Okay, so there are some funny aspects to being in the In Between. It’s not all existential angst and wondering. (Well, maybe 92 percent of it is, but that’s the way my personality works and I’m not fretting about changing that. Things you can’t control… etc etc.)
So what’s funny is the laundry list of options I’ve considered for my next steps in life for how to support myself. Ready? I swear these are all real. And they do all sound plausible, but um, they’re pretty all over the map. I guess if you’re going to be floating loose in life, you may as well cast a wide net, right?
—Become a therapist to help people get through rough transitions in life
—Become a therapist, and then write books about resilience as an expert and then create an inspiring TV show about how people get through hard times
—Move to Virginia and become a part-time professor at my college (well, they did offer me a visiting professorship…. that I decided I couldn’t take. Bummer.)
—Become a journalism professor anywhere, to try to prepare students for the intense flux in the industry these days
—Move to Canada because I like it there and it’s not America (hating politics these days and obsessing over Canada lately)
—Take all my money and buy a house in the Adirondacks (and a Sno Cat for winter) and grow all my own food
—Create fantastically interesting hybrid job in media that moves convergence forward and puts me in a revenue stream position, instead of in the “you spend all the money” camp I used to be in
—Shun media forever and go corporate because I know brand strategy, audience development, and creative management
—Write full-time for a living (whoops, can’t support yourself in NYC on that)
—Go work for a non-profit organization, running it, preferably
—Actually move to Canada with a real job! (A magazine company thing floated by me, but didn’t turn into anything. *sigh*)
—Go work for a huge internet website—oh wait, they offered me what I was making in 1998
—Sell all my cool ideas about how companies can better reach women to PR agencies
—Go work for a PR agency; I mean, they pay, right?
—Write second book, and third book, and fourth book (all good ideas, I swear!)
—Launch a movement called Beyond Balance that tells the truth about American women’s lives right now as the world as we know it keeps tipping sideways
—Become an agent for all the amazingly talented people I see on the internets (probably can’t support myself on that, either)
Annnnnnnnnnnnd, the most recent obsession is:
—Move to Rhinbeck, NY to a beautiful property with a lake (I have a real-estate listing of it bookmarked, and I visit it once or twice a day) and write for a living, because once you’re out of commuting range to NYC, you can actually afford the houses.
Problem is that means (1) leaving NYC, (2) moving my son into a huge transition, (3) moving my son away from his father, (4) moving my son away from the support and services it’s taken me three years to get into place, (5) putting me and my boyfriend in the situation of deciding whether we’re “in it to win it,” (6) believing that I can scare up enough writing work to support myself, (7) moving into a rural setting where I won’t have neighbors 4 feet away (what if I’m lonely?), (8) choosing a life where I won’t eat at restaurants four times a week… And so on and so forth.
So, you know, that’s what I’ve been doing the past 12 months! Coming up with possibilities, exploring them, and letting them simmer in my mind. Though frankly, there’s no stove big enough to simmer this many pots. Maybe that’s why I can’t make a decision.
Hey, let’s have a vote! What do you think I should do for a living? Which option do you pick? I’ll help you with your list!
But all joking aside, this is what’s true in life: We can choose to start again, at any time. It’s just that we lack the faith, we focus on the fear, we believe we’re tied to circumstance, we believe the people we love aren’t flexible, we are happier in the uncertainty we know than in the happiness that might be waiting for us. We think that life is multiple choice—a series of conscripted choices—rather than a fill-in-the-blanks test. And of course we do that: if we narrow our vision, we have less vastness to challenge and terrify us. But if we narrow our vision? Well…. then we narrow our vision.
It’s terribly confusing. Poor humans. We barely have a chance! *wink*