’s more interesting: the inner city student who fought poverty and prejudice to gain acceptance at an Ivy League school — or the wealthy, connected student who did? The musician who signed a record deal the first time they got on stage and became overnight packaged success — or the songwriter who endured years of dimly lit bars and scraped by until, at last, he got his big break?
What I had to accept about NYC is that the wait is part of the story. The days spent wanting it, the effort put in to every application, the nights spent dreaming of studio walk-ups and Manhattan skyrises… That was building the story. That was building the overwhelming gratitude I felt sitting on the other end of phone line when the job offer finally came through. That was building my tenacity to appreciate a 300-square foot studio walk-up, even when bedbugs would overtake it in a matter of days. That was building the journey I look back on now, wanting nothing to have been different about it. A story isn’t just its ending; it’s all the pages leading up to it that are there for a reason.
And so I’ve been trying to apply that to other areas of my life lately. To relationships for example, when my sister says, mostly seriously, that I ought to write a separate blog cataloging all of my funny dating stories. To mornings at the gym that feel like lost sleep but are moving me closer to my health and fitness goals. To nights spent typing into a computer that are turning me into the kind of writer that I want to be. And hopefully you can do the same, for whatever chapter your story lands you in right now. I truly believe that, even when it feels like things aren’t unfolding as they ought to, they’re part of the bigger narrative. And they’re the things we’ll look back on one day that will move us, entertain us, and strengthen us for the pages ahead — and make the rest of the story all make sense.