So, here's a story for you: As most of you will know, I started a new job in December. On paper, it looked like a great job. In reality, it was a great job too. The team was warm and welcoming, the work interesting. But I too quickly felt like I had wrong-stepped into something wholly un-me.
It wasn't quite as simple as "I've made a mistake." When we make decisions we use both reason and feeling to construct a logical path to our conclusion. My logic was sound. Even now I see precisely why I followed my head and heart to the decision I made. And, simultaneously, I can see that I inhibited little tidbits that were the very kernel of why it ended up feeling wrong.
The extremely fortunate news is I had options and have been able to make another change. The awkward part was quitting my new job on Friday, barely a month after starting. I have two weeks now to breathe and reboot and ready myself for the job I should have chosen in the first place.
In conversation, of course, I'm framing this as a simple mistake that I've course-corrected on. I'm just embodying the "fail fast" mentality that the talkies talk up. But in reality, I don't know that it was such a mistake. Mistake implies that I did myself a wrong I have righted. Of course, I would rather have been spared the mortification of such a public display of unknowing. But at the same time, I feel like this is the real mystery of things. That we can follow a path that seems fully in accordance with our happiness and what we know about ourselves, and yet find ourselves quite unhappy and unknowing. And conversely, we can find great joy in the most unfathomable, deceptive-looking decisions and outcomes.
And the section of bookstores dedicated to to decoding the arbitrariness of life and action, to externalizing what is internal and amorphous, to providing rules to fulfill ourselves by, seems now (more than ever) to be such balderdash to me. And more and more I think we only have the present moment to go by. And I think for this exact reason delight cannot be postponed. The present must be delightful. I keep thinking about this Jack Gilbert quote: "We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world."
I don't want ever to be a person who presents as having things totally sussed. Who claims to have learned from a mistake I shall never repeat. Who proclaims, dogmatically, that even when I do stumble on a happy outcome that it was a product of my own talent and not just a happy coincidence of the world and ideas and all their random, lucky manifestations. Or who believes in only one scenario of "what was meant to be" and constructs a world described in fatalistic terms of right and wrong, imagining that a single path chosen must be, de facto, the right one.
Maybe the job I quit would have come right a year from now. Or maybe it would have felt still more steadily un-me. I was asked on Friday if I was certain about what I was doing and I thought, how arrogant would it be to claim certainty? I don't ever want to live under delusions. The elasticity of life is, for me, precisely what makes our options and decision-making so intriguing. I'm not going to construct an inelastic notion of certainty to judge my life and myself (and others) harshly by.
I am, however, going to take two weeks to enjoy being so very excited about what happens next. And in the meantime, I'm gonna read the b'Jaysus out of a few books, drink coffee, play with the pup and accept my gladness.
Products: Waffle Knit Turtleneck from Everlane | J Brand jeans from Net-a-Porter | Three Step Diamond Earrings from WWAKE | Beach Stick from Charlotte Tilbury | Shoes by Common Projects | Mini Piper Backpack from WANT Les Essentiels