I had a “New in NY” moment today. In an effort to get home after a networking meeting, I hopped on the first train I saw. Everyone else was rushing to make it before the doors closed, so I assumed I needed to be on that train.
Then I noticed the train was going fast–too fast. We passed by stop after stop, and at first, I was excited. “I’m on the express, so I’ll get home faster!” And then I saw us fly by my stop, and then another, and another. “Stop! Please,” I cried in my head, as if the conductor could magically hear me, and I found myself looking around for the string they have in San Francisco on Muni to indicate you want to stop. There were none.
More stops, more stops. And I was further away from home than I had been when I first boarded the train. I felt helpless, my iphone died, and I realized I had taken the express train to nowhere I wanted to be.
Before you hop on the express train, make sure the destination is somewhere you want to go.
I like going fast. It’s one of the reasons I was on the Varsity cross country and track team, but today’s metaphor was clear: take a moment to decide which train to ride, even if it means missing the one everyone’s rushing to make.
We all have those moments. Moments where we see everyone else rushing to do something, so we think, “Oh, everyone else is trying to get on the marriage train, the baby train, or the career train, so I should too.” But before you make a mistake like I did today, take a stop and breathe.
Is that your train? Will it take you where you want to go? Or will it take you to a place where you feel trapped and helpless, pleading internally for someone to let you out?
Today is the first day of the rest of your life, so take a moment and stop. Spend some quiet time as the nights get colder, and ask yourself what you really want. You’ll know when you’ve found it because you’ll feel a mix of excitement and fear.
Once you’ve found your train, don’t hesitate. Hop on board and enjoy the ride!