Announcing my Retirement
I revisited a love letter I sent my inner circle about 2 years ago. The circle has shifted a bit. A couple people stepped out, less have stepped in. I am grateful for all this stepping.
While reading my old words, my eyebrows did spring up a bit in an “oh brother” sort of way. A consequence of being myself, or perpetually trying to, I believe, this woven coat of oh brothers and oh wells. Adrienne Rich said those who use the word "love" engage in "a process of refining the truths they can tell each other."
Not everyone has to spend quite so much time refining the truths they tell themself about themself, but this is my lot in life, being such an empathic chameleon. I'm not quite sure why I spend so much time wondering who I am and what this life thing is all about, really. What I know is that I do. Like that adage about the man with his pants on fire standing on the bridge—it's best not to look around wondering how the fire started. It's best just to jump in the water.
So I've learned to say "thank you for sharing" to the people who tell me I think too much. And I've learned to guard my sensitive nature, to view it as a gift, to take care of it, to try and harness my powers for good.
In pernicious ways, I have spent many moments of my life unwittingly using my sensitivities to try and manage other people's thoughts, feelings, and opinions toward myself and others. This is an absolutely exhausting job. Additionally, the pay is terrible.
The job entailed tirelessly interpreting what the people around me mean, what might they really mean, what might they really want, what do they really need. Did I mention my job was exhausting? Not to mention I was underqualified and overambitious. I wish I could tell you I quit because of a personal maturation that rose clear and steady into frame, like the moon at night. Nah. I had more of a crash and burn. The price tag on almost every lesson I've learned has been years and tears.
Today, happily retired from that onerous role, I am playing catch-up. I look at myself instead and wonder, what does she really want? What does she really need? What does she really mean? This time, though, I feel perfectly qualified. Perfectly ambitious. In fact I just gave myself my quarterly review and, despite not getting a raise, I received sweeping approval ratings. Then I ate a sleeve of expired cookies and remembered that there is no arriving, or that actually life is a continuous loop of arrivals and departures.
And what if you are not arriving or departing? If you are in more of a waiting period? Not all of us race along to the sound of our dreams ticking like a metronome in our hearts. Some of us walk in silence. Some of us have dreams gathering in our souls and some of us sit in the quiet lobby of our own tired hearts and simply wait.
All fine options, if you ask me.
All these states come about as a product of living, of having asked so many questions, or of having accepted that some endings really do finish with a question mark.
This is a strange, alternately chaotic and uneventful world. If you can, take a rest in your lobby. If you can, jump in and extinguish whatever fire threatens you. If you can, turn on the metronome in your heart and move forward at a pace of your own choosing.
What I like about writing, after all, is that I can be sitting down and galloping forward at the same time.