Finding a Way - Part I
Updated: May 24, 2020
On a hot early August evening in 2017, I stepped onto the moving walkway at Ben Gurion airport with a heavy bag in my arm. I let out a sigh, as I do every time I find myself at that spot. Considering the numerous circles of hell one might potentially encounter on the way there, from endless swirling ques, through haphazard security checks, to a biometric passport machine that just refuses to recognize your face, arriving at that walkway with some time to spare is always a blessing. But on that early August evening, I sighed for other reasons.
It was my first visit to Israel following my move to The Netherlands. Five months have passed since I last saw my family. I was excited to be back. My cousin was getting married and I was in charge of making her wedding dress, as well as my aunt’s mother-of-the-bride dress. The dresses were my main project during the months building up to the wedding. Since the move, I was experiencing a persisting fruitless job hunt and an array of mysterious health issues. The dresses were a blessed distraction.
Exactly one week before my flight to Israel I received some optimistic news. I had been interviewing with a major local fashion brand for quite some time and my last interview has advanced me to the final stage of the hiring process; I had to design a five look mini-collection for the brand, a standard task for a candidate. With excessive excitement, I committed to delivering the project within a week. Easy. Working tirelessly around the clock is normal in the fashion world, and I was no stranger to sleepless nights. “I can handle it,” I told myself.
Did I handle it? Well, I didn’t sleep for three nights straight, I depended on the help of a wonderful friend, and I experienced what I can only describe now as two panic attacks. But the project and the dresses were completed on time. Is that handling it?
The wedding was a success. But, needless to say, I did not get that job. Something about not having the right experience. I was nevertheless relieved when it was all over. I only had two days left to enjoy the Israeli weather before my return to The Netherlands. I decided to extend my visit a little longer. I couldn’t get enough of that sun. And what was waiting for me in Amsterdam? An unsuccessful job hunt and ongoing doctor appointments?
How did I get here? I had a plan, a clear direction. I had a vision and a goal. I always knew what I wanted. At least I thought I knew what I wanted. Did I want to design under someone else’s name or did I simply want the security of a job? Did I want to give away my ideas?
I realized that I was lost. I never asked these questions. I always worked tirelessly towards my goals with uncompromising laser vision. I compromised my sleep and my health, believing it was a part of the package and a small price to pay. I was told that my hard work would pay off and that I would eventually arrive at my destination. But the closer I got, the blurrier my vision became. Things just seemed to be falling apart around me, and I was exhausted from the struggle to keep it all in place. Why did my destination seem to be further away than ever?
Well... in Hebrew we say “Man plans and God laughs.” The universe is a humorous being.
So when I stepped on to that moving walkway at the airport, I sighed. I didn’t know what I was going to do upon my return to The Netherlands. I didn’t know how long I would wait, how long I would be lost. But at that moment, there was one thing I knew for certain: I knew that my way was not working. I knew that my way of approaching things would not lead to success. I knew that I had to find another way. I promised I will find another way. Any other way. But what? How?
I later learned that, when you are lost, it is better to stop searching and stay where you are. Stay still, things will find you.
Read Part II Here