Finally, I’ve reached the turning point. The point I always knew I would reach, the point that everyone has been telling me to get to for the last month or so. The point where I’m finally done mourning the loss of my job, (and the relationship) and I’m finally realizing that having free time at this moment in my life is actually a huge gift.
I knew I would get here eventually, but like every journey, it isn’t really something you can rush. I needed a little time to process, to hang out in the void, to wear a lot of yoga clothes and sit on my couch… and frankly, I think that is healthy. I think it is good to mentally take a step back from where you were, and take some time to really figure out where you want to go… and it takes some of us longer than others… Honestly, I’m still not entirely sure of the where part… but I’m finally not terrified of exploring that.
A few weeks ago, when my lack of a job was still very raw, someone asked me “If you could picture the perfect job for you, and the most ideal situation, what would that look like?” and I panicked… I mean almost completely shut down panicked, because I realized that I had no idea. Like, not even a little bit of an idea, and it’s a pretty scary thing when you realize that you can’t even imagine what you want your future to look like. (I’m 27… I should have some grasp, right?) I’ve always believed in the 6 month plan… 6 months is manageable, 6 months is safe, and at the end of 6 months you can reevaluate, and tweak and reorganize as necessary. And I’ve been living on this 6 month plan for almost 6 years. I take a beat, I reevaluate… and most every 6 months I decide that things are going pretty swell, and I don’t veer too far of the path I’m already on. That is until last October… that is when I changed everything… Suddenly I had new goals, new dreams, and a new plan… and it didn’t even remotely resemble my old plan. It was fresh and exciting… and the really scary thing is that it felt 100% right. But life kept happening, and plans changed again, and suddenly I was back where I was… and it felt a little forced, and boring, and even a bit frustrating, but hey at least it was safe. It was money in the bank, it was familiar, and there is something to be said for settling back into a routine. Well the universe once again had other plans, so there I was staring change in the face, and fighting it kicking and screaming… (and crying, there was a lot of crying) So I took a few weeks, I readjusted, I mourned, I settled into the fear… and tried to get a grip.
Through all this I felt a little pathetic. I mean I have a tattoo on my foot that is supposed to be inspiring me every day to live the life I want to live, to follow my passions… and for a really really long time, people would see this tattoo and ask me “so what is the answer for you? What do you want to do with your one wild and precious life?” And the answer was always the same “get a bulldog, name him Toby, write something amazing, be happy” So what are you supposed to do when you are heartbroken and out of work, and you realize that you already have a dog named Toby, and you are trying to write, and have been mostly happy, and that it’s not quite enough? Furthermore, what do you do when you realize that the one thing you actually want to do more than anything else you’ve ever wanted to do is no longer an option? I’m all for wishing, and setting goals, and visualizing what you want, but at some point you just have to let it go. You have to realize that the person you want to spend your life with doesn’t want to spend his life with you; it’s probably prudent to get a new dream. Which is easier said than done. (and then you also have all the girly baggage of realizing that if this person doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life with you, he isn’t worth your time… but you can’t get over it just like that, so it just makes you feel bad about yourself, and like you aren’t empowering yourself, and that you are in fact pathetic for still being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back… trust me, being a woman, and being in your head is a dangerous dangerous thing… then add to it the extra free time, and the not having a job thing… and I’m actually amazed it has only taken me a month to start snapping out of things… ) Most mornings I would wake up, and it would take just about everything in me to try to focus on other things. My morning mantra became “find a new dream, move on.” And I’m still working on it…
But Friday morning, it finally hit me… You know like when you are running about 20 minutes late for work and you suddenly get inspired to bleach all the grout in the shower and deep clean every room in the house? That is what it was like. I was getting ready to head to the unemployment office for my mandatory visit, and suddenly all I wanted to do was get my life in order. It’s not like I had an epiphany or anything, I’m a practical person, and I did in fact realize that I should be working on something productive with all of my free time (and several of you have been hinting at this for quite a while) but it finally all clicked together somewhere in my psyche. What better time to actually completely the millions of projects I have to do around my house? What better time to get serious about writing? What better time to be creative?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I have completely stopped working on myself over the past month. In fact that opposite is true… sure, I’ve been a sad moping version of myself, but I’ve also been exercising a lot, taking vitamins, drinking more water… I might have had a grey cloud following me around, but at least I was being physically healthy… and now it’s time to work on the mental stuff. I’m still definitely in a transitional period in my life. Fingers crossed I will hear something about graduate school by Friday ( at least about my application to the Peer Mentor Program, which will at least be some sort of news!), but in the meantime I’m working on all the projects I’ve been putting off.
I’m writing more. Because I have the luxury of time. And it’s not always good, and it’s mostly quite rambly (current post included) but it is writing none-the-less. Ask any writer, and I guarantee he/she will tell you the importance of writing every single day… making sure you carve out time, and write just for the sake of writing… so I’m writing. And I’m reading more, and I’m looking for creative outlets. I’m trying new recipes, getting ready to start collaging, I’m making lists of house hold projects, (I think it is finally time to paint the kitchen cabinets!) and I’m starting to do some deep cleaning and purging. I’m taking this time off, and I’m going to make the most of it. I actually cleaned off my desk today, and got my home office set up and ready to go. I updated my chalkboard calendar, and sucked it up and erased the corny little heart he drew around the day we met. I’m ready to be inspired, and have a clean and cheerful place to settle into! (I even burned some sage). I really want to grow my blog, expand my readership, and hopefully start submitting pieces elsewhere. (this is the part where I shamelessly ask you to share my blog with others, like the facebook page, and send me good thoughts and positive writing vibes.)
I share an office with Toby… he doesn’t spend a lot of time in his crate (mostly for sleeping and time outs) but he was hiding from the vacuum…
The corny heart. I didn’t keep it for sentimental reasons, I really just hadn’t updated my master calendar since September… shows you how much time I have been spending at my desk.
Clean Desk, Fresh Calendar, Can’t Lose.
I’m also going to be following another passion of mine…Several months ago, after a particularly great day of teaching yoga, I had a moment when I thought “wouldn’t it be great if I could just teach yoga, and be a stay at home dog mom, and work on my writing?” Of course I promptly filed that thought under “yeah, wouldn’t that be a nice pipe dream” and let it go… and now I’m pulling it back out re-filing under “holy-s*%$, this is my reality!” I have no idea if I can make a living off of teaching yoga… but what better time to try? I’ll be getting unemployment to supplement things, and I have time, actual time to devote to planning classes, recruiting students, and cultivating a dedicated and meaningful practice in this community, and it’s something that I am actually epically excited about. Especially at this time in my life when I’m feeling so off kilter, and like I’ve lost part of my identity. I’ve always felt that I am the best version of myself when practicing yoga… and it’s time to get back to that self. For the rest of the month I’m experimenting with becoming a “full time” yoga teacher at 4 elements yoga. I’m going to be teaching Power & Hatha Yoga on Monday mornings, two Hatha classes on Wednesdays and I’m also going to be subbing for Slow Burn Vinyasa, and Back & Shoulder care yoga for a few weeks.
Sure, they are all baby steps, but baby steps in the right direction.