Dear readers, thank you for all your thoughtful and kind suggestions for What I Should Do With My Life. I think it was a fantastic exercise to write down (type down?) the many different visions that have been in and out of my head, as a way to quantify some of the real work I’ve been doing in mapping out my future.
So I toddled off to my beloved shrink yesterday, sharing with her my excitement over the Rhinebeck option, and before I even got to describe the lovely property with a pond and screened porch, she interrupted me: “That time you were looking at houses, you could have been using to look for a job.”
Oh. Oh dear! My therapist is a gifted and wonderful woman, who knows me inside and out, and I’m not sure she’s ever taken me to task before. I was quite taken aback, and felt the sting of tears smarting in the corners of my eyes.
The tears were there, I knew, because I didn’t want her to take away my Everything-Will-Be-Okay solution. But what she was showing me was instead what’s true: instead of continuing to do this terribly hard step-by-step work of getting myself stable—with a job and an income and some purpose to organize my life around—I’d escaped… into an escape fantasy.
You can see how my brain would have figured it out for me: “Okay, this job anxiety and money anxiety is really overwhelming and unpleasant, and I’m utterly bored and flat-out exhausted by thinking about it. So instead, let’s do something fun! Let’s dream up an option that means NOT having to solve the job anxiety and the money anxiety, that means NOT having to finish living through the emotional tumult of having everything you think you knew about yourself yanked away. Imagine yourself happy! Growing lettuces! Staring at the pond and writing books! It’s so close! Just 118 miles away!”
Yes, I can still dream about that house and that life, and I do believe that’s where I’m headed. But choosing to catapult myself into a new town, with none of my existing support systems, and none of my son’s existing support systems, with an unreliable income… Well, my therapist pointed out that’s probably not my best move while I’m pinwheeling about as I have been. Ah, yes. That seems like a very wise (and somewhat obvious) observation.
Sounds like something my parents would have said to me, actually. And frankly, I’m glad to know someone is looking out for me. (Besides the universe itself, of course.)