The lightning woke me before I heard the thunder.
It was around 5 am on a Saturday morning (my alarm set for 5:30), and I found myself alone in bed once again as I treaded water in a 4 year long distance relationship. For some reason on this particular day, my plans to bury myself in work could not mask the gripping pain in my chest. I couldn't pinpoint exactly what was wrong, but surely this is what the onset of depression felt like.
I knew things needed to change.
This voice had spoken to me before, but this time the words were not a whisper or a suggestion. They were a scream- the shriek of spectators watching an old woman cross the street as a breaking car squeals to a stop.
I knew in order for things to change I would need to take action, but that thought itself seemed overwhelming. I don't even how I came to the idea (perhaps divine inspiration), but the understanding that came to me that morning was that I needed to "start surrounding myself with good people."
So just like Bill Murray in the movie What About Bob, I started taking baby steps toward meeting and talking to people who inspired me. I asked friends to join me for runs or bike rides. I asked for business meetings with my boss. I asked friends to join me for dinner or coffee. One particular dinner turned into 2 hours of reflective conversation and perhaps a little too much wine, but I left that restaurant remembering who I was, what I wanted for my life, and what I deserved.
This was my great turning. I became brave enough to say what I wanted, and to know that it was time to leave the situation if it was not going to lead me to live my best life.
Since then I've taken many more baby steps.
Baby steps toward feeling better by getting more sleep.
Baby steps to a healthy relationship with someone I dearly love, respect and trust.
Baby steps toward a job that is less stressful and more rewarding.
Baby steps toward doing more of what I love.
Baby steps toward becoming a writer.
Paulo Coelho says that "When you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it". I believe this with my whole heart. Be brave enough to take action.