Tuesday, April 7, 2015


I really, truly, deeply loathe uncertainty.

For me, the hardest part is not actually DOING the hardest part, it's muddling through what ought to be done, not sure of my path.  Hearing that I would need a mastectomy and wondering if I'd be able to face all that entailed was actually harder than doing the surgery; when I woke up and faced my own wounds, still in recovery, it was almost a blessed relief: I had done the deed, I had survived it, and I was still me.

But the uncertainty about my ability to manage it, to know what to think, felt deadly.

I am in a time of uncertainty right now, a crossroads of sorts.  I did not get the job, and after the initial gulping, gasping sting of that blow to my ego (if not to my career), I am left feeling....unsure.  I don't even know what I feel.  I am not dead, nor gasping for air.  I am not jubilant.  I am not angry.  But I am confused, uncertain, unsure.

What do I do next?

Going after the job felt certain: I had a plan, and I stuck to it.  I did my best.  I thought it out.  I practically dreamed of it, wondered about it, but felt certain that I was on the right path.  Clearly I was wrong, as it was not my path, but being wrong is something I'm used to.  I may have been meant to interview, but the job was not meant for me, and I am not bitter about it.  There were warning signs - too many interviews/hoops, and a job open for too long, and a process that took months - and perhaps it wasn't as good as I'd hoped.  Certainly, I'll never know now, and I have a fair amount of peace about that.

Still, I have no idea what to do in the aftermath.  I thought that I should stay at my current job 18 months before moving on (professionally and personally it might be a good idea!), but it feels simultaneously uncomfortably small and frustrating, and like maybe I could accomplish great things there before moving on.  Should I re-gather my energy and go after another job, or should I stay where I am?

Staying has advantages.  It is TIRING to start a new job at a new company, and I'd have to prove myself all over again, putting in lots of hours and learning new things from scratch.  Summer is coming, and with it the summer childcare nightmare, and in my current position I have some flexibility to pick up or drop off Katherine early or late, to work from home.  My boss knows that I work hard, has seen the last year's worth of 4:30am emails and late nights, and I have some leeway, well earned.  At a new job, there would be no summer vacation, no leeway.  Am I ready to take that on....again?

Leaving has its advantages.  I am truly underpaid for my industry, and struggling with that.  I would make more, significantly more, where I go next.  I would seek out, and find, a significantly more functional organization.  I'd grow professionally.  I'd get a larger group of colleagues, and mentors (something I deeply crave).

Am I ready to leave?  Or shall I put in more time?  I am uncertain.

This uncertainty is rippling into the rest of my life as well.  I have writer's block.  I feel anti-social, declining invitations and delaying returning personal emails.  I don't know where I want to be in six months, or what I should be doing to get there.  It's unlike me - I do my best when I'm busy, on the path, marching along, watching the scenery.  But right now, I feel very still, very in place, and it's uncomfortable.


I also had a little epiphany about men that has me feeling uncertain.  Bryan and I didn't have a spark, certainly not when we first met, nor for several years afterwards, and I've thought that was part of my mistake, and that sparks were part of the future deal I would strike.  But something happened that has me questioning that idea, and it's caught me off guard.

I've talked here about Gymnastics Dad.  Handsome, "just my type" physically, with a bit of an edge.  Very creative, very expressive.  Very self involved (when we went for a walk together, he did not notice puddles and step aside for me, nor did he slow down when I had to stop and wait for him to go around them, so I then had to scurry to catch up with him...and scurrying is not romantic or sexy).  Maybe a bit of a party boy.  A bit moody.  Think George Clooney meets James Dean - a bit of a bad boy with charm.  I looked up and saw him for the first time, and every hormone in my body sang a little song and perked up, a physical reaction to his sexiness.

But let's face it, he's a bit of a jerk.  A charming, boyish, smart, creative, attractive.....jerk.  He gave me a tiny casual lie the other day, something small and insignificant, and then, I think fearing that I'd caught him, he love bombed me, and gave me more compliments than expected, and was more charming than usual.

The old me would have been confused - surely such a small lie doesn't matter, or maybe I was wrong and he really did what he said he did? (He did not.)  And such nice things to say.....give him a break!  But it feels wrong, but I want it to be right....and round and round it goes.

The new me can't smile and back away fast enough.  He's charming, and if I did friends with benefits I think I'd sign up.  Alas, that is not my way, and so I did not.

And here leads to the funny epiphany.

Yesterday at gymnastics I walked in and literally walked right past one of the other dads, also a divorced dad that I sometimes talk to, without even seeing him.  He called out to me and smiled, so I apologized ("Oh! I'm sorry, I didn't see you at first!") and sat down next to him for a chat.

We talked about hiking.  Backpacking.  Books, fiction and nonfiction.  Cooking, and baking.  Our kids.  (It should be noted that though he is divorced, he often comes to see his daughter when it's not his night "on".  I find this incredibly attractive in a person, male or female.)  His eyes twinkled, and I noticed for the first time how incredibly smart he is.  He spoke kindly of his ex-wife (and Gymnastics Dad says that his ex is horrible, then explains how horrible).  I know that he's kind to his ex-wife, actually, because I'm also friends with her through gymnastics (we really do spend a lot of time bringing our kids there), and she speaks well of him.  She's going through a hard time, and he had the kids make her a nice meal - he's that kind of ex-husband.  (Just like I'm that kind of ex-wife; interesting!)

I saw him as a man for the first time.  I noticed that he's tall.  That he's got broad shoulders.  That he probably works out.  That he (ahem) has big feet, and wears nice shoes.  That he shaves his head all the way, and carries it off.  I noticed that he lights up when he talks about things he cares about.  But most of all, I noticed how absolutely steady he seemed.  Something in him (and really, I'm pretty good at identifying these things when I am honest with myself) seems rock-solid and believable; I think he's a man of his word, someone you could depend upon.  He's not George Clooney, or Brad Pitt.  He's attractive in a normal kind of way.  But suddenly, I saw him differently, all at once.

It all came to me at once, after 20 conversations with his man prior to yesterday, and I almost started laughing.

I have had a mad crush on Gymnastics Dad, felt irresistibly drawn to him.  And I had a crush on the wrong Gymnastics Dad.   How is it that I've ignored someone much better suited to me, who has sat ten feet away through many of my conversations with Gymnastics Dad?!

No, I don't know what I am doing.  I don't know where I'm going.  I'm not dating, so "noticing" a man doesn't mean anything.  Except that I'm trying to sit with my own uncertainty about where I am, where I'm going, and what I want.


It's new for me.  I'm learning to sit with it, wait it out.  Who knows what will happen next?  Not me!  For now, I walk the path of uncertainty about life, career, romance.  Time will reveal all.

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