At this very moment, I am here. Sitting on my carpet in the living room typing along. It is dark outside, and very cold. It is just another day and night and I did what I needed to do. I got things done all day long while the day moved forward into this continuous sequence of actions, job applications, emails, and checklists. My brain and mind never stop analyzing. But today, I paused and took a good look at my surroundings. These scenes of my everyday life that came to a blur of an all-too-familiar film and I cannot help but wonder if there is more to it all. For some reason, this country, this city, this neighborhood and this particular street served me well so far but I am stuck. Nothing seems to move forward for a couple of months now. I am sending out job applications every day and I even started to think of all the other places in the world I could be and work at. It didn’t help that it was – 31 degrees Celsius (with windchills) in Ottawa today. Somewhere more exciting, warmer, newer, somewhere that can provide new experiences, challenges, and adventures that are foreign to me. Theoretically, the world is my playground but I have to be responsible for a small human being who depends on me and sort of follows me for five years now. #heisthebestever
Isn’t traveling usually what we look for when we feel the automation of life? This routine of waking up, getting ready for work, eating the same sad lunch in the cafeteria, sitting in boring meetings, going home, eating dinner, relaxing and going to sleep on time to not be too tired so we can do it all over again the next day. “But this pays the bills”, some say who sadly think about the confines of their mundane box they are stuck in all day. This is all considered normal. This is our operating system. This is what feeds and dresses us. This box isn’t always okay but livable. It gives us a certain routine and security. Many are scared of its boundaries and what is on the other side of it all so they get comfortable or simply suck it all up. Someone told me once that if I get a certain degree, I will get a promotion for sure. I was immediately intrigued by this because I love school. I registered at a university and put all the effort necessary into getting that degree. In the end, the promotion is patiently waiting for me, right? This someone has given me a tangible goal to work toward and I gave everything to achieve what needed to be done to get that degree.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months and months into years and I was done. My hard work paid off. I earned that degree. I got the promotion and I was so excited. “Here is your new cubicle with a window, ” my new boss told me. I was really happy but here is the thing. While this new cubicle and work felt great, I noticed that my excitement about it all wasn’t as high anymore after a couple of weeks. The window was great because I could spy on other people in their cubicles who looked sad at me from across the street; some waved. Then more months passed and it felt exactly like my former work and cubicle but with a view. Replacing one object of desire with any other “thing” will lead to the same pattern that is in the end simply another part of normal life. If moving to a different cubicles does not work, maybe I have to figure out the root of the problem. So, I thought about my life and what I really want it to look at the cubicle itself and came up with the conclusion that I need to rip open that cubicle and throw myself into unfamiliar territory. And I quit that job.
These days and one year later, I am thinking a lot while applying for jobs. What am I passionate about? What are my strengths and weaknesses? When I worked the regular 9-5 for many years I escaped and traveled a lot but I realized quickly that a vacation no matter how awesome only serves as a dopamine hit of cultural experience. Let’s say I had a two-week vacation somewhere and I dove with sharks, went to Iceland, then Morocco, France and to a bunch of other places and came back. All these built-in time constraints did not allow me to truly understand the complexity of a foreign place anyway. I took some pictures and posted them on Facebook to impress my “friends” who do not really care. So, this is also not the answer. I have to look somewhere else. This place is far away – I visited it many years ago and loved and enjoyed it so much. It was a long time ago indeed but this place I visited is me.
My focus shifted and I paid more attention to what I felt, thought and really needed. My body is a great place to visit and a good and exciting environment to grow. Looking even more closely, I found more possibilities and opportunities popped up everywhere. Actually, more opportunities than there are points in a Georges Seurat painting. I arrived in a new environment and the last job interview was promising. I met a new crew of really awesome people who work(ed) for this company. Yesterday, they showed me things I have never seen before, and it’s fantastic. I realized again that who we are inside a venue matters far more than the venue itself and I hope it works out and I can start working for them. But I also have to be prepared that it does not work out and that there are my other job applications still open all over the world. My mind is at ease now and the usual angst and restlessness I felt inevitably disappeared for now but I know it is not a cure for discontentment of the mind yet. I genuinely became more curious about myself, my relationships with others, my life and that I only touched the surface with myself and many people that are important in my life. I learned to embrace where I am in life right now, with all its flaws and joys and everything in between and I keep in mind that no matter where I am right now, there is only one direction. Forward.