I’ve recently been cleaning out stuff from my childhood home. I found a sack in the attic of mostly cards, letters and notes from the ’70s and ’80s…literally every piece of paper with writing on it that was ever mailed to me or passed to me in class at school. (We were BIG note passers back then…that was before the advent of texting.)
While I have a strong desire to just throw everything out, I still feel the need to at least glance through things, if not read them. And being a sentimentalist, I do enjoy the walk down memory lane. It was a time capsule that transported me back to my wonder years…oh, the drama!
After a few hours of being sucked in the whirlwind of my younger self, I needed a break. In amongst the relics of my youth was a novelty mini jigsaw puzzle by Hallmark. It was a cute little puzzle, 7” x 7” and 70+ pieces. It was totally ’80s, adorned with a rainbow and a bright, cheery message. Totally doable!
It had been a while since I did a puzzle. I can’t tell you how much fun I had putting this little thing together. Oh, the sweet satisfaction when the pieces just snapped into place….sigh! There were times I picked up a piece that surely fit. I tried every angle to get it in. Yes, sometimes I did try to squeeze it in place in a futile attempt, but alas! …I was just so surprised it wasn’t the right one.
Then there was a brief moment when I couldn’t find the right piece. I had a slight pang of fear that it was missing, only to find some little odd shaped piece fit the bill. I guess you can’t judge a puzzle piece by it’s cover. And you just don’t know until you try it. But, ohhhh, when it fits…pure joy.
That puzzle must have been lurking in my subconsciousness. In some synchronistic event about a week later, while walking through a parking lot, a lone puzzle piece appeared on the ground before my eyes. It had gone rogue! The prodigal puzzle piece out on its Hero’s Journey! Somewhere there’s a puzzle out there feeling incomplete and wondering, Where, oh where could it be?
Then something about that poor little puzzle piece resonated with me. I, too, felt like a missing puzzle piece. Allow me to explain.
I recently left my job in the corporate world. It was a good company where I had security, I liked the people, and I often felt a sense of pride in a job well done. But I never quite felt that interlocking click. I didn’t so much feel like an impostor, but I definitely didn’t feel like “me”.
I was just going through the motions and I realized that it was time for me to move on. So now I’m a lone puzzle piece in the process of solving a new puzzle.
On the flip side, there are friends I’ve had for decades. No matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen them, no matter how often we’re able to talk or meet…when we are together, there’s an undeniable connection. The puzzle pieces fit. As I venture off on my new career path, I am looking for that feeling, for the pieces that fit.
I’m not saying that everything must always click. And even in jobs or relationships that do fit, you’re not always going to feel that satisfying snap. Life is fluid and always throwing curveballs. But there’s an overall feeling you get when you know you’re working on the right puzzle.
Challenge for the week: Are you a missing puzzle piece?
Life is a series of moments. The images stream by like a slideshow on a digital picture frame. From relationships and family, to home, health, career, spirituality, hobbies, travel…the constantly changing scenes go by as you navigate through your day and through your life.
Review your day and observe how you felt in various situations. Ask yourself these questions:
Where in my life do I feel a resounding “ahhhh!”? The pieces fit.
Was there any time today when I felt like the pieces didn’t fit?
If so, is it a common occurrence in that particular scenario, or is it just an aspect of the situation? You don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater!
Don’t lose track of your edges and colors!
Do you feel like you are contorting yourself to try and fit in, like a square peg in a round hole?
Or maybe you once fit in, but have outgrown your circumstances. Have you stayed at the party a little too long?
Awareness is the first step. Follow your heart and listen to your body…they are your greatest messengers. And like a puzzle, it’s a process. The more pieces that start to fall in place, the easier it becomes.
Have a great week and may we all feel the sweet satisfaction of snapping into place!