In a little town, far far away, there was a little old woman whose years were beyond counting. This old woman was famed as a wise storyteller, and many would make the trip to this little secluded place, just to ask for her advice.
One day, a young woman, her beautiful faced twisted by sadness and tears, approached the old storyteller.
"May I ask a question?" She asked her, as they sat in the market square. It was quiet, early morning, and only they were there.
"Of course, child." said the storyteller as she carefully marked her place in her book. "Tell me what brings such hurt to your eyes."
"My problem," said the young woman painfully, "is that I am good-for-nothing, I just don't... fit in with anything. I've tried so many careers, and wasn't suitable for any of them."
The wise old woman slowly nods and strokes her pipe.
"I've lived in many places and never did I feel I belonged."
The old woman smiles.
"I've dated many men but have never found my true love."
"Let me stop you there..." Said the storyteller, lifting a hand to halt the onslaught of worried words.
The woman quieted, breathing heavily.
"... and tell you a story. Isn't that why you came here?" She smiled and took a puff on her pipe.
"It may surprise you, perhaps hard to even imagine looking at this old face, but a long time ago, I was in a similar situation as yours. I too felt different to everyone else, and nowhere did I seem to belong. But I did not have a wise old storyteller to ask for advice, and so I went on a long journey to find the answer my soul sought.
long indeed was the journey. I crossed streams and rivers, hiked up hills and mountains, found forgotten places and wondrous creatures and men, but never did an answer I found. Until one day.
On that day, while walking through a field next to a village I cannot recall the name of anymore, there was a little brick wall, perhaps 5 foot tall, next to a little house. But that was not what caught my eye, no. What caught my eye were three archery practicing targets on the wall, and in the exact bullseye of each of them was an arrow, stuck as firmly as it could be."
The old lady stopped for a little puff on her pipe while the young lady did a little jig of impatience with her feet.
"In all my journeys, I have seen many great archers, so I know it to be a hard discipline. I was amazed to find such talent at such a humble place. Then I noticed a little girl peeking at me from the cottage door. Come I bade her and she did. And I asked her: "Dear child, do you know who is the archer who put these arrows in those targets?" She blushed and answered that she was that archer.
I was even more amazed and asked her how she became such an extraordinary shot at such a young age. She blushed further and, in a whispering voice, admitted that she had stuck the arrows in the wall and then painted the targets around them..."
The old woman chuckled softly while the young woman made a puzzled face.
"I don't understand..."
"That was the moment I learned about the essence of things, my child. You cannot find a place to own you before you own yourself. You must recognize who YOU are, and build a place around you that suits you. In other words, find what you truly wish for and build a life around it. Make life work itself around you, instead of trying to find where you belong. Perhaps the place you belong to is a place you are yet to create."
The young woman thanked her for her wisdom, dried her tears, straightened her back and walked purposefully away.
We can all learn a lot from that old woman's tale.