Twenty Fourteen blurs, even in its recent history. If life is viewed as a poker tournament, the fates dealt me a pretty lousy hand. The only pair I saw was two slovenly roommates. My jack-high described the activity of my car mechanic, not my opening bid. More often than not I held a hand full of red cards; rarely did I live in the black. And the one time that I thought I had a truly winning hand, the wager for which I went all-in, the deck was stacked against me and it turned out I held a flush – the kind that sent me spiraling downward in a swirl of, well, you get the metaphor.
As Cold War Kids sing, “I was supposed to do great things. I cut my ties, I sold my rings; I wanted none of this.” Now I was buried in a black hole of simple survival, pretending anything mattered, when in fact nothing did. For seven months, grueling and empty, I crawled back, “breathing one breath at a time.” I met a few passing faces, some kind, most stymied by their own dead ends, and even though I felt unable to fight my way into the life raft, I knew I did not want to drown waiting for a rescue that might never arrive. I believed in little, some days in nothing at all, but the oddest thing provided me with sustenance I needed to keep breathing: my work ethic. But going through the motions, I knew I was working my rebound job in my rebound life, “Put your head down and breathe one breath at a time.” I hunkered down until the right moment, encouraging myself with a single thought that I typed on my screen saver: NOT NOW, JUST WAIT. “Where does it lead to?”
“I’ll Be Alright”
I wondered if the darkness that surrounded me this year blinded me. If I really landed the career I had believed I wanted to have for so many years, would I find the wellspring of happiness I had convinced myself awaited me in a new career, in new surroundings, and in a new part of the United States? Maybe life just appeared greener on the other side of the Mississippi. Now opportunity knocks and I swing the door open wide and it feels exponentially more fabulous than I expected. Dreams coming true fill me with the intoxicating fragrance of outstanding reality and crisp pine trees. I have finally, “Come up for air, come up for air.”
I receive the one good inhalation I need, scented of success and sage, of triumph and wildflowers, and I fill my lungs with its life-giving oxygen and I take the plunge. Sure it looks like another career shift, and a temporary one at that, but for the first time this year, I feel the pulsing of my blood in the right direction. I awake refreshed, unafraid, inspired, and ignited, and not just each morning as I face the day’s joys, but greeting a new life and what may lie ahead in the coming weeks. I may not have a plan for the coming months, but this feeling of being alive as, “I feel the air upon my face,” both literally and figuratively rejuvenates me and confirms that I am on the road I have always wanted to travel and the drive is exactly what I wanted It to be. “If you start from scratch, you have to sing, just for the fun of it.”