“I don’t want to go,” I told my husband. “I’m feeling really vulnerable.”
He looked at me quizzically. “What do you mean?”
Oh boy…how could I put it into black-and-white words? How could I even sift through the avalanche of thoughts that had been rumbling through my brain all morning, as I contemplated the sober women’s retreat I was scheduled to attend?
My mind had been busier than usual, churning out potential excuses. Looking for an out. Strenuously chipping away at my resolve…
On Thursday afternoon, I got dressed up — it might be more accurate to just say “got dressed” — and drove up to Quakertown for my first counseling job interview.
It’s actually an unpaid, 100-hour “practicum,” and it doesn’t start until next spring, during my second year of grad school. But, you know what I always say: “You’re never too early!”
I usually say this while sitting in my running car, parked outside the place I’m supposed to be going, with at least a half hour to kill because I gave myself 90 minutes for a 45-minute trip. 🙄 I say it right before I anxiously start snapping selfies (see above) because I don’t know what else to do with my idle hands. 🤣
My new mantra should really be “You’re never too late.” I mean, I turned 44 a week ago, and here I am, back in school and interviewing for internships in a brand new field. I’m in the midst of my third career transition in the past four years.
You might think this is a sign that something in my life has gone terribly wrong, but quite honestly, I feel like pinching myself. I can’t believe how very right everything feels with the world at this moment.
Imagine a precocious little girl in a homemade, red plaid dress with matching ribbons in her shoulder-length, sandy-blonde hair (she has bangs, so clearly this is a flashback from long, long ago), and white anklet socks and brown top-siders on her feet. She is marching in the door with a good — in fact, near-perfect — report card, her whole body tingling in anticipation of that intoxicating hit of parental approval she knows is forthcoming.
That girl is me. Did you guess? It’s funny I chose to paint that exact picture, because the outfit was from first grade, when I had…let’s just say, “social adjustment issues,” that led to regular trips to the principal’s office and my teacher installing a special study carrel in the corner of the classroom to keep me from being disruptive.
Legend has it I was doing somersaults one day on the carpet in the back of the room that was supposed to be for, like, naps and storytime and docile 💩 like that. 😳
Explains a lot, right?
I ended up killing it in all the academic subjects, to the point they put me in the “gifted” —sorry, “enrichment” — program, but my conduct left something to be desired. Read on to see just how much has changed! 🤣
This week has been all about making up for lost time. I don’t know if one can actually do that, without injuring themselves…but dadgummit, I’m trying!
It’s like every moment I’m awake, I want to cram it to the brim with activities I enjoy. I want to take full advantage of my freedom and experience life on my terms!
So, I’ve basically been walking/running around Bucks County like a madwoman for days on end.
When I entered Tyler State Park on foot Friday afternoon, eyes fixed upward at the pure blue sky (when they should’ve been checking the path for those little round ankle-killers that fall from the trees 😬), I’d already run from Washington Crossing to Bowman’s Hill Tower on the canal path earlier that morning, then flowed through my usual yoga program on my deck shortly after breakfast. On Thursday, I walked in the park twice, in addition to working out in my basement and doing another hour of yoga. On Wednesday…
Is it just me, or do humans have the amazing capacity to disengage, reorient and start over, full speed ahead, with no strings attached?
You might not have discovered this capacity within yourself, if you’ve been living in the same place all your life or doing the same job for more than…oh, I dunno, 3/4 of a year…or if you’re the type of person who tends to form a lot of close, long-term relationships. But I suspect some of you understand what it’s like to look at your life as a series of books, rather than chapters, with quite a few common themes but not too many connected threads.
It’s a particular form of compartmentalization that’s both a product of circumstances and an evolutionary survival skill. I would liken it to a turtle’s protective shell, but (*checks Google*) apparently they’re all born with those. 🐢
Mine definitely was acquired in transit, formed while fighting off the Apex predator called emotional pain as I roamed from place to place. I have lived in three different states and worked in everything from newspaper writing to pop culture blogging (yes, I once was paid to blog) to video reporting to farm market clerking to SEO content development to social media marketing…and I did three of those jobs within the span of three years.
In my personal life, I was a rec softball enthusiast, then an avid runner, then a competitive CrossFitter repping three different gyms, and finally, an AA member and psychology grad student who’s standing, right now, at yet another crossroads.