In between times always throw me for a loop. I don't do drifting very well. I work best under a little pressure, with a goal or a deadline or a finish point (usually defined by someone else) clearly marked. And life right now, in this post-graduation limbo, appears a little hazy. More than one project clamors for my attention, but I'm not very interested in tackling a big project right now. I'm doing what has to be done but not making much progress on things I should and could be doing.
Here's what's next:
A trip. An important adventure. One that feels like it has the possibility of blowing my world apart in a myriad of ways. Other than a brief little cruise in the gulf, I've never been on a trip that required me to carry a passport. And although I have found the safest, easiest, least adventurous way to do it - I will be traveling internationally for the first time in my life. It feels big, and the preparations have brought with them more untangling of deep stuff than I expected.
An test. An objective measure that puts a number on all the of experiences I've had over the past three years. A numerical assessment of whether my knowledge and skills meet the requirements. Two hundred questions that mean everything and answer nothing about the real reasons I do what I do. I've made my life around such tests, with right or wrong answers and perfect scores. I know how to take a test. The results of the tests I've taken before have set me apart from the crowd. Others look at my scores and recruit me to their teams. But those test scores have covered up the real me. They are a mask I can wear. They are an ideal I feel like I have to live up to while underneath I often feel like a fraud.
An interview. A chance to practice what I've learned. Maybe a place to stretch and grow and begin to let this person I've found under layers begin to emerge. Maybe. I feel a resistance in myself though - and I don't know what it is just yet. This interview fell into my lap, and for that I'm thankful, but I didn't anticipate everything falling into place as it did. So, somehow, I feel like maybe I haven't paid my dues. And the process of meeting all the regulations and requirements in order to be able to work in my field circles around on itself, without a clear linear path, causing me additional distress. Exactly what order should I do things in? Can I interview before I've posted a score on the above mentioned test? What should I do first? And then, too, what happens if the interview doesn't go my way? Should I have a backup plan?
A death. My grandfather is dying. No one knows the timing. The process may be long, drawn out, painful and exhausting. Or, the end may come quickly and unexpectedly somewhere along the way. But recovery, returning home, relief in this life are not options. He is a lynchpin in a system and process that spans generations of my family. A system I've worked desperately to differentiate myself from, one small and painful step at a time. This incident, this illness, should be a time to rally around, dissolve into the family unit, reprise my role as good daughter - but I do not want to. I haven't made the trip out yet. It's been convenient not to go. I have a myriad of excuses and I've used them. A truly differentiated person would be able to stand and say "I'm not coming" and offer no excuse. I am not there yet and I'm struggling with obligation and duty and compassion and comfort and how all of those things look inside my family system.
There are so many threads, so many pieces to fit into the puzzle. So much to look and and examine and decide about. Where am I headed? What's next? Why do I do what I do? On one hand, I see myself making progress, taking small steps and big ones to move me forward. On the other hand, somewhere in the deep recesses are distant dreams that I am afraid to even articulate. So do I celebrate the progress or confront the fear? Can I do both?
Every thread I gather only seems to increase the tension, making it impossible to hold without stretching out my arms to embrace the totality of it all.