This is what I would call a time of transition, for me, the star the center of my own little universe.
When I was young, I was defined by a couple of things: my writing of a novel (2 of ’em), and my volunteering with Amnesty. I was a leaf on the water, drifting here and there, not honing in on much of anything.
Then came work, solid employment, as a teacher. I knew there would be a kind of currency devaluation, a crash, as I took stock of my inability to be published and reckoned with the job market. The crash happened; I found my market value, not as much as I wanted, but a good start.
I maneuvered to do better.
I was happy in Houston, but there was a nagging feeling of a reckoning that hadn’t happened yet. I needed a certain position that I wasn’t hitting, and wasn’t really moving towards, either. It was a problem, but I didn’t really have a language to address it.
So I started to catch up.
I stuck my stake in the ground, in tech. Here, I thought, I’ll make my stand. I’d always been interested in it, in the sheer creativity and flow of resources that it attracted; so I started on the phones and in chat, and studied Ruby, did some textbook trading on Amazon, and graduated to a half-dev, half-support role at an oil services company in Houston, and finally made the long-anticipated move to San Francisco, working for a company in an area that was a continuation and an extension of those skills, and immersing myself in startup culture to boot.
So that’s where I am. Transition.
I still have those PTSD-like flashbacks to Houston, to random street corners and not particularly memorable neighborhoods, like I’m there, disembodied, in the heat, watching the wind rustle the leaves. It’s intense, like I really crave being there on some level; but what is there, for me, that I can’t find also, here?
Often it seems like it’s the sour memories that attract me, like some interaction that fell flat with some people I don’t much care about – not even ones that make sense, like girlfriends or close friends, but random people, at forgettable running events. Those stick with me.
So part of my task, I think, is to move past these, to really meaningful events, to ones that can move my life forwards.
I’ve gotten much better at self-diagnosing on vaguely dissatisfied weekends like this one, on sticking an ice ax out and arresting my slide down the hill of melancholy. I’ll think: time to break the flow here, with a 10-minute meditation session or two. It does the trick.
Meaningless web-surfing, my old pastime, doesn’t do much of anything for me. This settles the waters of the mind at least, flushes the debris out. I’m not so much happy, in the sense of a post-exercise endorphin running high, as I am relatively clear. With clarity, unhappiness nulls out.
You can’t stop caretaking the mind. Every so often I’ll find a kind of pleasure groove, and happily ride it, as I did today.
Today is Sunday. Tomorrow the round of the week starts. New opportunities will arise to prove my worth, demonstrate my value, and contribute.
So it goes.