I’ve been sick for the last week or so. It’s been no fun at all. On the good side though, it’s given me a lot of time to think. It’s funny how when an illusion shifts, there’s really no going back. Once you see something, it’s hard to pretend you never did.
So, while sick in bed, watching old episodes of The Office and (of course) House and coughing up a lung, it kinda became clear to me that my current life isn’t really working for me the way I wish it was. I’m not really happy with where I’m at. It’s a sobering realization.
As I posted about a lot here, last fall I was planning on going back to school this year, and then this winter, I decided against it. It seemed too much too soon, especially financially. My decision took a big turn when I got a huge raise at work. For the first time possibly ever, I felt financially secure, and I didn’t want to jeopardize that by putting myself in heaps of debt. I couldn’t imagine how I would afford living expenses. Right now I live in low-income housing and my rent is really low, so low it almost seems criminal. Anyway so I figured it might be wiser to take advantage of the big raise and low rent and save up lots of $ and also work on my writing in the meantime, try to get a publishing deal. I felt a little iffy about going back to school anyway, and was thoroughly enjoying myself here on Orcas, making and strengthening good friendships, feeling like I really, really didn’t want to leave the island anytime soon.
And it’s been great. I had a really awesome winter this past year. I got to spend more time with lots of people who I really value. I had a great trip to Hawaii and a great time at that writing residency last month. It really fed my soul. Now that I’m in the usual rush of the year though (which here is basically March-October), I’m feeling pretty unhappy, and definitely like I want something more. I mean, in a lot of ways, my job is great, I’m getting paid well, I love my apartment, I’m just sort of…bored with it all somehow. I’m intellectually frustrated. I feel directionless. Much as I like my job, it’s not deeply satisfying, and I don’t want to be doing it forever. I want to be chasing some dream, full of goals and ambitions and passion, and I feel lacking in all of those. I kinda wish I’d stuck with the whole school thing, though I still think that it’s too soon, especially when it comes to the $ issue. Plus there’s a part of me that’s just not 100% sure that’s what I want to do.
Now I’m looking at my time now and in the coming months as soul-searching time, time to really think about my next move, figure out some direction, save money, build credit (that was a huge concern for me with school also, b/c if I take out loans, I don’t have anyone to co-sign and had no credit to speak of, but I’ve been working on that one, and it’s been paying off) and get my ducks in a row.
In numerology, I’m in a 7 year, which is actually all about all this stuff. It’s a quiet, soul-searching, kind of withdrawn year, and I’m really feeling that now. It’s not exactly fun. A month or so ago I was really feeling pretty happy and like everything in my life was working and now that’s shifted and I can’t quite go back. I know I want something more. I feel kind of listless and lost, kind of bummed out, but I think it’s fertile soil for something new to grow. So, I’m just trying to let myself marinate in the whole feeling of uncertainty for awhile, hoping that unconsciously, there’s some real composting going on, and I will emerge with a clearer idea of where I want to go and what I want to do.
“Mary Jane” – Alanis Morissette – Wow, I got chills when this came on, because it’s sooo appropriate. I have a long history with this song. When Jagged Little Pill first came out, it was the one song I couldn’t get into, but as I got older it became my favorite. In college, this song always gave me chills, because I could relate so intensely, especially to the line, “So please be honest Mary Jane, are you happy? Please, don’t censor your tears,” and “All that matters Mary Jane is your freedom…” In those days, I was pretty passionately unhappy with my life and felt like a caged bird. Now I don’t relate nearly as intensely, which is nice, but still, to some extent I do, and the song just fits.
To be honest, I think we all go through this feeling of being satisfied with where we are now, but worried we’re growing complacent. I think that’s partially why I deferred law school, rather than ruled it out, now that I found a job I love — I just can’t help but think of what’s next, and want to make sure I keep moving up, rather than staying in one place, if it turns out a year from now that’s where I am. We have to keep striving to do the absolute best thing for ourselves, rather than getting stuck somewhere that seems to work for the moment, but in the long run just becomes “living”. You may love where you are, but I think you know you don’t want to do it for the rest of your life, and you’re probably worried about getting sucked into staying there because the other possibility is too difficult. You told me a year ago that sometimes you have to take a “leap of faith” to get what you want — maybe another one is in the cards for you, soon, too.
Hmmm… this uncomfortable uncertainty is the tough part of life, and most people wallow in it and let it either roll over them or find alternative coping methods (head in sand, drugs, booze, sex, shopping – name your favorite vice). I am confident that your sojourn in this murk will bring you through to the other side more convinced of what you want to do and where you want to be. Because I THINK you KNOW what that is and who you are. Just take your time getting there. Marinate. Peace, Linda
I think you both bring up some excellent points. I think I’m definitely at the stage you mention, PF, where life just becomes “living,” and in a way, that’s not enough for me. I want vitality and passion and creativity. I want to be “living the dream, baby,” as they say, rather than just getting through the day.
But yeah, leaps of faith are scary as fuck, you know? And sometimes they’re also REALLY hard. It’s so much easier sometimes to just keep on doing the same, but it’s not deeply satisfying. It’s just kind of there.
So, I’m trying to consider lots of options. Because I’m not really sure. I think about school still, but I am just not sure, I have a lot of reservations about it. In the end, I want to do what is best for my life and my ultimate direction and what will be most interesting and meaningful and engaging and growth-producing and happy for myself. I’m just not totally sure what that is yet. So I’m not doing anything drastic anytime soon. I’ve done the whole leap of faith with barely any planning before (my adventures on organic farms and my move to Seattle come to mind immediately). I think in a way I’m too old to be able to deal with something that impulsive and uncertain (but really, who knows?) Ideally, I’d like my next move to have some solid planning behind it, even if it’s wild. Which I hope it is.