The past couple weeks have been… weird. I started blogging again this Summer like I always do, with renewed energy, but also — this time seemed different. I have been intermittent writing over the years for a myriad of reasons, from keeping quiet while in certain jobs to not having an interesting life.
The hardest thing in doing what you want is coming to terms with it. I’ve spent more than ten years doing that, maybe more, maybe since I was a little person? When I was young, my mother gave me a book to record my dreams. I never wrote down the visions that came to me at night, only what I fantasized about during the day.
It was five weeks ago when my boss and I were sitting in a coffee shop and I told him I wanted to transition out of my position. The words kind of slipped out. I was mentally exhausted and tired. While certainly there were parts of my job – and people too – that I enjoyed, there wasn’t a day that passed where I didn’t think, “This isn’t what I want to do.”
Last Friday was my last day of work.
I wasn’t planning to quit, really. It seemed right to suck it up and keep going. It seemed responsible.
Making money is easy, making meaning is hard. Making money is finding it where you can get it, and last year, I found it everywhere. I had six different sources of income (eight, if you’re the IRS), that made me more than six-figures. Mostly from my pajamas at home, sometimes with a sandwich at a coffee shop.
Making money is fantastic. People that tell you otherwise, I don’t get them. Money feels good, and earning money feels real good. There’s something particularly great when you earn it directly, without a middleman, something about proving your worth.
My mother says I am in the real world now.
“Things aren’t just handed to you,” she says. “You have to work.”
She is referring to my history of being blessed, the days when jobs, men, friends, careers, and connections came to me. When I had a wide network, when I knew everyone in my city. The days before DC, maybe even farther back.
You know how in Eat Pray Love, the sage memoirist Elizabeth Gilbert summarizes entire cities and personalities into one singular word? New York City is predictably assigned Achieve, Stockholm receives Conform, and the word Attraversiamo, which means “let’s cross over” in Italiano, is eventually assigned to Gilbert herself.
Now there is even a Facebook group to one-word devotees, where the city Provo, UT gets Marry, and Jacksonville, FL is stuck with Ridiculous. But there’s no need to stop at cities and people. Much can be acutely summarized in one word – your dinner meal, a presidency, a TV show – and now, as the year comes to a close, the last 365 days.
In accordance with the laws of motion, anger and vengeance, I have desired for suitcases to fly satisfyingly through windows, for nasty notes to appear in an inbox or two, or three, and for glasses to break into a great many sharp pieces in response to those big mean jerks who insist on climbing up my backside and making a home.
It’s an extraordinary kind of derangement to rip into another, and to do so continually and rancorously. The derisive nature of such a person and their seeming hero quests for revenge are certainly not encouraged, although I admit to feeling such pangs myself.
Journalism is taking hits in more places than one. Not only has its validity and usefulness been questioned by the entire blogosphere, but increasingly, its integrity has taken a beating as well. Nowhere do the shiners show up more than upon the face of Fox News, whose incredibly biased coverage on President Obama has raised red flags, all the way up to the White House.
Slate Magazine shared their take this past weekend:
Any news organization that took its responsibilities seriously would take pains to cover presidential criticism fairly. It would regard doing so as itself a test of integrity and take pains not to load the dice in its own favor.
Just because something’s cheap, does that mean you should buy it? If it’s free, should you use it? The recession means a proliferation of cheap and free, but that often means sacrifice. The social network Facebook is free, but at the sacrifice of quality customer service (not that I don’t love Facebook).
I like motivational talks. Like this one from Gary Vaynerchuk. I get all excited and pumped and ready to work.
Then I get stuck. Interminably stuck. Because I’m really excited and pumped to work, but for what? I’m a lucky person, but I wonder is this it? Really? Because I thought there might be more.
Marcus Buckingham of the Wall Street Journal gets it. “This is a deeply anxious and insecure generation,” he argues. “On the surface they look self-confident, [but] deep down they know that they don’t actually know what it takes to win.”
Apparently it’s going to take a decade of wandering for us to figure it out.
I am not the most articulate person in person. It’s something that I’ve had to work on. A lot.
Mostly, it has a lot to do with my personality type. What’s going through my head sounds quite coherent to me, but I tend to say things first and think second. That makes me stumble in the middle of sentences and prefer to put words to paper instead of lips.
I didn’t really know this was a problem until my last job. A position that was all about public speaking. Speaking. Out loud.
I was sitting in a classroom. The walls were covered in plaster and moldings, but behind all that was red brick, so red that the color seeped through the cracks of the old windows, and the sun, and the light, and the energy filled the almost summer air.
It was a time when I was – more or less – happy, and we were seated, twenty or twenty-five of us. Our desks outlined a jagged circle, and I was trying not to check out the young man three desks to the right, because I was still dating my first real boyfriend, trying to make it work from four hours away.