l a t e l y.
as i write, it's pushing 80 degrees AND SUNNY outside on a saturday afternoon, and i am in my room.
because i don't really like being outside.
because nice weather on a saturday means anywhere i would want to go is also the place where everyone + all their kids will be. (which means traffic and no parking and why do this on a weekend when i can do it on a weekday.)
because, quite honestly, i have to do laundry and my roommates' washer broke and they're not having it replaced until next week, so i'm saving my real clothes for when i have actual reasons to go out in public.
not that i feel like i need to explain myself, but those are my reasons.
sometimes i think about how i do a lot of nothing all day, and the only reason i do anything sometimes is so that when my sister calls me on her way home from work and asks what i did all day, i'll have something to say other than, "um, well, i took a shower. and ate meals."
but the truth is, i don't actually feel bad about how i choose to spend my time as an unemployed person. it took me a long time to realize it, and then a few extra days (weeks) to say it out loud, but i think being unemployed is the thing i'm supposed to be doing right now.
when i quit my job, somewhat unexpectedly (but also intentionally), i didn't know what i was going to do, or supposed to do, next. but i gave a month's notice and then ended up working another month after that, so i had some time to try to figure it out.
the only thing i knew i didn't want was to be unemployed, but then my last day of work came and went, and there i was.
i wrote a post about it. about what it felt like to watch something end without knowing what else was beginning, while on the verge of finding out once i drove away from the office that last time.
"this is what happens next," i wrote.
it's not at all what i thought it would look like, or what i'd hoped for. in fact, it doesn't look like anything at all.
after a couple months, i had the opportunity to go on the road for five weeks as a nanny. it was an experience i'd wanted to have, but something i thought i'd lost any shot at getting since i quit my job. it turned out, i wouldn't have gotten this opportunity if i hadn't quit my job. so on top of it being an experience to write home about, it was exciting to feel like maybe things were happening.
but then it was over. and then christmas was over. and then twenty sixteen rolled around and ...nothing.
i could've gone to italy, but i chose to stay home (and do nothing) instead.
in some ways it felt like i was starting all over. like i had lost all progress, and had no idea what the point was anymore.
the thing about quitting your job is that you have to do it with purpose. usually, purpose looks a lot like another job. in my case, i quit in faith that there was a purpose (another job) just around the corner, waiting to be revealed, even though i didn't know how or when or what it would look like.
i was waiting for that, counting on that, and when it didn't happen that way, i started to think maybe i was missing the point. maybe my purpose for quitting wasn't another job (although, at some point, i will find another job). maybe my purpose was to be the thing i was most afraid to be, the thing i didn't know how to be, the thing i actually didn't think i could be: unemployed.
i've prayed about this a lot.
and here is where i want to pause and give that statement some room, and a little more weight. you probably read that line with a basic understanding of what i mean and are prepared to move on to whatever i say next, but it's not just a casual thing. it's the thing i've been doing in lieu of, you know, working.
even though it doesn't look like i have anything to show for my time, my heart is different. and it's not a weird or super spiritual thing, but it's worth mentioning. it's worth pausing over. because it's made me better and braver and more whole.
it's also made me start writing. which might feel like a weird leap, but the thing that i hear when i pray/ask what i'm supposed to be doing is "write."
i don't really know what it was, exactly, that made me pause the episode of friday night lights i was watching on netflix, but i stopped mid-episode.
i started reading annie downs' new book, looking for lovely, which i found on the shelf at sam's club when we went shopping in charlotte and, you know, NEEDED to have. because of that one time i met her and we hugged and i would want someone to buy my book if they saw it on a shelf because, how cool would that be?
it was lying on my bedroom floor, and for whatever reason, i decided to pick it up.
i stopped at the part (like, two pages in) where she writes about the emails she gets from people who have started to do brave things after reading her last book, called let's all be brave.
my worry is that six months in, they are going to quit. something is going to get hard, a door is going to close, a whisper of doubt will creep in, a challenge is going to come along. and instead of staying the course, trusting they are on the right path, even if the path doesn't make sense, they will quit.
i put the book down.
i think i'm pretty brave. i've done some gutsy things in the past year and i haven't given up when the going got tough (and, um, it has). but i'm not that brave when it comes to writing. i've never quit, but that's because i've also never tried it.
and i don't even mean writing, as a career or something i make money doing. i literally mean writing, as something i'm committed to or admit, out loud, that it's something that's important to me. i've always held it at arms length, pretending like it didn't really matter, like it's only something i do for fun, in my free time. because admitting that it's something i'm really passionate about would mean i'd have something to lose.
i ended up in a place where i decided to give it some room, to stop watching netflix (and not even finish the episode), in favor or writing and reading and writing some more. just for the sake of seeing what happens when i sit down and make time to write things, consistently and intentionally. because, after all, i have the time to give it.
so far, it's been five days, and i have watched nothing but i have written – i was going to say approximately 5,000 words, but i just counted and it's more like 10,000. and i've also read two books.
so, this has been life, lately.
still don't know what i'm doing. still not sure what the purpose actually is. still wholeheartedly believe there is one, though.