the timing is never right

I’m studying for the ACT, a standardized test used for college admission. Yes, I am turning 29 in just a few weeks. Yes, I matriculated a four year college when I was 18. No, I don’t plan on getting another bachelor’s degree.

I’ve now convinced multiple people that I’m dissatisfied with my score from high school and have decided to take it again. It’s awesome. I’m met with scrunched eyebrows and fake smiles (does she need to talk to someone?!), and I sense a new distrust in my judgment.

But I’m not studying for the ACT to take it myself. I’m studying for it to tutor high schoolers. It’s scary. What do I charge? How can they trust me? I was an SAT kid who never even took the ACT… how am I an authority? Can I guarantee an improvement in score? Can I guarantee anything?

The timing’s not right— we now have a mortgage, I want to save money to have a family (in twelve years), I am getting all of the NOLS work that I want for the first time in my career. But will the timing ever be right? I don’t think so. I don’t believe there will be a time when I feel less scared— scared of failure, scared to move on from life as I know it. The heaviness I feel in my belly will always be there. And I’ll always be able to come up with reasons to avoid taking a chance.

Here I go! And I got my first client today. If a woman I’ve never met trusts me to help her daughter, I can trust myself too.

ON BRAVERY

Yesterday I told my boss that I’m not coming back next summer. I told her that I’m starting a business and that I’m going to write. I explained that I didn’t have the discipline or energy to work the 8-5 job and write in the evening. She expressed excitement for me and my next steps and gratitude for my contributions over the past couple of years. I felt so brave saying the hard thing out loud to her.

The moment I left her office, I saw the hallway through heavy, nostalgic eyes. I was still in the building, but already I missed each smiling face, the hallway banter, spending ten hours a day in the same building as my sister, the warmth of the laminator. At night I went to a co-worker’s house and watched a movie with others from the office. The warmth, familiarity, and comfort felt so good. I love these people. I love my work.

Am I making a huge mistake? I’m lucky enough to have found a job that I’m good at and that I believe in. No one finds that. Or at least not many. Why am I messing it up by leaving?

Conversation after the film moved to a work topic that we’ve talked about hundreds of times. One of the most frustrating things about our jobs— entitelement. The other four in the room started to escalate, building off of one another’s irritation.

There’s the reassurance I needed. I didn’t care. Not in a flippant way, but in a time to move on and try something new way.

So here I go. Feeling scared, which means it’s likely the right move.

On Rejection

Writing is good life practice.

You work really, really hard on something, put your heart on the page, and get rejected. You think you have an original idea and find out not only are there 20 others with the same idea, but they're more qualified to carry out the vision. Or you get really attached and excited about an idea of the next week/month/year and find out that so-and-so doesn't want to partner with you or thinks your work is meh or can't see you as a good fit. 

Again and again and again.

Love, friendship, school, and my career thus far have all flowed into my life joyously. It sounds corny but I can't think of any other way to describe it. I've wanted something, worked hard for it, and boom, it's happened. There have been plenty of bumps along the way, but what's right for me has always prevailed and not much rejection has stumped me. When I've followed my intuition, the path has been one of ease. 

And now I'm writing. Which means now I'm facing rejection. Lots of it. It comes with the job, and I'm learning to love it. I'm getting shut down time after time and I need to find the strength and will within myself to want to keep going. It's a call to resilience louder than running an ultra-marathon or finishing a rock climb. It's a way less comfortable resilience for me to lean into and know that I have deep down. It's forcing me to build a loving shield around myself and be more neutral and unaffected by my surroundings. 

In other words, writing is giving me thick skin, and I feel good in this new skin. 

Bring it on. I can take it. 

#goals

I just spent a week with a dear friend whose mom gave her a notepad with the header "#goals." We laughed about it, especially when our grocery list was on there and it looked like taco ingredients were her #goals. But I think she's onto something. She moves through the world with her goals in mind-- whether professional, personal, or athletic-- with an inspiring amount of consideration and purpose. Emulating that quality is definitely a #goal of mine.  

In many ways, my lifestyle makes me move with intention every few months.  Seasonal work forces me to ask myself the same few questions three times per year: what will be fulfilling, stimulating, and promote growth for me next season? How much do I want to work? What are my priorities?  How do I want to balance time with my partner, sisters, friends, and students? There's space for complacency too (like in any other job), but more than other careers I get to re-evaluate and have input as to where I'll be and what I'll be doing every four months.  

I love that. And I love that I'm surrounded by others who move through the world with intention and seasonal deliberateness.  I love that I get to be the author of my story, instead of a victim of my surroundings.  

I don't love the word or idea of a "resolution"-- implicit is the notion that we need to "resolve" or settle something unsettled.  I am not incomplete or defective.  I am whole and growing and broken all at once. I do love the idea of intention-- of thinking and acting and speaking with thoughtfulness and purpose. Writing is the right medium for me because editing is 90% of the process. Being intentional as opposed to impulsive is definitely something I'm still learning and will continue to work on for the rest of my life. It's a good thing I'm so flexible because I often sit or stand with my foot in my mouth. The medical definition of intention is "the healing process of a wound," which also fits. The idea of gently working towards optimal function. 

We're now nearly a week into the second year of the month. For me there's something powerful in putting my thoughts to paper (screen?) in order to hold myself accountable.  For the past few months I've set intentions at the start (including saying Rabbit Rabbit), and do my best to move towards that purpose over the following four weeks.  

This February, I decided that 1. I will be published twice. Any public forum works. 2. I will meditate 10 minutes/day. and 3. I will continue to simplify by selling and giving away belongings and limiting plastic in my life. There is looseleaf spinach in rural Wyoming, and we don't have to buy non-recyclable clamshells! 

So far so good, but I've got three more weeks of this month to keep working and dancing towards these three. I'll take all the time I can get.