I’ve had a thousand things running through my head lately and somewhere around…today…I think I realized that’s what’s been preventing me from writing. It’s like the highway on my way to work in the morning. I’m having a mental traffic jam. I’m going to try to stay focused as I lay it all out and hopefully relieve some of the traffic.
Lately I’ve been feeling a bit confused, misdirected and uninspired. I know, not exactly a cheerful approach to Segway into the traffic that is my life but there it is. This month I graduate from university. I always pictured myself gliding across the stage, great hair, huge smile pasted on my face, shaking hands with the president of the university while the crowd gives me a standing ovation. I always did dream big, and perhaps watch way too many movies. Anyway the point is, I’m not feeling any kind of elation over this upcoming event. I have learned a great deal and I’ve grown tremendously as a person but I’m disappointed that all the money and hard work has made me doubt myself further. I was always sure of what I wanted to do which ironically was to teach, but I feel sort of let down by the education system as if it stunted my growth as a creative individual and served only to guide me towards a pre-determined perspective. I see the value in developing style, sentence structure, grammar and knowledge of literature (and also history in my case) but as there was often no cohesion about the opinions of one educator to the next I found myself wandering aimlessly in a world of poetic and literary style. Walking across that stage I feel no more confident about my ability to write an essay than I did at 17 when I first stepped on campus full of possibility, because I have triumphed and failed so many times over with so many different professors that I’ve learned there’s no absolute. By the end it began to feel like a joke on me for spending the thousands to find out I might have some writing ability but that I’m likely mediocre at best. This of course has led me in a tailspin of changed career paths, confusion as to the meaning and direction of my life and general frustration. Dramatic I know, but true.
In saying that I feel I’ve always generally understood what it took to get places. I have to persevere. Eventually everyone else will either drop out or get tired of saying no so perseverance is key- not in a stalkery weird kind of way just in a don’t-give-up kinda way. It’s become tougher to do without the confidence to push me along but I know it’s a must. I have to wander back down the road to a path that’s perhaps not what I envisioned, but one that will allow me to interact with others, be creative and present little challenges to allow me to showcase my talents in a fulfilling way. So, the search continues…
In the meantime I promised myself I would open my eyes a little more to what’s around me and try to appreciate where I am, right now, even if it’s not what I intended exactly. I am content with what I’m doing now I’ve just always been unsatisfied without a plan for what’s next and that has been the most difficult. In forcing myself to open my eyes and focus more on the “now” (and it’s been a daily struggle) I have found myself learning little lessons along the way.
Lesson One: Slow Down. I notice how everyone is in such a rush to get to their next destination that they are sometimes rude and impatient towards one another in getting there. The pleasure in the journey has been lost and I am guilty of allowing myself to be swept away by this as well. Slooowww dooowwnnn…whatever it is will still be there whenever we get there. Who knows, maybe a friend could be made along the way!
Lesson Two: Be Considerate. With all the technology available today it’s entirely possible to be in a million places at once. At the grocery store, on facebook, talking on the phone, texting- all at the same time! At my house we are in the middle of a bunch of renovations. I volunteered to go get extra paint from Home Depot the other night (mostly to get out of the chaos) and as I was there waiting for the paint to mix, a friend called me on my cell phone, and not one that calls often so I knew it was important. It was an important conversation enough that I didn’t feel I could hang up so when I went to pay for the paint I told my friend to hang on, put her down on the counter and told the cashier I HATE when people talk on their cell phones when they go through and pay for something and now I’m one of them! I laughed but she just stared at me. I was imagining she was hitting one of those buttons for security (do those really exist?) because someone let a looneytoon into the store but after a second her face broke out into the biggest smile I’d ever seen. “Thank you for being so considerate” she said “you can’t know how much I truly appreciate it”. I kind of sheepishly shrugged and said it was no big deal but I was touched by her seriousness. As I went to leave, cell phone in one hand, paint can, stir stick and purse in the other I started to realize what a balancing act I was embarking on. The woman rushed over to the door where I was- the phone against my ear and the stir stick on the paint can (I looked ridiculous) and pulled out a plastic bag and expertly wrapped my purchases. “Are you okay getting to your car?”, she asked. I think I made a friend. Turns out the consideration stuff is kind of contagious business.
SO in saying all of that I am no closer to anything more conclusive than knowing I want to be someone I can be proud of. I realized that’s truly what would make me the happiest. I want to be kind and considerate and thoughtful and yes successful, but I want to reach that success knowing I have not compromised the integrity of the person I’ve strived (and paid thousands) to become. I feel some bit of peace knowing that much.