People always tell me the same thing: when you know, you know.
But then I find myself, so naturally prone to overthinking, asking the next inevitable question: how do you know, that you know?
As I’ve navigated through my early twenties (which, yes, I did just recently realize I was in despite my 23rd birthday being only weeks away), I’ve found that a lot of life’s major decisions are rooted in that one gut feeling; that instinctive knowledge that whatever you’ve just decided, it was right.
But the most intriguing part is, that feeling is different for each and every decision. But, the more familiar I’ve become with my own instinct, the more I realize that everyone is right. It’s true: when you know, you know.
Perhaps it’s the feeling of gratification and pride at buying your first car, even if it was somewhat impulsive and not at all what you’d planned to do that day. I went into my test drive feeling entirely unconvinced that I’d be trading in my trust Honda that day, and yet, come 6 pm that night, I had the keys to a new Toyota in my hand, and it was easily the best adult decision I’ve ever made. The finances all worked themselves out, and I no longer have to worry (and neither does my mother) that I might randomly break down on the 101 in 101 degree heat.
Or maybe it’s the overwhelming sense of belonging when you walk into a new church. I was perfectly content at my college church, even if I did feel I’d grown out of it a bit with graduation. But the moment I set foot in my new church, I felt a rush of comfort, and I was led into one of the greatest communities I’ve ever been blessed with.
Maybe it’s a more delayed reaction, like a sense of stability and success from the job you took straight out of college. I didn’t look at many other options when job hunting; I didn’t feel like I needed to. And though I did initially feel a twang of, let’s face it, jealousy, as all my university friends made their way to glamorous new lives in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco, I now feel more secure, in my job and in my lifestyle, than I ever expected to feel at twenty two. Combine that with a recent promotion officially inked onto my resume, and my continued learning experience at this job I’m beginning to feel I excel in, I can’t look at this as the wrong decision (not that I ever would because, if you haven’t heard me mention it about 5000 times before, I love my job), because it led me to so many good things in my career, and in other aspects of my life.
Then there’s the knowing that comes from loving someone. That might be the most precious knowledge of all. It’s certainly the one I’m growing most fond of.
Through discovering all of these different aspects of that same, instinctive knowledge, I’ve come across the ironic key to the whole thing: you can’t possibly know when you are going to know. One day, it will all just click, whether it’s during your third small group when you manage to make everyone laugh, or when your eyes meet in the hallway for that very first time. Sometimes, it’s immediate. Other times, it takes a while.
But no matter what happens, you have to trust the process. You have to have faith, in yourself and in something so much bigger than you, that what’s put in front of you is there for a reason. Whether it’s to overcome, to enjoy, or to love, it’s there for a reason, even if you can’t see it right away.
You’ll know what it is eventually.