Pivot, Change, & the Extraordinary Ordinary

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Ever had an extraordinary ordinary time?

(Fear not, there’s not some joke on the Roman Catholic calendar here…)

I feel like that’s exactly what this past weekend was for me. I didn’t go to any fancy places, I didn’t spend much money at all; I stayed in shorts and jogging clothes and jammies most of the time…. I slept until I woke up on Saturday, and I even went to dinner Friday night straight from the office…. But it was a FANTASTIC weekend.

It was also an unusual weekend, as I didn’t see too much of my “usual krewe”, and I didn’t go to many of my usual weekend places… but it was good… a change… and refreshing… Things like:

Reconnecting with old friends– like really old- like high school old. ….The kind of friends that you can not see for months or even years, but the second you’re drinking a beer and eating crawfish together in some oppressively hot backyard, it’s instantly like you’ve never been apart- teasing one another and laughing about high school antics and junior prom and referring to each other by stupid nicknames that originated when you were about 13… Awesome.

Re-acquainting with people from your past- people you don’t remember, or perhaps even recognize… Those people that you never really got to know, and you never really allowed to know you… But maybe you should have… and for the first time, you came across each other again, as adults, completely unforced, and realized you had SO MUCH in common…. And, (don’t tell my mother) its even possible you just might be friends! Sweet.

Meeting people that just “fit”. Have you ever met someone and within minutes you’re talking like you’ve 100% comfortable or like you’ve known them your whole life? I had that experience this weekend- and I feel like it’s a pretty unique happening…. Someone who ideologically just fits really nicely, and you can freely talk and discuss and dialogue in an open, honest, and deep way. So cool.

Chatting with people who “get you”.  Having a couple of “go-to” people, from different parts, phases, and times in my life that just know & understand me is such a gift. The bigger gift is being able to chat with them, about anything, just to run it by them and get their opinion. They are the people that are honest enough to say “stop kidding yourself” or “stop convincing yourself” or “I love you, but you’re completely ridiculous!” or, even better, like this weekend, when ‘the collective’ all said the same thing- we know you, we love you, you’re not a jerk, & go with your gut. Those folks, while not connected in any way, are the virtual cheerleaders on my shoulder. I love them.

Gaining clarity, deciding what you do want, and being ok with that. Anyone who has ever gone shopping with me knows a few things: 1. I don’t really like it. 2. I shop with a purpose 3. I don’t want it to take a long time. 4. I will find what I want, but I’m gonna have to make sure there’s not something better. 5. Then, 1/2way to the checkout, I will probably at least consider second guessing myself. 6. It’s way more fun to shop for someone else than myself. Unfortunately, that’s also sometimes my approach to dating…. In my head, I have a pretty clear idea of what I want. I sometimes worry it doesn’t exist, or I’m not gonna find it, or it’s not gonna want me, or I’m being too picky… So I’ve been doing a lot of “exploring” lately… and I’ve met some super nice people, and because of that, I’ve sometimes done a lot of trying to convince myself that maybe I do want something I don’t necessarily dislike, but don’t really want (kinda like that item at the store that’s on sale, and you might buy it, but you don’t actually really like or need it… but it’s nice enough, and it’s a good deal, right?) This weekend,  thanks to all the people and things I referenced above, I had a realization… as much as I want to be in a relationship, be with someone, and share experiences with someone, I am not gonna settle. I am 100% ok with being just me. I love my life, I love my friends, I love my slant on things. I don’t wanna feel like I can’t be 100% who I am. I don’t want to feel nervous or stifled.  If my choice is me by myself or some cut-rate 75% version of me with someone else, I choose me and my vision EVERY.TIME. If there is a theme to be found in what I’ve blabbered about so far today, it’s people and relationships and authenticity and connection- that is what I crave in this world… and a generic option will not substitute. Sorry.

I’ve said it on here before, and I’ll say it again…. I’m a lucky, lucky girl. 🙂

This past weekend has also led me to a lot of thought and personal reflection. Today I dropped the final draft of my MAQE, my graduate school’s equivalent of a thesis, in the mail. It was a great feeling! Part of that process was updating my CV…. And it’s the spring… As someone who works in schools and  with choirs that follow the academic year, that means contract negotiations and decisions about what you’re going to do with your life for the next year….

It’s always a time when I reflect and think pretty intensely about “where am I going” and “what do I want” and “am I happy and fulfilled”… But with a master’s degree nearly complete and a different but wonderful year (career wise) wrapping up, I feel particularly at a moment of change.

Could I be ready to pivot?

This weekend, I had a blast meeting & hanging out with Nathan… He’s a pretty cool guy- you can check his blog/ adventures out at www.nonstopawesomeness.com …. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND. He’s genuine, real, refreshing, and courageous.

About a year ago, Nathan decided to travel- full time. He’s been all over, had some great adventures, and met some awesome people! He is probably the healthiest person I know, mediates, makes a living, has great friends, and is super-knowledgeable…. It was some of the best conversation I’ve had in a while. Quite frankly, I left feeling inspired and refreshed.

We talked about change- about the fact that ANY OF US can pivot- AT ANY MOMENT. We just often forget that part…. Nathan and I were talking, I was discussing how leaving my full-time teaching gig last year was so frightening, but I couldn’t be happier now if I could have planned it this way…. I have the best of all worlds. I said something about how “brave and bold and courageous” his choice was…. And he laughed a little. He said he gets that a lot… but, he doesn’t see it that way. I think the perspective he shared almost exactly defines what the threshold for change is for people…

“People hear what I did and say that’s awesome, but I’d be terrified to do that. But, for me, it just became more terrifying to keep doing what I had been doing rather than to try this.”

BRILLIANT.

The fact of the matter is, as much as we may say we ‘want to change’ or we ‘want to do something different’, often times we don’t. We don’t until we finally decide we just MUST. Excuses, rationalizations, explanations… it’s all just killing time. It’s our way of not being ready enough…. Because the fact is, when we really want it, when we really must have it, we do it. We change.

I look back now, in the latter part of my master’s degree, and I giggle.  I waited 5 years to go back to school- I had THOUSANDS of good reasons: this surgery, these 4 jobs, this husband, this challenging relationship, the money, the time, this divorce, this musical, etc., etc., etc… BULLSHIT.

I remember a moment as clear as anything… almost exactly 3 years ago… I was soaking in the bathtub one night, and it just hit me.  I was stuck. I wasn’t totally happy or fulfilled. I was simply maintaining, and had been for a while. I had done so much talking about “wanting to change”…But, there was a moment when everything stopped, and I just said to myself, “Do you want to do this or not? It’s a yes or no question. Either answer is ok, but the time for whining and excuses and delaying is over. You either want this, and you want it SO MUCH you will find a way to make it happen- NO MATTER WHAT, or it’s done, and you’re gonna let it go.”

It was a watershed moment. EVERYTHING changed from there. THAT NIGHT I applied to grad school- on a whim. A few weeks later, I had an interview. …A few weeks after that, I was accepted. …And in a few months from now, I will have that degree.

I haven’t looked back. I have had no regrets; and while there have been stressful and challenging and just plain ‘ol rough moments, it’s been GREAT. Everything has fallen into place and I couldn’t be happier I did it.

…But doing it at any other moment wouldn’t have been right. I had to wait until I was really ready… until I really wanted it.

Over the last week, I’ve had the privilege of once again being a super-proud “choir mom”- “my kids” did an awesome job at State last week, and we happily came home with trophies and certificates and that great feeling of knowing you really did your best. It’s a feeling I’ve kinda grown addicted to- since my own high school times and in my 7 years as a teacher. There’s something downright magical about it.

But, I’ve also updated my resume and initiated contract negotiations and been considering what it is that I’m meant to do for the next year or 6 months or at least until I get that master’s degree in November… or where I am I meant to be…. What do I want? ….and do I feel the urge for change strongly enough right now to be a lever, pivot, and actually change?

It’s a lot to consider…

We all need to keep it fresh, keep it positive, and keep ourselves going AND growing… Sometimes for me it’s as small as re-committing to my gratitude practice or reading a new book or chatting with a friend… Sometimes it’s moving or changing jobs or doing something I’ve never tried before and/or never thought I’d do….

But whatever it is- just set your sights on it, and do it. 100%. FULL OUT.

Leading up to state, I had several quotes that appeared on my dry erase board over my desk, for a week at a time…Here’s one of my favorites, which was also a favorite quote of Nathan’s… I believe it.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” –Paulo Coelho

What do you want/ what are you striving towards lately, big or small? I’d love to know, and the universe would, too!

…Have a great week!

-T.

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