3 Tips To Mastering Direction Changes

Your Mission

Direction was never something I struggled with.

By the time I was 7 years old, I had already decided to become an Egyptologist. My scholastic and geographic decisions from then on were based on that idea. I took French starting in the 6th grade because I knew that it was one of the three main languages spoken in Egypt. I read books, watched movies and documentaries and when it was time for university, I enrolled at the American University in Cairo. Up until I stepped onto the plane, my direction, for the most part had been pretty linear. There had been no detours and I was off on an adventure to a land I had dreamed of my whole life.

Direction Changes Without Warning

City view – Cairo

But as soon as I stepped off the plane, I knew my direction was going to change. I arrived in Cairo with the promise of housing and enrollment, only to have the rug pulled out from under me. The office in New York had told them I was not coming. And I was not the only one they had done that to. So, alone, 18 and blonde, I tried to navigate the bureaucracy of the education system in Egypt and tried to find some accommodation, most places I looked I was shown in the direction of new developments I wouldn’t have been able to cover financially, places not too different from some of these best compounds in New Cairo. And after a week of talking to everyone I could, I knew it was not going to work. I did not have the resources to do the things they asked of me and I had no one to help me try. I had to go home. The direction changed.

That experience was the first I had with that kind of disappointment. The feeling of your longest dream slipping through your fingers. I took it hard but, as with anything else in life, I did not give up. I enrolled at Arizona State University the following year and focused all of my studies and electives on archaeology. I got good grades and had an internship my final semester. But upon graduation I had come to the realization that I would need to go to graduate school if I wanted to really be anything in the world of archaeology. So I applied to three graduate programs for archaeology and for fun, I applied for a linguistics master’s program.

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I should note that languages had been my secondary hobby and after my first experience with a linguistics course in college, I was pretty entranced with the science of it. In fact, a while ago, I even considered enrolling on a 1 to 1 private language course with the UK Language Project Birmingham so that I could master even more languages. There is still time I suppose!

And Again…

That spring, my direction changed again. Of course the only program I was admitted to was the linguistics program. It was at that moment that I had a crisis. I had never imagined myself leaving Egyptology behind. Even in that moment I do not think I truly recognized the departure I was taking from my life long chosen path. The rejection letters from the other programs felt like Archaeology itself had rejected me.

Direction: Home

That began my period of wandering. Though I felt a great connection with my new area if studies, I still felt lost, aimless. I had no idea where linguistics would take me and I was really just along for the ride. Unfortunately, I rode along until suddenly I was graduating and my only plan was to work with languages in Washington, DC, which in retrospect was not a plan at all.

It took me two years after graduating to figure out what the direction was and I wanted to do with Linguistics. And it was mostly due to the encouragement of my husband and partly due to a fortunate walk on a beautiful sunny day. I was walking through the campus of my alma mater and I realized that I did not want to leave. I wanted to be on a campus. I wanted to teach. And that was it. The direction and focus that I had lost so many years before returned.

The Direction Is Only Good With A Plan

Though what followed seemed to be a crazy amount of hard work, the journey to that point was the most trying. Then I had to work on the logistics. Direction is only good if you can make a plan around it. So my husband and I needed to discuss possible schools I could apply to and where he could move to. We had to discuss what our plan was for having kids since I would be starting my PhD at the age of 28. And I ultimately had to figure out my ideal destination, my specialty, and what my career will look like.

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It has been tough. It has been a long road leading me here. But if I can leave you with anything, I would like to highlight three main ideas, tips, or lessons if you prefer, that I think every woman needs to appreciate to master changes in direction:

  • direction changesThe first is that we are lucky. I am incredibly lucky to have had the opportunities I have had and the experiences, good and bad. They taught me, challenged me and helped me find myself.
  • The second is to really question everything. I made to many decisions without planning and forethought. So, take your career and your planning seriously. Ask yourself the hard questions and include every factor you can think of. It is the only way that you can see yourself being truly happy.
  • And finally, it is okay to let go of a dream. I know it is scary and painful but sometimes we hold on too tightly to things that are not right for us. I should know, if I had not gone to get my master’s in linguistics, I would not have met my husband.

This is the truth that I know: “It is okay to be afraid. It is okay to lose direction. But never stop searching.

Contributor, Claudette P. Esterine
Alexis Ali

Alexis Ali lives in New York with her husband and holds a Master’s degree in Linguistics. She is a freelance writer of short stories and uses her skills to help others with their writing projects. Her most recent posts here were: “The Worst Advice We’ve Heard About Princess,” and a short story series on parental abuse and healing – “Adele’s Pattern: A Journey To Redemption.”

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67 thoughts on “3 Tips To Mastering Direction Changes

  1. […] was about this time last year that I wrote a piece about changing direction in life. I laid out my life plan, one I had had since early childhood, and then carefully […]

  2. I have dreamed of becoming a dentist, but when I went to college, I changed my mind and went to s business school instead. I’m pretty much happy with what I do now and I have no regrets that I didn’t become a dentist.

    1. Ms Claudette

      That is the important part – that you have no regrets! Thank you so much for sharing that! πŸ™‚

  3. I am not in any place that I thought I would have been 5 years ago. I was going to be a Psychologist for the Deaf, however I left and started my own business.

    1. Ms Claudette

      First, let me say how much I love your name: Living Off Love And Coffee!!! Absolutely love it! πŸ™‚ Second – you are right where you need to be in this moment. Drink your coffee and enjoy every moment of running your own business! Much love and blessings! πŸ™‚

  4. I would rather be a successful in my career than sacrifice a dream for anyone else. The only way to make others happy is to be happy myself.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Amen to that! I honestly do not believe in “sacrificing.” Maybe one day I will write about that. Thanks so much for stopping by Erika! πŸ™‚

  5. kleebanks

    It’s funny I have also been blogging about letting go and moving forward in life.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I am not surprised as this is an extremely important aspect to growth, so many will be focussed on it and we all bring a different/new perspective. πŸ™‚

  6. It’s interesting how things line up and have us doing things we didn’t really think of initially.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I am sure Alexis, the author of this post, would agree with you and so do I! πŸ™‚

  7. Angie@chasingmyhalo

    I LOVE this! I am a pretty determined planner too, and some of the biggest disappointments come when doors were shut and I had no control. Life has a way of working out!! Keep your head up πŸ˜‰

    1. Ms Claudette

      On Alexis’ behalf – thank you very much for the encouragement! πŸ™‚

  8. My sister doesn’t do well with change. I like change.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Share a page or two from your book with her! πŸ™‚

  9. Great post! I always dreamed of being a dancer or actress, but as I grew up, I knew those deams had to change. It’s hard to let go, but I wouldn’t change where I am now.

    1. Ms Claudette

      They went and you moved into another ‘dream’. πŸ™‚

  10. I have a love-hate relationship with change. I love the excitement that comes with embarking on something new, however, the anxiety that follows shortly is something that can knock me to my knees at times. I have learned that the anxiety is only for a season and if I keep moving forward it will pass.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Well, if it knocks you to your knees that is a great place to start praying for strength to get up and start moving boldly into the new. Much love and blessings Chanelle! πŸ™‚

  11. Girl you had me smiling because I remembered a similar thing happening to me when I arrived in Texas as an International graduate student…..BUT…I am now so grateful for that experience because I have never been the same (in a good way). My faith grew in that time more than any other.

    1. Ms Claudette

      We love when you smile! It looks awesome on you! Faith has a way of bringing them on! Much love and blessings! πŸ™‚ BTW, did you see our Comments Leaderboard? You were on top!!! Thanks! πŸ™‚

      1. Hhhahahahahahahhahaha….no I did not see it but that is nice to hear.

        1. Ms Claudette

          I love the outfits on your blog – we should do a link up!

          1. Ms Claudette

            Let’s make it happen then! πŸ™‚

          2. Ms Claudette


  12. Life is indeed, full of surprises. You’ll never know what will happen all you can do is keep up with the changes and continue to live according to how you want to live. It’s definitely challenging but fun when you finally realize what it is you want to do with your life.

    1. Ms Claudette

      That it is, that it is – fun! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by again! πŸ™‚

  13. I have to add – pain is part of the process but eventually we all learn from it and we try to take a path that’s more fulfilling even if this path sometimes challenging.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes, we do learn from pain and just about everything that occurs in our life – which in itself is the Process! Thanks for your perspective! πŸ™‚

  14. This is a beautiful post. I first wanted to get into broadcast media but things kind of changed because of 1 class in college that totally changed my views and so now, I am in Marketing, Advertising, and Real Estate. I’d probably earn more if I got into broadcast media but somehow I found great joy and fulfillment in what I do now. As a bonus, I get to do travel because of the field that I’ve chosen.

    1. Ms Claudette

      There you go! No accidents, no mistakes and always, always something to be grateful about! Thanks for sharing that! πŸ™‚

  15. Elizabeth O.

    It’s okay to have our plans changed sometimes, it stirs us to the right direction. Things will eventually fall into place anyway.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Funny how they do, eh? Thanks for that Elizabeth! πŸ™‚

  16. Great tips… i always want to change my direction πŸ™ i dont know why!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Maybe you like “fresh paths?” I love changing where I live as well! Thanks for your visit! πŸ™‚

  17. victoria

    Thank you for making me inspired and i love also the advice this is reality

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are most welcome! And thank you for visiting! πŸ™‚

  18. i hear everything you’re saying in the article. i’m just too stuck in my ways.

    1. Ms Claudette

      This post was written by Alexis so she is who you are hearing but I (Claudette) also hear her as well – so you are not alone Tony! Thanks for visiting again! πŸ™‚

  19. just1mommysopinion

    Aw, what an inspiring story! And I love the advice. I’m 29 and technically haven’t found my dream career yet. So thanks for your words of wisdom πŸ˜‰

    1. Ms Claudette

      As I have been saying, Alexis – the writer of this post – is a very wise woman that I am so proud to have as part of this blog! Thanks you for visiting again! πŸ™‚

  20. I only wish that I had known so early what I wanted to do. I had a few things narrowed down tho, but turns out I didn’t do any of them!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Turns out you did what was best for you at the time and now! There are no accidents. πŸ™‚ Thanks for visiting with us again! πŸ™‚

  21. Great philosophy – sometimes it’s ok to not know where you are going!

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are so right about that Natasha! Thanks for the visit. πŸ™‚

  22. Wow an Egyptologist? I too have a fascination with Egyptian culture but you were right to choose a career that spoke to you in more ways than one.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Our Alexis is a smart one she! Just like you Ana! πŸ™‚

  23. Whatever life throws at you either learn from it or grow from it. Sometimes the lessons are hard and esp. of those lessons are a change in direction from our life long vision…Did you totally lose I dont think so. You are a strong Woman and You found your calling in a long round about route. Glad you did!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you Julie – on behalf of Alexis. I was chatting with her earlier and she is so pleased that so many of our readers can relate to her posts. Thanks for visiting. πŸ™‚

  24. I love direction changes! I thrive off of change. My husband, on the other hand…. LOL

    1. Ms Claudette

      I (Claudette) am so much like you! Yes. many people do not like change…we thrive on it. πŸ™‚

  25. I agree, it can be easy to lose your direction.Sounds like you are very focused and driven, those are such amazing qualities.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Our Alexis (author of this post) is exactly that and more! She is a beautiful woman who goes after what she wants. I (Claudette) am extremely proud to have her on this team. πŸ™‚

  26. How wonderful to be blessed at such a young age with direction and purpose! Good for you!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Isn’t it a beautiful thing? Alexis (author of this post) is a remarkable woman! Thank you Heidi for your visit and support! πŸ™‚

  27. My life’s path has certainly not been linear to say the least. I seem to have fallen into bookkeeping although that is not how I originally pictured my life. I did however follow one dream and got my Env Sci degree at the age of 44. Then back to bookkeeping–oh well—

    1. Ms Claudette

      Sometimes the change is a temporary diversion and that is okay as well – we get to view another scenery/landscape for a while. Thanks for visiting again Michele! :0

  28. I absolutely love that you said “it is ok to be afraid. it is ok to lose direction. but never stop searching” that has been so truthful in my life

    1. Ms Claudette

      Our Alexis (author of this post) is a wise woman – and so are you! Thank you for your comment and visit Michelle! πŸ™‚

  29. I need a plan to get things done. I dont do well with change though.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Well, you have taken the first step by recognising that a plan will help you through whatever changes you need to make. Writing as they say clarifies, so make plans A, B, C, D and then take the next step. Much love and blessings with the process and most of all enjoy. πŸ™‚

  30. I dreamed of being a nurse when I was younger, that’s all I wanted to be. 6 months into my training I realised it wasn’t for me! It was a tough decision to make and a year later I changed course and started a degree in English and in History. I’ve been a teacher of English Literature for 18 years now πŸ™‚ Sometimes you have to let go of a dream and change direction x

    1. Ms Claudette

      Amen! Sometimes what we think is best for us isn’t really. Thanks for sharing that wonderful snippet of your life Claire! πŸ™‚

  31. Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I don’t do well with change. AT ALL>

    1. Ms Claudette

      I know a few people who are like that. It is a learned skill and for some it takes longer than others but remember, change is the only constant in this life. πŸ™‚

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