Thursday, January 16, 2014

Swimming



Man.oh.day.

Folks.  It's just keeps on keeping on.  If I'm being honest, there's been some reluctance over the past several months to come here to typety-type my heart out because, well, I'm still climbing up the mountain and I haven't yet caught sight of the top.  I so want to avoid becoming one of those people who a) completely identifies with my job and b) persistently complains about my job, but I also think the practice keeping silent about the tough stuff is kind of bullshit.  I'm not saying my tough stuff is special; I'm just saying we all have our ways of figuring out the "what are you going to do about it" part.  In large part, I write because it's my favorite path to making sense of things, but I also write because I believe in the very tippy reaches of my soul it's all part of the human experience and I want somebody, somewhere, to read this and understand in her heart that she is not alone and it will get better.  I believe that for myself and I believe that for you, too.

In the meanwhile, though...gosh, there are a lot of hard days in these months.

Here's the thing: I'm not complaining about my job.  It's not the job.  It's where I am in my life, in my growth.  It's being caught between feeling certain I took the wrong exit somewhere along the line and am hundreds of miles away from where I am supposed to be and feeling equally certain that in 10 years, where I am now will make perfect sense.  It's feeling so deeply and utterly grateful for a dependable paycheck and work that keeps me engaged and feeling equally deeply and utterly sure there's gotta be something more.  It's feeling tired, and not in the way that gets fixed with one long sleep.  It's feeling insecure, feeling I made my bed and now I have to sleep in it.  It's feeling so desperately desperately that I want to create beauty in this world but having no idea how I do that.  It's wanting to fulfill the long held dream of buying a house and knowing a big fat part of being able to do that is having a certain kind of job.  It's adjusting to a radically different lifestyle than I've ever known (hello, sitting all day!).  It's valuing security over exploration one day and valuing exploration over security the next.  It is, ultimately, feeling the heavy weight of an unknown future.  It is so many things.

And each one is valid, and each one is good, and it all sometimes feels very hard and very scary, and I often wonder how long until I have completely lost myself.

Guys.  I am not hinting at needing a rescue.  You wouldn't do that to me because you know and I know I am exactly where I ought to be, and each of us will go through some iteration of this several times in our lives (if we're lucky).  And each time we go through it, maybe unless we someday become very wise, we will want it to be over, we will want to escape from it.  And the ways we try to make that happen only stall the process: we invalidate our questioning, we drink too much, we shut down, we succumb to the  mundane, we tell ourselves we'll have more time to be our true selves in the future, we shut ourselves down with "it could be worse," we run away instead of towards, we substitute others' dreams for our own...we do all of these because we forget that the only way out is through.

As I have swum around in this pool of "where the hell is this all going?" I've started to notice that I'm drawn to certain ideas, certain people, certain sources of inspiration even when I'm tired (what you choose to do when you're tired says a lot about what drives you!).  I'm a big blog reader--there are at least 10 that I check in on regularly and most of them focus on design and living a beautiful life.  One that has quietly moved to my daily check in list is Design Love Fest.  And while I was initially drawn to Bri's blog because of her aesthetic, I've become more strongly drawn to it because I want her job.  I want to do creative work, to make beautiful things, to host events and teach and write and share inspiration, and even though being able to do all of that probably also means late nights and heavy deadlines, I still want it.  And it feels completely terrifying to say that.  Why is that?  Why is it so scary to say out loud what we want?

It's scary because you're not supposed to go to graduate school to figure out what you don't want to do.  It's scary because we have cultural stories that set strict parameters around when it is okay to start over.  It's scary because there are bills that keep showing up in our mailboxes every month.  It's scary for a whole lot of reasons that probably boil down to doubting our own abilities to make awesome things happen in our lives.

I can't promise you it will work, whatever "it" is for you.  I wish I could, but that would be robbing you of the richness of not knowing and doing it anyway.  If I could, I can almost guarantee I'd be writing on a different theme in this particular moment.

Most days, I want it all to just make sense.  I want that security of knowing what the next logical thing is.  But right now I know, and I hope you know with me, it does make sense, just maybe not to the current versions of ourselves.

So now I'm considering either taking a metals class in preparation for future welding classes, or I might sign up for beginning graphic design.  I'm being deliberate in reaching out to what inspires me even when my be-inspired button is broken.  I'm putting my intention out into the world that I'm open to the next good thing, even though I don't exactly have a clear picture of what that is.  I'm getting really, really good at keeping my head above water even when I feel like I'm wearing a lead vest.  I can only imagine that will make me an excellent swimmer when I find a favorable current.

Thank you, as ever, for reading my words.

xo


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