Monday, November 12, 2007

Just give me something to hold onto

Dear readers,

It feels a little contrived to write the letter that every other blogger's written, but I don't care. Your thoughtful notes and encouragement have helped me realize something: I am brave, and it's okay to feel good about this decision. I love you all. :)


I've killed two hours tonight sitting in front of the computer trying not to think about the awesomeness ahead of me. Damn, I know that having a quarter life crisis is about as original as writing blog love letters, but it doesn't make it any easier.

I'll write a lot about this in the months ahead, because it seems like it's the unspoken truth we all face after college, or high school, or whenever your time arrives. Whatever we thought we would be doing after we finished school? So not even close to reality. Whatever we thought we'd want to do? Probably doesn't exist, or if it exists, it's not what we expect.

I'm not sure what I should do now. Career counseling seems expensive and possibly unhelpful. Banging my head against a wall, while therapeutic, isn't doing much, either. There are only so many times I can email my mentors with a "Hey there, guess who's confused again!"

Sometimes, I just want to curl up and cry. I'm afraid I'll disappoint my brilliant husband, frustrate my friends, let myself down. I'm terrified of becoming That Girl Who Had Such Potential. And it's stupid. It's all painfully, obviously stupid...but I still feel that way.

Yet, I know this was the right thing to do. This morning, I sat in my cubicle listening to a co-worker talk about how she won't go home for Thanksgiving this fall, because it's too far away and there's too much work to do. She's right: we have a four hour evening meeting for the community and our project advisers immediately after the holiday weekend, a meeting so arduous that everyone has been talking about it for months. The other person in the conversation sighed and said that he guessed that was how it had to be these days, the challenge of having a successful career outweighing the desire to keep your loved ones close.

I don't believe that's how it has to be -- but, if I'm wrong, I think it's time for me to start letting the career mean less than the life it supports. It's hard, you know? When you want fulfilling work, challenging work, a job that makes you think. When you wind up instead with a stack of 45 telescoping easels and a large bag that has to hold them all. (No, really, that's how I spent the better part of my day at one point.) I don't want to complain because I know there are many people who would kill for the crappy job I'm leaving, and I'd actually stay with my company if it weren't for the LDR-related stress getting to the point where it's a productive night if I remember to eat and do the laundry. I hate feeling like an entitled whiner; I hope that's not what I am. Still, I can't believe it isn't worth searching for a job that makes the time I put in worthwhile. I don't have to love it, but I'd be so happy to like it.

I'm rambling. I'm sorry. There's much on my mind, and it came to a head recently, when I spent the better part of an evening on the phone to my mother, anxiety beating against my ribs like a trapped bird on a windowpane, walking block after frigid block of my neighborhood because I had to keep moving before it all caught up with me. (Have I mentioned how much I love my mom?) Anyway, things are better now. I can recommend treating mounting career woes and personal crises with the following four-step program:

1. Get thee to a video store. Rent the crappiest, stupidest romcom you can find on the shelves, paired with a legitimately funny film like Office Space. (Which hits so much closer to home now -- I don't know if I would have found it so funny the first time, had I known how accurate it would prove to be.)
2. Purchase vat of favorite ice cream.
3. Purchase six pack of beer. Or whatever. Something that makes you giddy.
4. Watch films, eat ice cream with teaspoon because it seems like you're consuming less that way, and drink until you establish a good beer buzz. Ideally, you should perform this step wrapped in a comforter and sporting really ugly, super-comfortable pajamas. It helps to have a bewildered cat on hand who just wants to know why the hell you aren't in bed yet.

I'm going to be pretty up and down on this blog for a bit. Well, until I move to the new blog (meet the new blog, same as the old...oh, god, I need to maybe get more beer before I actually think I'm funny). You're welcome along for the ride -- at least I can promise interesting commentary.


coalescent boy said...

"I'm afraid I'll disappoint my brilliant husband..."

He doesn't seem too worried about that; after all, he's still celebrating the jackpot he won in the spousal lottery...

coalescent boy said...

...although if he ever figures out who the "brilliant" one is, he may come after your polyandrous arse.