I hardly have words for the feeling of this sweet exhalation. Yesterday, after we had given up all attachment to the outcome, T. was offered the job he wanted most. He is over the moon, and I am not even sure how to begin to put words around what this means for us.
This past year, shit, it’s been so hard people. I don’t even know how to describe to you how hard it’s been. How uncertainty has become the tint through which we’ve looked at everything. We questioned everything: our lives here, our house, even some days our marriage. It has been a year of retooling and rediscovery for both of us. We’ve taken huge, crazy, wild leaps of faith towards the things we love and believe in. Towards new careers, towards a new way of living (leaner, closer to the marrow of things, but happier too, in the long run.)
Watching T. quit his job filled me with giddy helium hope and terror both. I’ve hated his job (as an equities trader) for years, but last year was the hardest, the most crazy, the most tormenting with little income and such high stress there was a perpetual knot in my solar plexus from the worry of it.
Quitting my job (teaching) filled me with equal terror, though the thought of returning to the bureaucracy of the public school system at this current juncture in history where testing has become the paramount measure of worthiness and success, and true, creative, passionate learning is sacrificed daily and without question for hours spent at desks, also filled me with dread. It’s a bittersweet thing for sure to leave teaching behind (I love igniting that spark of discovery in kids, and continue to be passionate and fascinated with the ways that kids learn) but it also feels amazing to have taken huge steps towards my forever dream of being a writer and artist.
One of those steps was the book you helped me to start this year. It became a lifeline, a promise, a validation. Now it has become a motivation to carve out writing time in a way that I have never been able to do before: to claim it as my work, valid, true, meaningful, important.
But it has been so hard. So hard to sit and write when I felt like the dance band on the Titanic, as my whole life hovered precariously close to financial incapacity, to loss, to impossibility.
Really, it was a lot in a year: the economic collapse, a new baby, quitting both our jobs. That’s the recipe for crazy, right? It seemed irrational to us too, and yet we are a passionate team, the two of us. Even when we came thisclose to separating because the daily pressure kept increasing and worry became an ugly mask that deformed many of our interactions for weeks at a time, at the core we work together in a way that is solid and passionate and determined.
And so we hunkered down and stared at uncertainty for a while.
That’s where I’ve been.
Staring at uncertainty. Helping T. with his job search. Pretending I’m writing much more than I am (because I’ve been too preoccupied to really sink into it all.)
And then he found a job that he was so excited about. In sustainable energy. In business development. A job with a future, with learning, with potential, with possibility. And he applied; interviewed three times, leaped through numerous hoops, felt golden, hopeful, great. And then. Static. For days, weeks. Two weeks of utter silence on the other line and waiting here that felt like a slow motion heart attack.
I got into a graduate program I am thrilled about. (Much much more on this in a separate post once the details have been figured out.)
We saw the most spectacular rainbow either of us have ever seen, right in our front yard. Bright, hopeful, and we kept our fingers crossed. (Each time we’ve made a big change, we’ve seen a rainbow.)
We redecorated our entire upstairs. Moved rooms. Built closets. Painted. (My new studio is a glorious thing, still in progress, to be finished hopefully by Monday—just in time for some serious productivity.)
Two weeks later we gave up. There were other possibilities. Less interesting, less in line with his dreams, but we began to try to tell ourselves those stories instead.
On Tuesday we took an impromptu trip to Montreal to escape the 100 heat by spending a languorous afternoon trawling the isles of lovely, air-conditioned Ikea (love Ikea.) When it was cooler we meandered the waterfront, and kept the kids up late, past their bedtimes for ice cream and playing in the fountain and pink sunset skies, and drove home under a heaven full of stars.
We painted my studio. Ultra white. (Awesome. I am so crushing on white right now.) We talked about starting in again. Looking, waiting, feeling out other options, connections, networks. We told ourselves and each other that we could make it. That we would.
We believed it.
Because if there is one damn thing we’ve both learned from this crazy hard year it’s this: what we’ve got between us, and in our little family of four is priceless. It’s everything. And while uncertainty made our tongues taste like nickels and our hearts flutter and our tempers flare, in the in-between moments, everything is so good.
Good like the roses blooming plush and sweet by the front door; like the blue and brown eggs we crack into the skillet for breakfast that we eat all together, the four of us on stools around the kitchen island; like evenings mellow and warm, playing badminton on the front lawn while the boys dig in the sandbox or chase each other about the lawn; goodness suspended in the golden moments of the present like amber.
Still, it’s been hot. Prickly, sticky, heat rash hot. And the waiting felt like forever. It became forever.
Minute after minute of forever.
And then finally they called and said he was their top pick, that he was just who they wanted.
I’m almost uncertain about how to face this new day without that uncertainty hanging over my head. A year and six months of uncertainty, and finally, the beginning of really effing awesome new things.
Thank you universe.