What Are You Searching For?

“What are you searching for?” my friend asked during one of our many conversations. After a few seconds of silence and her thinking we had lost the connection, I heard, “Laura, are you there?”

“Yeah, I’m here,” I answered back, still pondering the question. “I was thinking.”

“I thought I smelled smoke,” she quipped back, and we both laughed. Our sense of humor has seen us through many years of friendship. And I needed the laugh at that moment. Timing sometimes is everything, and hers was on point.

As I regained my composure after laughing and managing to call her a smart (insert expletive here), I finally said to her: “I’m not sure that I know the answer to that yet. The past several months, I’ve experienced such a limbo that it’s left me questioning a lot about me, my career, and what to do next. I also feel this huge pull to do something different, something meaningful. I’d love to write full time, but. I don’t know. I’m a work in progress, and you know that, so I’m always searching to some extent. And I guess I’ve been asking myself that question more than usual because of the circumstances. To top it off, I keep hearing my mother’s voice saying, ‘what are you going to do?’ But I don’t have an answer. Thoughts and ideas and lots of dots out there to connect, well, a lot is swirling around. I guess you could say the locator on my GPS is spinning and searching for a signal. Does this make any sense because I feel like it doesn’t?”

She laughed and answered, “Of course it does. I get it. And it’s okay to feel what you are feeling. It’s okay not to know. You’ll get there. I know you will. I hope that for you.” That’s when I laughed and let out an “uh, huh” because she had given me a taste of my own medicine. Nicely played, friend.

The more I think about that conversation, the more I realize the expanse of the question. And I suppose that the answers could be endless. Aren’t we all searching for something? I guess what it boils down to for me is that what I thought I was searching for I’ve found at various points in my life, and I surmised that my purpose in large part needed to be defined by that thing – whatever said ‘thing’ was at the time. They couldn’t be two separate things.

Or could they? 

Maybe they run parallel.

Perhaps perpendicular.

Heck, you may even hit a dead end. But you can always turn around and find a different way, right?

Then there’s this thought:

What if what you are searching for intersects beautifully with the unexpected? It gives you the time to reflect without the constraints or pressures of the chaos, or the illusions; or the feeling that you should be doing something else because that’s what they want you to do; or the self-imposed straight jacket you wrap yourself in because that’s what you thought you wanted.

Then, bam! Something happens that gives you the time to think and think and think some more. Suddenly the constraints and pressures are subtracted from the equation – but not unexpectedly because you sensed something was amiss and put the pieces together.

That happened to me back in late March when I entered a new phase of my career: gainfully unemployed due to a reorganization that eliminated my position. And amidst a pandemic. So, my search for purpose and what to do next took center stage.

Gone is the constant need to worry, overthink, overanalyze, and find a million reasons why it wouldn’t work out.

For the record, I still don’t have an answer, and I’m okay with the uncertainty for the first time in my life. Gone is the constant need to worry, overthink, overanalyze, and find a million reasons why it wouldn’t work out. I’m not saying I still don’t do those things. It’s that I’ve learned how to mitigate them better. I suspect it has much to do with my headspace, my support system, writing, a regular workout schedule, dates with nature, and this feeling that I cannot shake that it is going to work out somehow. Sure, there are days when I get down and have to disconnect from social media or the job search because it feels like salt in a wound. Sometimes it makes me sad, but never mad or resentful. I suspect it is part of the grieving process. So, I take the necessary time outs to regroup and reset because it is essential to healing.

I’m weighing all the circumstances with a healthy dose of logic, education, and of course, heart. I’m trying to respect, listen, and learn more. I’m writing more, and each time I do, there’s this overwhelming feeling that keeps telling me that this is part of it. It being whatever piece of the mosaic is out there – an opportunity on the wings of change.

I’m beginning to realize that the heart of it lies within us. All the steps I’ve taken led me to this moment—each dot-connecting. Maybe life is a mosaic because of these thousands of imperfect pieces. And when you lay them out, they fit perfectly imperfect together to create a tapestry of possibility.

If you are out there on a quest, too, I want you to know you are not alone. It isn’t easy, and our situations are all different. But we can do this – even on the bad days when we want to throw in the towel. We can continue to construct our mosaic, seek, define, or redefine our purpose and persevere. It is within you as much as it is within me. I’m here for you if there’s anything I can do to help you along the way. To whoever is reading this essay, I invite you to remember your worth. And I’ll do the same.


Laura Mikolaitis
Laura Mikolaitis
Laura credits her writing, which laid dormant for years, to her late mom, who always believed in her. Writing unabashedly from the heart and inspired by millions of moments, three tenets of evergreen advice that her mom always shared with her are her guiding principles. Whether it is poetry, fiction, or a personal essay, her love for the written word feeds her mind, body, and spirit. Laura’s creativity also comes to life in her passion for photography. Her ongoing love affair with the moon, her joy for family and friends, her connection to nature, and being a loving canine mom often become some of her best subjects. Laura has held many roles throughout her professional career, including Brand Manager, Project Manager, and Director of Global Business Development and Sales Operations. In addition, she has a background in consumer-packaged goods, manufacturing, and textiles. Laura currently works in biotechnology for Berkshire Corporation as their Product Marketing Manager. She holds a Master of Science degree in Communications and Information Management from Bay Path University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from SUNY Oswego. Originally from Northern NY, Laura resides with her husband and canine child in a small town in Massachusetts that captured her heart years ago.

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  1. Myriam,
    thank you so much for this heartfelt and energetic flow of thoughts that you share here. I am touched by your kindness and genuine spirit. You bring a positivity that we need more of in our world.

    Thank you for making me smile, and for sharing with me here. I love the quote from Sadhguru. It is fitting and true.

    This piece was a long time coming, and it felt freeing to write it last week. I have more I’d like to share, and it will come in time. But I felt that this layer must be shared, and I only hope that in some small way it helps someone else.

    Thanks again, Myriam for your touching contribution here, and your encouragement. It means a lot to me and I look forward to getting to know you!

    • Thank you, Catherine. I am glad that this piece resonated with you on some level. I know I have had feelings of loneliness through this process, and days when my motivation is low. Sometimes looking at the job boards is painful, and then I look at how many jobs I’ve applied to and haven’t heard back about, and it digs a little deeper. But I have to keep trying!

      I wish you well on your journey, and as I mentioned in the article, I’m here if I can ever be of help – even if you need to vent! Thanks again for tuning into my article and for your valuable contribution to the conversation.

  2. Thank you so much for this essay for your eloquent, honest words resonate deeply inside of me. Something I’ve realized recently or maybe I knew this even as a little girl-nothing outside of me is permanent-even when it seems to be a boulder. Searching for worth, peace, love, tenderness, affection, kindness, resilience, acceptance, connection, belonging, purpose, meaningful, high quality relationships, quiet at the core of being, validation—and probably so much more has all sent me on what many would call a spiritual quest that has landed me, so far, firmly in what some would call the Seat of the Soul or the Witness Consciousness—like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz being told by Glinda, the Good Witch, that Home was inside of her all along-I believe Love and all the above are there too. And then I forget. Then I remember I’m a spiritual being having a human experience and I will exit in the middle of the movie…hopefully laughing, crying, and celebrating having created a life worth living. We’ll see. Members of the jury are still out in the lobby smoking cigars and drinking Red Bull and wondering. LOL!

    • Laura,
      Thank you for sharing this beautiful reflection with me. It is inside all of us. But I do think that we go through points in our life where we forget that is where the foundation resides, and we seek other validation for how or who or where we should be – only to come back to our core being hopefully. I suppose the search wouldn’t be as fruitful if we didn’t stumble from time to time. It’s those hiccups that often help us re-create who we are and remind us too.

      I appreciate you, Laura, and your caring, generous, and kind soul. Thank you for always bringing such an eloquent perspective to things.

  3. Laura Mikolaitis, M.S. sweetheart I’m shocked we’re not yet friends, and I’m not talking about LinkedIn button, even though it can be a start 🙃😁🙈

    You touched my #soul by this #masterpiece more than you could ever imagine 💙💙💙💙💙 Wanna know why? Because #vulnerability is one of my very favorite #virtues of all, and I’m finding myself automatically attracted to people displaying it! (I talked about a non-exhaustive list in one of my essays I can share).

    Why are people unconsciously connecting with #vulnerable folks like yourself? For two main reasons: 1. we can all #relate– at least at some point of our life, 2. We admire the #bravery of openly exposing ourselves and talking about our emotional world 💎

    And I so feel what you’re saying, since leaving a #legacy is part of the human nature and of being #whole. The mission doesn’t have to be #big; only #principled💙

    There is a reflection I love about #uncertainty:

    “Fear is happening because of excessive imagination; things that are not happening, that you are creating. Your fear is always about that which does not exist. You cannot overcome something which does not exist. ~ Sadhguru”

    P.S. I think you will make a #fabulous full-time writer 🌞