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Taking Stock: At Five Months

This morning I’ve been listening to a podcast about the film industry (“Kermode and Mayo,” from the BBC, natch -- check it out, it’s fab), and one of the hosts was talking about narrative.

In particular the film under discussion (“It: Chapter Two,” in case you’re wondering) lacked it. Narrative, that is.

So then I guess I should be grateful I’m not in the film industry, as this post in particular -- maybe the entire blog, who knows -- is bound to lack narrative. Probably because I feel I lack narrative, or at least a linear one.

With that disclaimer, here then are my thoughts, dated five months after having left my friends, my home in Alaska, my job -- all those things set aside in pursuit of The Next Thing:

Where to begin? Well, I guess my lack of patience's virtue is showing. My friends tell me it’s just the holiday season +/- winter’s darkness, but I’m not certain I agree. For one thing, I’m not really a holiday person, and I think I’ve finally become fairly Meh about the whole “other people have families and festivities, and I don’t” thing. Also, Bend, Oregon, is pretty fucking sunny, so even though the sun does set by late afternoon in early December, the middle hours of the day are typically plenty packed with sunshine, certainly far more so than Alaska ever was.

Perhaps it’s merely the shine wearing off the newness of it all. Here I am in Oregon, living in a house I’ve bought, working at a job (nearly) full-time, finding favourite restaurants and trails, learning which roads are worst for morning rush hour, bingeing Netflix in the evenings... In other words, doing pretty much the exact same stuff I was doing in Anchorage, only doing it somewhere else.

Tricky thing, these ruts in our behaviour, how easily they grab our forward momentum and channel it right back into "Same-old Same-old." It’s been challenging to keep my eyes on the proverbial prize and remember what I’m supposed to be doing here. I’m supposed to be living intentionally, mindfully, paying attention to what I’m liking and not liking about my life since making these recent changes. Instead, it’s been far too easy to simply live my old life in a new place. Hmm.

So then does that mean I actively enjoy this sort of life and just need to choose the best place to live it? Or am I still lacking the motivation/energy/enthusiasm to intentionally choose “better”?

And what’s the best way to chronicle those ideas and inspirations as they occur? A journal? An ongoing adjustable list? I’m thinking perhaps of a chalkboard, whose ghostly imprints of erased ideas might reinforce the concept of just how transient and mutable ideas are, by their very nature.

In my study, there's a tall stack of books and folders just sitting there on the desk -- rules for a Tier 2 visa, regulations regarding animal transport to the UK, how-to guides regarding living and working in the UK or France or, more generally, “abroad." Somehow, I never seem to "find" the time to tuck into them in any sort of dedicated fashion, instead preferring to watch “The Avengers” for the seventy-fifth time. Or listen to British podcasts about the film industry.

Is it all just too overwhelming, the magnitude of these sorts of decisions? Or am not truly committed? Why can’t I make this plan go forward? Am I merely hiding behind Brexit? Would I be finding a different excuse were the U.K. political situation more stable?

And what about the job? Am I going to just limp along half-hating my profession until I can properly retire? Or am I going to try to find something else? What might that be, and how do I find it?

So, really, the same questions I was having before, just in a new place. No epiphanies. Yet.

Therefore, inevitably, I ... I was going to say “I question my desire to leave” but that’s not quite correct. I still feel it was necessary for me to have left Alaska when I did. What is more accurate is to say that I’m contemplating the pros and cons of returning. There are things about the job -- assuming I remain in VetMed -- that I would gain, and things I would lose. Much as with any job, I suppose. Or decision.

But overall I have a gut feeling I would lose more than I would gain. The little life-coach inside my brain reminds me I did this for a reason. It wasn’t just a fit of pique. It wasn’t because it sounded adventurous and impressive. Nor was it because Oprah magazine talked me into creating a whole new life -- "You go, Girl!!"

No, this was something I've been wanting to do and felt a need to explore.

I think if I wanted to live a safe and comfortable life, surrounded by friends and working where I could be my best professional self, it would be an easy thing to re-pack all my belongings and go back where I came from. But I don’t think I want to live a safe and comfortable life. (I might be sorry I said that -- you heard it here first, folks. "Hey, remember when you said...") I think I have always felt there was something else “out there.” I no longer think I’m going to be one of those people who finds their “calling.” -- Who knows, maybe my calling is the seeking, itself.


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