Sometimes we get on a plane to Paris and end up in Holland. You signed up for Eiffel Tower and crepes and red wine. Instead you’re looking at tulips.  Miles and miles of tulips.

Do you know what I’m talking about?  You thought you were going to be a ballet dancer with the New York City ballet but instead you’re a fashion designer with a hot brand.  It’s not that you didn’t want to be a designer, it’s that you still lament the loss of the ballet life. Or maybe you wanted to be a tv personality and you’re the VP of Training and Development at an international firm. Or you wanted to be a novelist and you’re an advertising copywriter.

Our talents can take us many places, and sometimes life forces a direction on us.  That’s when we end up in tulip land. Holland can be Permanent for some – like the broken bone for the ballet dancer, or TBD – like the great opportunity for the HR star, or Temporary – like the need for steady income for the copywriter.

It’s how we choose to experience Holland that makes it a fun visit or a dismal one.

The Permanent scenario is hard on the ballet dancer, but the finality of it can be freeing. He will never be young again and he will always have the remains of the injury, but he will always have creativity, vision and grace.  These same talents have made him quite the success in the fashion industry.

The TBD scenario is quite fun.  Do I or don’t I want to go back to what I was pursuing or am I having so much fun in this new and unexpected world?  It’s a giddy feeling to have the freedom to soar at something new and not have to decide your next move.  (I wish this for everyone!)

The Temporary scenario.  It’s hard to put dreams on hold.  On the other hand, food and shelter are good. The hardest part here is the unknown.  We don’t know when or how we’ll be able to get back to our dream and that not-knowing can churn our insides. So we’ve got to make a radical choice. Do I stay with my sadness and feelings of failure or do I say, “Screw that! I choose to embrace where I am, on a path I never expected. I’m both apprehensive and excited about where it’ll take me.”

Based on personal experience, I recommend embracing Holland with all your heart.  The more we fight Holland, the more we stay stagnant. We get more and more stuck in the mud and it gets harder and harder to get out. The downward cycle feeds off itself.

But so does the upward cycle. Energy flows when we embrace where we are and this allows for incredible and wondrous experiences we didn’t expect.

Welcome to Holland.  The tulips smell magical.