Thursday, March 4, 2010

Exploring Castles...

This has been the most peculiar week. I can't say it's been bad, because it hasn't. It's actually been quite...dare I say it...good. Of course, I didn't have to say goodbye to any family pets so that's always a bonus but, even with work....things have been good.

I'm starting to worry that, as I said to my mother tonight, I'm drinking the Kool Aid. Work is starting to be...tolerable even, gulp, ok. I could go further than 'ok' but that would be gushing...for me, anyway.

Today marked the one-year anniversary of our "independence." We were sold by a University and bought by a Trust. It's been a weird year. I've gone through every emotion through raging hatred to hysterical amusement.

As far as my job goes, I've been with our company for a year and a half. I feel like over the past two weeks, I've found my real footing. Because I have trust issues, I worry that it's just an illusion but I'd really like to think it's the start of something good or, at least, better. As a good friend reminded me, when I started my last job at USC, I hated it and went through the seething-hatred-to-pure-enjoyment cycle. When I left, I loved my job. When I'd started, I hated it.

I'm seeing the same cycle here although I hate to admit it. It's possible that it really is a temporary thing but I'd like to believe it means that I've finally figured out where I fit and I'm going to do my darndest to make sure I stay there. It could, of course, mean that I'm terrified of this crappy economy and being out of work but the optimist in me really believes that it's not.

It's odd to be writing this. Less than a month ago, I was mocking my job and my company. I'm still willing to mock, don't get me wrong. I still don't like the Most Optimistic Bathroom in the World or the fact that the popcorn maker is worth more than the value of my pathetic old television. However, I do like the fact that my boss has been talking to me. I like the fact that I've managed to fight inevitable bitterness and emerge on the side of Zen. I like the fact that I can drive eight minutes from home to work in the mornings. I don't like that that I'm on the same timetable as the local school buses but I'm learning to deal with that.

I think the scary thing is it's another sign of that alarming step into adulthood. It doesn't matter so much to me that my job is everything, that I have to be happy in the hours in which I truly earn my paycheck. It's a bonus, definitely but it's not required. I'm learning that what does matter is that I can afford to pay my mortgage and drive home to see my family. What matters is that I get to see my three-year-old niece and be the person who's crazy enough to bash her head on the dining room chairs as I help her explore her "castle" which, to grown ups, translates as underneath the table but, to her, is a kingdom of wonder. I get to see her grow a little taller each time I see her. When I lived in L.A., I'd see her so infrequently that it was as though she'd swallowed some of Jack's Magic Beans and grown from a baby into a giant. These days, I see her often enough that I'm no longer the mythical aunt but a real, physical part of her life. Bashing my head is nothing- despite the pain, exploring her castle is fun.

I like that. I think I'm actually liking knowing that my job isn't my life. My life is about family, friends, getting my book published and the possibility of finding a dog that will love me. It's pretty simple really. Ask me a few years ago and I would have said that I was on a quest to find that job that WAS me, that represented me, that showed the world how fabulous I am.

Jaded as it might sound, I don't need that now. Don't get me wrong, I still crave affirmation and praise, just as most humans do. However, I also know that, mostly, it's internal. If I feel confident and content then....I am.

Which is why I'm going to choose to accept the past week's contentment at work for what it is: A good thing. It may pass, it might last. Yet, for now, I'll take it, simple as that. If it doesn't work out...well, I can still explore castles and write books.

Happy Friday

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