I’m self-aware enough to realize that my rollercoastering isn’t for the faint of stomach so I haven’t been chronicling each and every swing of the pendulum. But don’t let that mislead you to believe that I’ve found my equilibrium – the past month has been riddled with my patent-pending epiphanies. I epiphanied that I’d definitely stay in New York, I epiphanied that I’d definitely move back home with my parents, I epiphanied that I’d definitely move back to Madison – at one point, I even epiphanied that I’d move to South Dakota so y’all know I’ve lost it.
I have two weeks in Astoria to gather my wits and a lot can happen in two weeks. Two weeks ago, I had zero job leads and no idea where I’d be living in January – now I have a temporary home in Queens and two job interviews lined up for next week. Unfortunately, both job prospects leave me with an icky-squicky feeling in my stomach that, if bottled, could possibly be used to grease bike chains.
I left law school and my last job because I wanted to live authentically. It’s probably what we all want, on some level – to be true to ourselves and to live out our values. I’m moving closer to something here but it all feels wrong, like a divining rod in the Sahara.
A few months ago, I made a contract with myself, intended to carry me through the times when my what-do-I-wants are tossing me in the surf. I promised myself that I would use this written list of values to center and guide me rather than allowing myself to be pulled by fleeting impulses or to be persuaded by the values of others.
Here is that guidepost:
I want lots of windows, scuffed hardwood floors, and a big kitchen. I want a job that doesn’t suck out my soul through my eyeballs. I want time to write and cook and take long walks. I want to live in a community that’s connected to its food and values sustainability. I want a life partner who digs me and wants to do fun shit together. I want to feed people good food in my kitchen. I want the kind of friends who will be role models for my children. I want to talk to my mom every day.
This is what matters. Everything else is negotiable.
And as I sit here tonight, drowning in a sea of cardboard boxes and half-formed plans, these words feel like a life raft. And I’m holding on.