Personal deadlines sometimes go to the wayside in our tumultuous work-obsessed society. So, I hope you read “Sunday” as “someday,” and don’t berate me for my first (maybe of many – but that’s a habit I am aiming to break) late post. However, if you couldn’t tell from my previous post, the pressure without self-grace is overrated. Now, I can just pass it off as a tribute to one of my favorite blogs, Wait but Why, where the tagline says “new posts every sometimes.”
“new posts every sometimes.” -WaitbutWhy.com
Call it an excuse – I call it honesty. Why the delay? Too busy being exhausted.
Nothing new… except for almost everything. In my last post I alluded to my surprise break from school. I feel this needs some clarification. It is exactly that – a break, a year off, some down low time, a breather. After a year away, I will be returning to Philadelphia to kick the last bit of Penn in the ass, just like it did to me (although a drop is not infinite, thankfully). With all my newfound time, post-drop notice, I was stuck like the syrup lid after repeated use by four-year-olds. Maybe this dysfunctional freeze had been impending on me for what felt like eons prior, but this time it was different. I had felt like I had demolished any and all expectations, like I let the pressure crush me while simultaneously building pressure around me to compensate for my perceived “failures.” However, despite this pile of exponential dread, my stickiness was less like stage-fright. Instead, I found myself facing an empty year ahead of me – no job, no school, no organizations – for once in my life. I should have been scared. I was stuck. But I was free.
The job search turned into a life-search. What did I want to do? Where did I want to go?Who did I want to be? And most important of all: Why? As my Chrome tabs began multiplying like the fruit-fly thoughts swarming my brain, I was astounded. I was stuck not for the lack of choice and action I had felt for years, but because an entire world was unlocked and at my finger tips. Sure, I could have clicked the “submit application” buttons long before this forced epiphany, but there was a concrete wall blocking me. With my life crumbling, the wall was shattered, too. I was at the rockiest bottom in my life thus far. But to be honest, there was no where better I could have been.
Hey, I’m no J.K. Rowling, but at this lowest life point the whole “I have nothing to lose” mentality sparked inspiration. Reminiscent of Dr. Suess, opportunities reeled through my mind. Would I move to Africa to work in a wildlife refuge? Would I finally get to pet a kangaroo and hit that bucket list? What about a flight attendant? Settle in D.C. for a political roller coaster experience? Maybe I would return to Idahome and escape into the beautiful terrain, off the map. The possibilities were quite endless. How would I, a life long procrastinator-decision maker make the leap into what was next?
Turns out my personal “leap year” started with more of a whisper than the sonic boom I was anticipating. I regularly started waking up before my alarm, kick starting mornings around 6:30 am surprisingly naturally. I started sneaking into my school’s gym, despite them deactivating my student ID. My room was clean. My dog was fed and walked regularly. I reconnected with friends. I took spontaneous trips to new places. I got paid to play some games and smell some stuff (my natural inclination was to say “shit,” but fortunately it wasn’t like that). I kind of, sort of accidentally became a home health nursing assistant. All of these came slowly, smoothly, without the petrifying pressure that had plagued me for years. Before I knew it – I had job opportunities sliding into my DMs.
I’ll spare you the existential crisis and insomnia-stricken debates that arose as I tried to decide which year-long career path I would take. But if you were wondering – I chose a last minute cross-country move for a job that doesn’t align with either of my degrees. In a blink of an eye, I am up at 4:00 am – flying away from the prestigious school that kicked me out, flying away from the wonderful family who took me in. Flying to semi-middle-of-nowhere Tucson, Arizona.
I am exhausted because I am energized. My new position has me learning, growing, and engaging more than I could have ever known. Even more surprisingly, the inertia is coming from within myself. Although I am able to end my work days by 4:00 or 5:00 pm, I stay hours later not only for those I work with, but for myself. I am completely immersed into a new life that a month ago I wouldn’t fathom. But, “if you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”
If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are? ~T.S. Eliot
Arizona may be hot, dry, and draining, but my new life is refreshing, filled with a healthy new current, and flowing with energy. Hence, the busy exhaustion (but I still somehow find time to look at primates roasting marshmallows).But I’m not complaining, this is what I need. So, sorry for the late post, but I am learning to breathe again, in a whole new way.
P.S. Someone please send me a humidifier.