... or is it the beginning of the beginning? Or, am I in the middle of some strange, nowhere-going continuum? I guess I’m going to have to get back to you on that one; but in the meantime, let me set the mood for you.
It’s spring of 2008. An emotionally and psychologically drained twenty-something has finally completed her goal of achieving academic stature after four long years, countless classes, innumerable study sessions, papers, exams, mental breakdowns, and a daunting 63-page paper, lovingly referred to as a “thesis”. That’s right, I dominated academia. No big deal.
Next challenge: make best attempt at being an adult.
Step 1: Move across the country with boyfriend of one year and get a place together.
Step 2: Find a big girl job that pays decently and has some sort of comprehensive benefits package.
Step 3: Accumulate some things to fill said apartment.
Step 4: Have enough money after bills, rent, student loans and groceries to lead some sort of meagre existence.
Mission: accomplished… and then some! Huzzah!
Or is it? I've never been one to be satisfied by what society views as accomplishments. In both my personal and professional life I begin to hear that little voice inside saying, "this isn't okay". I know that it's right. I know that since I can remember, I've always listened to that little voice and I've always done what it told me. It's always guided me in the right direction, toward happiness; but this time, the voice was really quiet - on its deathbed, perhaps. My passion was being suffocated by the things I had allowed into my life, things that didn't satisfy me at that deeper level, but that were just there to show the world how well I was doing "according to them". Sure, I had a long-term boyfriend, a nice apartment, dogs, a flat screen TV, I travelled, I had nice clothes, I worked my way up in my organization, and I received accolades from my peers for these said "accomplishments". But, deep down, I was totally unchallenged, unfulfilled, unimpressed, and unhappy. As M. Scott Peck once said, however, "The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."
So now, it's time to hit rock bottom. Time to take a long hard look at my life. Time to pick myself up, brush myself off and tell myself to get a grip! There’s no way in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that I’m going to live my life in misery, accepting defeat, accepting mediocrity. Momma didn’t raise no fool.
I needed to be re-inspired. I needed to get out my spiritual defibrillator and bring my passion back to life. But how? I need to find some like-minded people to get me excited about my life again and, although I didn't know it at the time, I would find them at one of the best places in the world: the "Disney World" for music-loving adults, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. I can't even express in words the experience I had at Bonnaroo, all I can tell you is that I felt re-born. That little voice inside was no longer whispering to me on its deathbed, but it was the lead singer of a death metal band and it was screaming its directions to me on how I should move forward with life to find my happiness again. I was hearing it loud and clear and I was ready to make a move.
Flash-forward: it’s August 26th, 2010 at approximately 3:28pm. I have a lump in my throat the size of Pluto (don’t hate on Pluto just because it’s not a planet anymore). I am perspiring from places I didn’t think perspired. And I’m standing outside the doorway to my Director’s office with a letter of resignation in my hand. Now, I know you’re asking yourself, “Why would this successful twenty-something with a new lease on life be throwing away a profession that she’s worked her way up to, from the bottom, in just two years. She makes good money, especially for someone her age. She gets to work on interesting projects. She can actually afford her student loan payments and she still has enough money left over for all her other bills, clothes and travel. Man, this girl is crazy.”
That, my friends, is where you’re dead wrong.
A mentor once said to me, "You work to live, Allie. You don't live to work." She's absolutely right. Why should I keep doing something that doesn't make me happy when I know there is so much more out there? So you might be wondering, "What is this young gal going to do since she's giving up everything that she worked so hard to accomplish?"
Step 1: Go home to Nova Scotia to see family and friends.
Step 2: Go on a cross-Canada/US road trip to see places, family, friends, musicians and sporting events.
Step 3: Meet up with Dad in the US and travel the countryside.
Step 4: ???????
Step 5: Profit!
Just kidding about Step 5, I probably won't be making any money, but I'll be travelling for free (in return for my cooking / cleaning / set-up services), seeing the US, meeting lots of new people, and getting to know my Dad and Step-mom, Lorraine, better.
The way I see it, I can only get away with being a non-contributing member of society for so long before people start thinking I'm just lazy and lacking motivation. So, here goes nothing!