Every Day is Saturday

Finding Joy in the Here and Now

Turning Point

on January 7, 2014

white picket fence

As you know if you read last week’s post (or if you’ve ever asked me), I’m not one for making resolutions.  I find them, more often than not, to be a cycle of failure and recrimination.  I have enough struggles in my life without making up new ways to fail, thank you very much.

So what I did on Saturday isn’t part of some master plan I have for myself this year.  It isn’t that I decided to heroically face my fear, or anything so poetic.  I haven’t burdened it with the weight of expectation.  I just woke up that morning and decided to do it.

I went to a writing group meeting for the first time.

This is how things happen for me, I’ve noticed.  Big shifts in my life (and I don’t know yet if this qualifies, so we’ll have to wait and see) just sort of happen, without a lot of preamble or planning.  In this case, I was encouraged to find a writing group by a friend I had lunch with on Thursday, I found the group on Friday, and I went on Saturday.  I just showed up, and it turned out to be a fun, energizing, positive experience.

This reminds me of another big turning point in my life (although I didn’t think of it that way for a long time).  I had graduated from college and done a season as an apprentice stage manager at a large regional theatre, which I hadn’t particularly enjoyed if truth be told.  So when my contract was over I half-heartedly interviewed for other gigs, and, unsurprisingly, didn’t land one.   At that point I decided I’d look into grad school.  I went to visit a friend who was getting a Master’s, but her school didn’t have the program I was looking for.  Driving home, I decided to phone a friend; I was hoping he had the answer I didn’t.

I pulled off the road and found a payphone.  Not having enough money for a long-distance call, I called him collect.  I can’t imagine how much the bill was because we talked for three hours.  During that time, my friend convinced me to think about pursuing a legal career, based on my performance in the Business Law class we had taken together.  I didn’t think I wanted to be a lawyer, but ok, I told him I’d look into it.  I did enjoy the class, and I had done very well – there’s something about contracts that has always intrigued me.

Anyway, when I got home I called another friend who I knew was taking the LSAT (the law school entrance exam) at some point soon; she had told me all about how much she’d studied, and how much she wanted to go to law school.  Turns out the test was that week, on Saturday.  This was Tuesday.

Calling the number she gave me I was surprised to find that there were still places available, so I gave my information, and was given instructions on where to go and what to do.

So that Saturday (not having studied or prepared at all) I made my way downtown to the test site, found my room, got out my #2 pencil, and took the LSAT.  I wasn’t nervous because I had no expectations about how I would do on the test.  I had nothing to lose.  I just did it.

That’s how I felt this past Saturday when I woke up and decided I would go to the writing group.  I wasn’t nervous or anxious.   I had no expectations about what it would be like, or if they would accept me.  I just decided to go, and I went.  And I listened, and I spoke up a little, and I decided I’d take the next step, which is to prepare and submit something I’ve written to the group for critique.  Which I’m doing now, again without hope for any particular result.

This is how I seem to do the things that matter.  Turning points in my life are rarely Movie of the Week moments.  It seems more to me like there’s a gradual shift towards something, a culmination of incremental changes in outlook and attitude, and when some critical mass is reached, the action or behavior that follows just flows naturally.  When it finally happens there is no fear to face, no dragon to slay, no mountain to climb.  Yes, I have to take an action, like sitting for the LSAT or going to the meeting, but the action has become effortless.  At that point I have stopped worrying about what will happen as the result of that action – by the time I reach the point of “Just Do It”, I’m not afraid of any potential outcome anymore.  Maybe that’s because I’ve spent so much time preparing myself (even though I probably haven’t realized that’s what I was doing) that I know I will be successful, or that whatever it is will take me someplace I was meant to go, or that it isn’t all that important after all.

And how did I do on the LSAT?  Since you asked, I did well enough to get into a decent school – not a great school, but probably a decent school, if I had used those results.  But I didn’t.  What I did do is go to work for a lawyer, which cured me of any interest I had in being one myself.  I did eventually attend paralegal school, which put me on the path I was traveling until I was laid off in 2010.  So even though the LSAT itself wasn’t the key, the action associated with it got me moving in a certain direction that resulted in a very good life.  For a long time.

So here I am again.  I’ve spent three years searching high and low for the gate that will open on the new path I’m supposed to walk.  I guess it shouldn’t surprise me that, after all this work and worry, I woke up one day to see it just standing there, waiting.  And without pomp or circumstance I swung it open and walked through.

*********

Thanks for reading my blog!  If you want to know more about me and my journey, check out my book “Everyday is Saturday” on Kindle.  The book is part diary, part memoir, about the first year after I was laid off from my dream job.  I think it has something to say to anyone who is struggling with change.

photo credit: Richard Elzey via photopin cc

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One response to “Turning Point

  1. Carolyn Cook says:

    That’s an exciting step. Congratulations!

    Like

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