Turning point. The phrase suggests of a change for betterment, something that is normally ‘reached’, implying a journey. ‘I reached a turning point when… and I never looked back.’ In physics, it is the point in which there is a change in direction or motion.
For many, like myself, turning points are reached somewhat suddenly, and can leave you standing stock-still, not knowing in what direction you’re now facing.
Change is confusing at the best of times.
It pushes us out of our comfort zones, and therefore our minds are quick to interpret any change as negative.
I graduated university with a shiny first, along with 26% of the graduate body of that year. I flung myself straight into the first well paying well-respected job full throttle, and after a short while knew it wasn’t right for me. I left. Turning point. I took the money I’d earned and did the travelling I’d always promised myself. Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand. I got sunburn, memories, a tattoo, the lot. But then the true turning point was met, the turning point in my
career. I found myself faced with obstacles far taller, broader and denser than I thought they’d be. I felt like I’d turned into the face of a locked door. I know a lot of postgraduates feel this way. The bubble pops, egos deflate, friends disappear back to their homes. Suddenly we are faced with more competition than we have ever known, and it is very easy for this turning point to feel more like a tripping point, no matter how optimistic the intrepid traveller.
But despite the discombobulating nature of change, I offer a few comforting words of my own. I have found peace, not in trying to struggle against the change in direction, or to settle into the feelings of loss and confusion at the new path ahead, however understandable it may be, but allowing myself to be in the moment of change. Trying to preempt it, or skip over it, or pull back and stay in the past and what I know to be safe, has given me grief.
Embracing the moment, the fear of it,
gives you time to notice the people
and the opportunities around you
that may have not been visible before.
There’s the common phrase of ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’, and it’s a motto that pushes you head first towards change, towards wonderful things, challenging things. This may be sounding impractical. I’m not necessarily talking about finding faith, inventing a new medicine or quitting your career.
These turning points can be as small as starting a conversation with someone new in your life, taking time to listen more to someone you care about, giving yourself permission to do one unusual thing in your day.
It is so easy to find turning points overwhelming, to a terrible degree, but I can promise that the door you end up facing is not locked, it just needs a good shove. Your greatness will be found in you turning point.