Crap, you guys.
I forgot all about this whole thing.
This weekend I went and acted like a normal, well-adjusted person, who (occasionally) files her taxes before the deadline, stumbles and sweats through the masses to see the beautiful cherry blossoms in downtown D.C., and induces exhaustion and blistering with a day full of yard work. I did all of that and I forgot about my challenge (that I came up with on a whim and did not really think through).
My whim and not-thought-through plan, which was hastily typed into Gmail Friday afternoon, says the topic of my first post is: Where I'm At.
Nice, self. And great grammar, by the way.
Where to start. Where to start.
OK, I'm in a weird place. To be fair, I think I'm always in a weird place when I'm here, furiously typing this out to... someone - to you, whoever you are. But I'm in an especially weird place these days because I really don't know what I want.
My mom, if she's reading this, is probably smiling to herself. Maybe I've never really been someone who knew exactly what I wanted. Picture: Me, age 5, crying at the thrift store, toy store, clothing store because everyone else has picked out a little something for themselves and I just can't decide. David also is smiling at the same scene, only I am age 25. OK, let's carry on, shall we?
For some reason (maybe my workaholic genes), work has always been clear to me. There has never been the hanging question mark over it. It was always just: work - for food, for a roof over your head, for gas money, for fun. I started working in 2003 at the local Office Max in the small town in Virginia where I grew up. As you can imagine, it was glamorous work, as most all of my work history has been.
I picked my career path (and never changed it) freshman year of college and worked that bad boy to the bone. I graduated in three and a half years with a double major in English: Technical Writing & Editing and Creative Writing: Nonfiction. I interned with a local lifestyles magazine during college, Wrightsville Beach Magazine, and later freelance wrote for it. I was featured a few times in the campus literary journal, Atlantis. When I wasn't in class, I worked in retail at the mall and later at a family-owned italian restaurant.
I started my first job, as editorial assistant at The Place That Shall Not Be Named two months after graduating and never looked back. I took on more and more responsibility and became assistant online editor. Then I left The Place for a small publishing firm outside of D.C., where I'm currently managing editor and account manager for a variety of our non-profit clients.
I don't really know why I just told you all of that, except to say back story is always helpful? Why is this sounding like a resume all of a sudden?
So, Where I'm At: Here, in this office, where the paintings are being pulled off the walls and files are being boxed up every hour, where protocols and procedures are being reviewed, where torches are being handed off to the next bearer. Where I can feel myself and the work I've done and the roles I've been in slowly dissolving into the background.
My future job history, now a question mark.
Before you get ahead of yourself, just one point: I know this is a good thing. This Place hasn't been the right place, either. I've known that for a while. When I told my mom about my business closing at the end of May, I told her this was God dumping me out of a bucket I already knew I wanted to be out of.
But the question mark is bugging me.
What would you do if you could do anything?
I may not know my long answer to this, but I know that work would be involved - at least where I am right now, I can't imagine not working. Not taking part each day in what I find to be hard and honest toiling. This creating and dividing and manipulating of words and thoughts.
My work, the work I want to be doing, has been the constant of my adult life. No matter the changes, or challenges, or disappointments, it's been there. Hitting the alarm, waking, showering - coffee - driving - email - coffee - arching my back in a desk chair, working my way down the list. Now I feel all of that fading, too.
At some point, over all these years, work stopped being work and became part of me. Security. Is that normal? Is that OK? Am I normal? Am I OK?
Of course, the likeliest path is that I will find something. But I can't fight the nagging question: What if the right thing doesn't come along, not yet? I'm not sure what I will do, which path I will take. Maybe I'll wander for a while, or force myself to lay on the floor and think too much, or travel to see each of my siblings and hold their hands.
"This might be a hard time for you, and it might not end right away" a few people have said to me, in one way or another, over the past few weeks. And I think they're right. I think those people know me, what makes me tick. What makes me...me.
So here's the deal: I know where I'm "at," sort of. I DON'T know where I'm going, really, but I DO know that I will be back here tomorrow. And I will write something to you again. (And it will probably be weird and rambly, like this piece.) And that will just have to be good enough, for now.