Now? Or Then?

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future recently. I’m at that scary point of needing a job change but, simultaneously, also realizing that I need a career change…and a life change…a health change…and possibly a hair change. It feels like a huge moment of reckoning, knowing that very little in my current menagerie of people, jobs, living situation, and general existence sparks joy. If I was Marie Kondo-ing my life, it’d all be in the trash pile, save a couple really important and really good things that I treasure.

The problem that I’m finding in the bridge-like state in which I find myself is that I spend countless minutes of countless hours thinking about the future. This is not a healthy place to be. Last night, I drifted to sleep problem-solving what I would do when (and not even “if”) I became homeless. This is a useless place.

This morning, when I woke up I had about 3 beats of joyful bliss before this transitional hellscape of my mind re-descended and as I sat down to start working on work that I just despise right now but that affords me momentary comfort and familiarity, I had a realization that was truly a gift.

Sometimes, words mean differently in different contexts. The thought I had today, right before I started drafting another terrible, stupid meeting agenda was,

This is not a race. One step at a time.

Somewhere deep in my psyche, reason still hangs out. Thank god. And even though I’ve read thousands of memes with this sentiment and always been like, “YES,” this time it meant something to me in this moment, in this circumstance.

Just because I want a re-invention, because I am pulling that eternal alarm bell of “you can do better than that which you’re doing now,” it doesn’t mean everything I have currently sweeps into the trash and I’m temporarily with nothing. I have done that before and, indeed, it was traumatic. I don’t and I won’t do that this time; my sanity is too precious. Just because it’s profound in the end does not mean it has to be everything right now. Small, steady steps will get me there.

I think that may be the answer to this problems of wildly vacillating between the present and the future. If I, instead, challenge myself to in this moment commit to change by enacting something–an email sent, a job applied for, a moment recognized as scary, a conclusion to which I’ve jumped being determined as completely implausible–then I can root myself in actually changing at my own direction and not assuming change is something that happens to.

This is, I think, what the kids call adulting. Frankly, I’d rather be doing a crossword puzzle.

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