I’ve always been the girl with the advice.
I'm not proclaiming I know it all, but I get an incredible feeling from being able to help someone sort through a problem.
Giving people words of wisdom is kind of like giving them birthday gifts: You anticipate that look of surprise on their faces when you hand it over.
It’s a self-gratifying pleasure, for sure, but it also has the power to make someone else happy. I think that’s what life should be about.
So, what happens when the girl with the advice suddenly realizes she might be wrong?
It hit me when the guy I’d been seeing for three months flipped the script without a moment’s notice and left without a trace. I went through the standard phases any girl would go through at a rapid pace. I was upset, then I was angry, then I was confused, but not for the reasons you’d think.
I was upset because I thought I had it figured out. And by "it," I mean, "dating in your 20s in New York." I was angry because I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I was confused because this made me question all of the relationship advice I’d ever given.
Was I telling my friends the exact opposite of what they should hear? Did I write article after article, filled with paragraphs worth of dating advice that essentially translated to useless bullsh*t? Have my unsuccessful relationships been the byproduct of my misguided sense of judgment?
I was all f*cked up, seriously. I spent the following three weeks numb at the thought that I knew nothing about love.
My years of experiences hadn’t taught me anything worth knowing. My intentions to positively influence Generation-Y were nothing but a joke.
And worse, I centered my writing on ideas and principles that, ultimately, were meaningless. All at once, I was stripped of my identifier – the advice-giver in me – and I wasn’t sure what to do about it.
So, I did nothing. I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t think about it and I didn’t write about it. What was once my safe place — the creative outlet by which I was able to unleash the raw, untapped parts of myself — suddenly became a landscape that terrified me.
I hate to admit it, but I was scared. I was scared of what people would think when the girl with all the advice was single, again. For the first time in a long time, I was second-guessing and overanalyzing, a lethal combination that led me to dead end after dead end.
What right did I have to offer people dating advice when, at 26 years old and countless dates later, I still couldn’t gauge whether a man wanted me for my personality or my bra size?
How many times can people burn you until eventually, you stop feeling the flames? What makes a person fall out of love with you at the exact moment you’re beginning to open up to the idea he or she is deserving of it?
And there it was, staring me in the face the entire time. The second-guessing and overanalyzing that led me to question after question boiled down to this: You can’t control the unknown. Try as you might to plan ahead and follow the map, but life can jump in and rearrange directions at any given moment.
All of the caution in the world cannot account for the human in people. There aren’t always warning signs and red flags. Foreshadowing doesn’t always exist, and there are some things you just can’t anticipate.
Being powerless and being out of control is a symptom of being. We’re trained to think ahead and plan our next moves, not accounting for the fact that it can disappear in the bat of an eye.
It’s a harsh reality, but it is our reality. There’s no escaping that. You can’t wish away the unknown, and you certainly can’t control it. But, you can learn to embrace it.
Take what life throws at you and pitch it back 10 times harder. Accept the choices people make, even when their reasoning is not understandable. Stop trying to control that which isn’t meant to be controlled. At a certain point, all we can do is throw our hands in the air, let the pieces fall to the ground and hope they fit together.
There’s a master plan for all of us. It's waiting for the moment when we’re ready to accept the experiences life has in store.
Life never hands us more than it thinks we can take on, whether it’s mourning the loss of a loved one, losing a dream job or discovering people aren't whom you thought they were.
The reality is, there’s a whole world on the horizon, always on the precipice of revealing itself until we’re ready for it. Though we’ll always be impatient, we must sit on the edge of our seats and wait to soak it up and dive in.
All the right things come to us when they’re meant to. I know you’re rolling your eyes, wondering why the girl with the advice is pawning off bad breakups and messy situations as a component of fate, the universe and all of those ambiguous ideologies we’re so quick to blame our circumstances on.
But it isn’t about blame, it’s about acceptance.
We must accept things as they are, move forward and wait with open arms for the next great adventure.