Thursday, May 21, 2009

Today is the first day of the rest of your life

Like the song says: "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose."

Well, chickadees the sun has set on the latest season of my life and the road is now calling my name to pound its freshly packed pavement. Today is my last day at work (*does a little dance in office chair*), and I have to say, I've never before felt that there was so much possibility on the horizon.

This feeling isn't only tethered to where my writing will take me, but is very much tied to the fact that my future is a wide, open canvas, beckoning me to paint on its clean, white surface and leave my mark in some way or another. The possiblities are endless and that alone is such a thrilling feeling. I feel free, I feel liberated. Taking a hold of my destiny has not only changed where I'm going in my career, it's also changed who I am as a person. I've never felt more at peace with myself. I have successfully blocked out my doubts and insecurities (which were sometimes the loudest voices), and have replaced them with a few stiff shots of strength and determination.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." (Thanks Janis Joplin.) In her drug-induced haze, I've always felt Janis had a point. It's quite an empowering feeling to know there really isn't anything left to lose. Maybe I feel this way because I basically have no debt. (Much thanks to my parents who paid for my college education.) No monthly car payments, or mortgages, or oppressive credit card bills under my belt, either. Although I have many wants (oh Burberry trench coat, how you elude me), I've learned to be happy living simply. This will make having fortunes in the future thatmuch better. For now though, I'm young and embracing the fact that I can take risks. And if you're thinking "Well, I'm not the spring chicken I once was, I'm old now", think again. It's never too late to change your path in life, no matter what age you are, if you know what you want. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

The muse has struck accordingly in the last few weeks, and I've been working on my writing as much as possible when I haven't been in the office or running errands. I've got a couple short stories nearly finished (one of which I really, really like), and I've been slowly and steadily working on my book. This blog's focus is quickly changing from being strictly personal finance-related, to one chronicling my journey and life. Money, of course, will inevitably rear its head as I traverse the unkept landscape, but (as I wrote in another blog post) I won't be focusing on it anymore.

Anyway, as I alluded to in the Byrds song earlier, there is not only a season to each of our lives, but also a purpose. I think everything happens for a reason, as cliche as that sounds. I don't look back on the last two years as a waste of time at all. They were what made me the person I am now: stronger and more focused and capable of doing things I would have only dreamed of doing when I was in sixth grade. I've learned to see the positive in everything (call it a recent form of enlightment), and there were many positives at my current job. For one, I made some fantastic friends here in DC that I will keep in touch with for the rest of my life. (Bob and Megan -- this is for you.) Two, I was able to support my husband through his first two years in law school.

It's of utmost importance to pull the positive from every situation. I know, I'm getting all Dalai Lama on you, but it's true. I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love right now and a passage I read today resonated with me. The author recollects a discussion she had with her friend, a psychologist who had volunteered to counsel a group of Cambodian refugees who had recently arrived in Philadelphia.

These Cambodians had suffered the worst of what humans can inflict on each other -- genocide, rape, torture, starvation, the murder of their relatives before their eyes, then long years in refugee camps and dangerous boat trips to the West where people died and corpses were fed to shares.
Surprisingly, though they had experienced such suffering, the only thing this group wanted to speak to the counselor about were situations that involved significant others who said they loved them, but that didn't act like it, or went off to marry someone else but still professed their love. What should they do? they asked the counselor.

The author's point is that is what we are like:
Collectively, as a species, this is our emotional landscape. ...There are only two questions that human beings have ever fought over, all through history: "How much do you love me?" And "Who's in charge?" Everything else is manageable. But these two questions of love and control undo us all, trip us up and cause war, grief and suffering. When I sit in my silence and look at my mind, it is only the questions of longing and control that emerge to agitate me, and this agitation is what keeps me from evolving forward.
So, are you in charge, or do you feel repressed because someone or something else has taken control? Does this make you feel helpless? In my case it did, which why today is my last day. It's time to regain control. In the book, another favorite quote of mine comes from a Texan man the author befriends during her time in India. His advice to her when she won't stop dwelling and complaining about her sorry state? "Your problem is you've got a wishbone where your backbone should be." Classic line that speaks for itself.

With that I'll be packing up my giant diamond ring paperweight and lime-green and brown paisley coffee cup as I bid my office a final arrividerci. I wish I could make a grand departure, like Debra Winger did from her job at the end of An Officer and a Gentleman when Richard Gere swept her off her feet, but I'll take this departure, too. In a way, I'm sweeping myself off of my own feet. :)


Stephanie said...

*wipes tear*.......I really am happy for you. This was a great post to read after such a monumental event.

Anonymous said...

I love this - I wish I could bottle this for myself! It's so uplifting to come to your site and see how you are making the changes in your life that you need in order to be happy and fulfilled. Can't wait to see how things go post-last-day!

Anonymous said...

Nice story. Thanks for this post.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight about love and control. That is truth.

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