Personal Cliff Climbing
My apologies – I know it’s been awhile (about a month actually) since my last post.
I wish I could say that the month was replete with cathartic moments, mental clarity, and those “I always wanted to do this” experiences, but mostly it was a time of rest.
For the most part, Dan and I continued about life as normal.We worked, we loved, we did the day-to-day things that keep our lives afloat.
But a few key things happened:
– I injured my right pinky toe in mid-May; since then, I’ve been slowly regaining full use of my right foot. While a fairly minor injury, it hasn’t allowed me to dance which has been a serious bummer.
– Dan and I attended a West Coast Swing competition in Dallas. Although he may not have done as well as he’d hoped, I was very proud. I think the car rides up and back also gave us some valuable time to reconnect and discuss more about our relationship.
– I found out that due to financial circumstances, my position would be changed from a full-time salaried arrangement to a contractor/per-project basis at the end of June.
As you might imagine, that last bullet has been pretty jarring, though not wholly unexpected. While I can’t provide much detail, our company had been experiencing some challenges earlier in the year, and once I’d received all the decision letters from schools, I knew it was time to reevaluate things and make another plan for my professional development.
But it’s never comforting to feel like you’re suddenly pushed off a cliff you were hoping to climb gradually (and at your own pace).
Sometimes when you’ve spent so much time and energy progressing towards a certain goal or point in time, reaching it can feel a bit strange or surreal. That moment when you’re able to look out over both where you’ve come and what lies ahead.
There’s something comforting in the routine of the “working towards” space – being in between “start” and “transition.” With your nose to the ground, you can just continue in the day to day, knowing that tomorrow will be relatively similar to today with intermittent progress forward.
So once that machine of one foot in front of the other comes to a close, “what’s next” can be a welcome deviation, a scary unknown, or some combination of the two.
Lately, I’ve felt perched atop a mountain. I’ve spent quite some time working towards this point in my life on multiple levels (personal, professional, physical, etc.), and now I’m sitting atop a peak representing hours of work, self-reflection, milestones, tears, long nights, short days, and smiles. A collection of memories and experiences compiled into my own little self-pinnacle, a personal precipice.
For the moment, I’m arrested between the after effects of my own “machine” – that downgrading of perpetual motion (like the noodle legs effect of adjusting to walking on a flat surface, after running on a treadmill)- and a desire to sit back and take in the view of past, present and potential future, and the uncertainty that comes with the next adventure.
Fortunately, I have some financial cushion so I’m not thrust back into the rat race just to try to find a source of income. And you know, I want this time to be different. I want this next major shift to really stick, to really fit.
And, while I’ve been thinking about all the usual suspects:
– what I’m passionate about
– what I value
– what kind of life I want
I also know that going forward, I will need to pursue a professional endeavor that better taps into my creative side and is more people-centric.
But of course, I worry that I won’t find the best option(s), or worse, maybe I’ll find the wrong option(s) and divert down a path that leads to self-sabotage. And I was going back and forth, back and forth – a mental tennis match of “what ifs” and “could possibly” – and then I stumbled on this excerpt from one of Seth Godin’s more recent blog posts:
In addition to wasting time, the frequent reconsideration sabotages the effort your subconscious is trying to make in finding ways to make the current plan work. Spending that creative energy wondering about the plan merely subtracts from the passion you could put into making it succeed.
And then something hit me…
Maybe “finding” has worked before, but if I want a truly new tomorrow, a changed life going forward, I might have to – “create.”
So a week or so ago, I did what I’d been thinking about doing for a long time (months, actually). I contacted two local photographers and asked them if they needed assistants, if they could share some insight on their experiences, and if they would provide the one thing I really need: help.
Could they help me improve my work and skill set? Could they help me be brave enough to take something I love and experiment with it in a totally new way?
To my surprise (and delight), both of them said they would try. And that’s really all I can ask for, because they can’t solve this puzzle for me (or rather, create the solution?) – that’s all on me. But, then can offer some assistance, some guidance, and maybe, just maybe, that will give me the skills, knowledge and courage to put myself out there in a totally new way.
Here’s to trying new things and hoping for the best. I’ll keep you posted, as this is just the start of an entirely new journey.
Thanks for reading,
Tags: adventures, beginning, career change, career development, career progression, courage, creative work, experience, fear, guts, job loss, journey, life change, making a life change, new photographer, people focused work, photography, project, scary, self reflection, self-improvement, start, starting anew, trying new things