21 October 2008

What Now?

Over the past few months we've been through a lot of transition--- a move away from our comfort zone and friends to a new state, new jobs, the hope of a new pregnancy and the loss of that pregnancy, and my attempt to go half-time with Paper Menagerie just as the nation's economy tanked.

This is not a post with the intention to whine. In fact, I'm quite proud of the way Billy and I have dealt with these adjustments, and I'm also proud of the fact that usually I'm a worrier, a person who operates and makes choices based on practicality and fear. I like a plan, and I like to feel that that plan is failproof. But I have not let myself give into all that this time . . . yet. And I'm trying not to.

All these things have been kicking around in my head a lot lately, and despite the fact that I'm proud and hopeful, I also give into frustration and depression sometimes. Wandering around at the library, I was drawn to the book What Now? by Ann Patchett. This was originally a commencement speech that Patchett delivered as Sarah Lawrence, and I admit, I'm sort of a sucker for those sorts of things.

But what really resonated with me what the post-college journey that Patchett described: the transition from being so darn sure about everything, to floundering in waitressing jobs, to going back to graduate school for lack of a better answer, to the acceptance of being less sure but happy in your travels. It's a journey I can relate to and am trying to be better about accepting.

A quick excerpt, and not even the best part:

Every choice lays down a trail of bread crumbs, so that when you look behind you there appears to be a very clear path that points straight to the place where you stand. But when you look ahead there isn't a bread crumb in sight--- there are just a few shrubs, a bunch of trees, a handful of skittish woodland creatures. You glance from left to right and find no indication of where you're supposed to go. And so you stand there, sniffing the wind, looking for directional clues in the growth patterns of moss, and you think What now?

6 comments:

Sarah said...

thanks, i needed that. i have had some similar experiences, i finished grad school a year ago (sarah lawrence, actually, how apt), and left new york for texas, a choice i am trying not to regret. bought a house right as the economy tanked, another choice i'm trying not to regret. and daily, i think the same thing: now what? i am not where i ever imagined i'd be in life at this point! anyway, thanks for the post!

Amy Olson Jewelry said...

my mom gave me this book just before we moved back to the west coast and i really enjoyed it too. i swear, sometimes our similarities are uncanny! i.e: the diana, the book, etc., etc....
hope you are well! i've been missing boston lately, but it certainly is beautiful here!

Julia said...

what a lovely passage. i know you'll find your way angela, wherever that ends up taking you.

picciolo said...

that book sounds great! I hope your 'what now' finds you some answers soon, you have had a lot to deal with and I hope you get a break soon
: )

7seventeengallery said...

I definitely am at a bizarro crossroads myself. It's always good to read passages such as that or even a blog entry by someone in a quasi-similar boat...

Angela said...

Thanks everyone for posting! Some people emailed me as well, saying that they identified with the passage and the general feeling of "What now?"

So I hope it helps us all to know we are in similar states!

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