Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Winds of Change

You know who my hero is?

The founder of Target. The place has it all. You can get a tool box, underwear and organic milk…all within three aisles of each other. And there’s just something calming, something familiar about that red bulls-eye sign, drawing you in, promising you the necessities at a reasonable price.

These days, I’ll take any comfort I can get. In the span of a few weeks, I’ve gone from working in my hometown, surrounded by friends and family, to living in a new city and sharing a house with two girls I met through craigslist. Plus, I’m exhausted from the lack of sleep that comes from being in the eastern time zone (Monday Night Football isn’t over until after midnight!). So the near-daily trips to Target have been a beacon of light in this chaotic transition.

That my life has been turned upside down isn’t a bad thing. For the last two years, I worked a job I despised in a city that’d given me all it had to offer. I wasn't being true to myself...what my spirit desired and what my reality presented were Grand Canyons apart, a sobering truth that ate away at me.

But the thing that kept me going, through asinine work assignments and Guinness record date-less streaks, was the hope of change.

“Someday,” I’d think. “Someday things will be different.”

Finally, I got the courage to make it happen. With everything I owned in the backseat of my car – my largest possession is a duffel bag – I was like Andy Dufresne in “The Shawshank Redemption,” heading towards that beach in Zihuatenejo.

Because I had so few belongings, I could still see out of the back window, which made for safer driving. But it also gave me a clear view of the security I was leaving behind.

This no-safety-net reality hit me immediately. Simple tasks were simple no more. During my first commute home, a wrong turn cost me 45 minutes and a 50 point bump in blood pressure. And because I knew only two streets, picking up dinner meant driving around aimlessly until I stumbled upon a Subway or Chipotle.

It was like I was floating through space, grasping for something to hold onto, waiting for gravity to kick in. Overwhelmed, I couldn’t help but ask myself, “What the hell am I doing?”

After all, it’s not like anyone had forced me to make this change. It was my idea and my decision…any pain or discomfort was self-inflicted. A part of me longed for my old routine, to be back where things made sense. The thought of pointing my car south and heading home – assuming I could find a freeway – certainly crossed my mind.

But before I did anything rash, I opened my eyes to the absurdity of the situation: the same thing that I’d sought just weeks before – a fresh start in new surroundings – was now not so appealing? How could that be? Why were my emotional desires suddenly more erratic than a pregnant woman’s cravings?

I came to realize it was my old friend “anxiety” at work, masking itself as evidence that this new situation wasn’t right, attempting to convince me that I’d made a mistake. But it wasn’t that there was anything wrong with the change; it was that I was afraid of the change itself, and I was looking for any reason to get out of it, so I could feel at ease again.

But retreating wasn’t the answer. Sure, I may have felt better initially, but it wouldn’t have lasted, and the next time I put myself out there, the same issues would’ve been lurking.

As a serial second-guesser, I have to remind myself of what – in my best Bobby Boucher voice – my Momma always says: decisions are made out of either love or fear. As long as we act from a place of love, we’re in harmony – with our heart and the universe. That’s what I had done, and I needed to trust it. Romanticizing the past and the future was a waste of time, because there’s only one thing that’s real:

The present.

Fortunately, my present is going okay. I’m adjusting to the colder weather – I just got my first scarf – and sharing a shower with two girls isn’t so bad, with their cool shampoos and accessories. I may even follow their lead and get a loofah of my own.

Luckily, I know just the place to find one…

The “Home” section at Target.

About Me

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"It's not a lie, if you believe it." Those were the words of one of my generation's great sages, George Costanza, and the more of life I experience, the truer they ring. And while I still haven't found what I'm looking for, the search for my own personal "truths" is never-ending. Care to come along for the ride?