Last week marked the exit of a third dear friend in the last two months from my current employer. And just like with the steady exodus of friends and acquaintances over my previous eight-year residency in the Washington, DC metro area, I find myself overwhelmed by FOMO and battered by a barrage of internal questions, "Should I be moving on?" "What's next?" "Where to?" In all of the most recent exits, there wasn't a clearly defined path of what they were moving towards, just the need to move away from a professional arrangement that no longer served them, be it in their career ambitions and/or family situation. And fate would have it that a particular door opened and they walked through it.
Yet, my own quest for the next thing is marked by inertia and fatigue, a wavering desire to commit to and be a change agent in an imperfect organization on the cusp of seismic internal and external shifts, doubts about whether someone like me can succeed there, and a lack of clarity about what type of work creates a sense of flow and crystallization of a specific role, not to mention being engaged in a trans-Atlantic romance that requires working for a company with a healthy work-life balance, flexible working arrangements, and proximity to the eastern seaboard. Oh, and did I mention my desire to work for an organization whose mission inspires me and kindles my interest by day and for which the commute and geographic cost of living don't leave me so drained physically, emotionally, and financially that I am unable to create and cultivate my side hustle by night?
Through all of this, I'm haunted by an old adage from my childhood, counseling me that "when you don't know what to do, don't do anything." Or in the biblical sense, "peace, be still." But to know me is to know that I am restless and lack patience, in spades. So, I create habits that help me to stop and listen, to self-interrogate, to be truly present, and to hopefully water the seeds of passion; these are: my daily Calm meditation, taking my dog for two long walks a day, being at home in the quiet, writing this blog, working out, abstaining from alcohol for periods at a time, and more intentionally curating with whom I spend my time. And while I haven't yet stumbled upon the secrets of the universe or answers to life's most persistent questions, such as "What do I want to be when I grow up?", I have started to see the sprouts of greater self-awareness, decreased anxiety, better prioritization, and improved decision-making for a couple of upcoming decisions that have significant financial implications. So, I'll take these small wins as evidence that I'm on the right path and that I'm operating in flow, and not hasten for myself an exodus that's ill-advised, poorly timed, or wrongly decided, let alone marked by my all-too-common tendency to burn bridges, win the battle but lose the war, or simply check out.
Photo Credit: Jared Verdi