Thursday, April 14, 2011

Learning to sail my ship

I recently came across a great quote from Louisa May Alcott and it hit me like a freight train.

"I'm not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship."

Mind. Blown.

Right now in my life, I'm lost at sea. I realize that sounds a bit ridiculous, but it's true. I'm panicked about what to do next and unsure of what my past experience means. We're in strange times my friends.

In the first few months of 2011, I have closed a small business, taken a month "off"; and taken/then quit an amazing opportunity. I've started a new "get well" job as a part-time office manager for an awesome company run by some of my favorite people in the world/located on my street. I can bring my dog to work and wear flip flops.

But the planner in me wants to know what's next. What's the plot? Where does this story lead?

The pragmatist in me says slow the hell down and take stock before leaping off into anything new. On the one hand, I want to jump into a full time, "holy cow you're a productive member of society again!" type of job with benefits and a salary. On the other, I don't want to blow another great opportunity because I'm not ready or it's not the right fit.

"The fastest way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." Gandhi

The solution is to incubate for a bit and just stay busy being helpful to other people. I can help this company I'm working for by keeping their business running smoothly and taking those peripheral items (you know, all the little things you don't have time to do; the ones that drove me NUTS as a business owner) off their plate. I can help people through AniMeals and through the Friendly Visitor program. I can be useful right now to other people, instead of focusing solely on myself and my career and my, my, my.

I've swung up on the trapeze and let go, unsure of where my hands will find the next bar. But that's ok. I'm learning to sail my ship in uncharted territories. My first stop is the island of "shut the hell up Sarah and stop whining!" The second is to a place where I'm useful to others.

Storms be damned!


Adventures in Wonderland said...

A life well lived SHOULD be a little scary! If you're not walking that line and taking those risks, you're not really living at all.

Debi said...

Brilliant post! I love that quote--and it's so true! Sounds like you've got a good plan!!

Amanda said...

Thank you for this post - my husband is in a similar space at the moment. He's in his early 30s and has a whole lot of decisions to make about what direction he wants to make job/career wise. It's funny, I originally misread the quote by Gandhi in a completely self absorbed way to suit my own experiences. I thought it was "The fastest way to lose yourself is in the service of others!" (I'm a currently struggling occupational therapist for adults with a disability). So be wary of that potential pot hole as well. I hope you're able to find that (sometimes) elusive balance between looking after yourself and looking after others. A job on your street with awesome people where you can take your dog to work and wear flip flops sounds like a perfect stop over while charting your course to future islands.

PS. I don't think you should shut up and I definitely don't think you're whinging :)

Sarah said...

Thanks guys! I'm glad to know that others think about this kind of stuff too - I like what you said Sarah (Adventures in Wonderland) about living on the edge (like Aerosmith before Steven Tyler morphed into a grandma)!

@Amanda - I totally hear you on that - it's easy to get into the trap of replacing "You" with "Others" and then having a crash/burn of epic proportions! Balance is the name of the game and it's such a delicate dance to be balanced these days! I hope your husband finds what he's looking for, early 30s are proving to be tough for many folks I know and I thought once we were clear of our 20s it was smooth sailing! Touche life.

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