Plans have changed, and while I feel disappointment deep in my bones, I also feel a peace that I have been forcefully nudged back on the track I set up for myself months ago.
I’m always thankful for the times in my life that have caused me to stop and assess. I suppose it’s part of my superpowers as an introvert, but I’m skilled in pausing life long enough to look forward, backward, zooming in and out of the now, and to ask myself the most important question anyone can ask themselves:
Am I happy?
I was not happy. There were things I agreed to do, not because I wanted them, but because I felt that it was the right thing to do. Or, I wanted a certain outcome and I was willing to do the ridiculous work if it meant I got what I thought I wanted in the end. If I could acknowledge I was unhappy, the next obvious question becomes:
What do I want?
This is a harder question to answer, because I can get carried away. What I wanted was to do it all. In the end, though, trying to do it all meant more self-sacrificing than “self-satisfying” and this is a recipe for disaster. In waking up to this reality, I did what needed done. I piled my hopes, dreams, and desires onto the metaphorical table in my mind, and promptly threw everything onto the floor in one dramatic sweep of my arms. Left staring at a beautifully blank table, I began carefully choosing what to pick up off the floor and put back.
First, my job. I won’t gush about how much I love my job, but I will say that, even though the immediate situation isn’t ideal, I want to make this job a career. My boss is my partner, and even the intern feels like an important piece to the puzzle. I feel a deep satisfaction in the work I’m doing and I can see that the Student Life team is making an impact on campus. I would love to be doing this for a long time.
Second, the theater. Our fledgling campus theater club, Stark Stage, is putting on a production of Death of a Salesman this spring and yours truly has been chosen as director. As I’m also an officer in the club, I was tasked with locating a theater to potentially rent for our shows, and I immediately went to my favorite local community theater (and not just because I used to be a member of the company!) This past week, the producer/advisor, our Willy Loman, and I all toured the theater, and after being back on that stage after all of these years, I was bit hard by the theater bug. During a terrible time in my life, theater was the one thing I held on to for support, and to have it back in my life now is serendipitous. I belong on that stage. Or behind it, I don’t care which. I just have to be near that stage.
Third, my health, both mental and physical. I’ve wanted to get back to running for a long time now, and a new yoga studio has opened down the road from my house. As a formerly certified personal trainer, I keenly understand how vital exercise is to our physical well-being, but truthfully, I’m seeking the stress relief aspects that come with the movement. I need the solitude that comes with running, and I need the tranquility that comes with yoga. The bodily benefits are secondary to the way both exercises will help me to recharge. I’ve written before about the ways that being on Prozac has tanked my ability to respect my introverted nature, but I’m rededicating my energy to preserving my energy from other people. Part of that is taking as much time to recharge as I can so that I can better be available to my family instead of giving them whatever I can scrape off the bottom of the barrel at the end of the day. My body, my time, my energy–they’re mine, and I’m committing myself to protecting them better than I have been since September.
Finally, my home. Earlier this month, I helped my sister move into her new house. It’s so beautiful. We were all just amazed at how perfect her house is for their family, and it rekindled for Kyle and I that we had big hopes and dreams for this house when we bought it. After a decade, laziness set in, and we just got used to the parts of the house we originally couldn’t wait to be rid of. With the fresh inspiration for change that my sister’s house gave us, we’ve gone back to the renovation board. The first floor bathroom is being gutted and rebuilt, and then comes much bigger change as we transition to an open floor plan and an all new kitchen. Yep. With so much flux on the horizon, I want to be present for each step in a way I haven’t been able to be since going back to school.
This isn’t where I expected to be starting my February from, but I’m actually quite relieved to have had this chance to start fresh. I got carried away from who I am, at my core, and I’m happy to be sitting on my own shore again. It’s peaceful here.