Counting Up All The Change

It adds up to something much more significant than expected

“Every moment has led up to this.” 

– Every movie protagonist as they get ready to face their biggest foe

Change adds up

Over the last couple of years, on this blog I have examined questions about identity discovery, living in a space with less built-in promises, and on reliance and trust on people outside myself. Offline in the real world, I’ve been quietly preparing my mind and heart for a big change. What that change would be was very much unknown, but it’s clear through what I’ve felt compelled to share that the status quo wasn’t good enough anymore. In the process, I couldn’t see what that would add up to. I don’t have the final answer yet; I’m actually still doing the math and formula calculations, scratching out notes and numbers because I write in pen and never believed in doing my math homework with a pencil.   

Directional Shifts

Those closer to me know I’ve always kept a pretty low key external demeanor. It’s rare for the internal drama to spill out in front of anyone. I’m not much one for too much attention. So when my career path took an unexpected, but ultimately necessary and life-widening, turn this past summer, I held back from publicly communicating about it for a month. The change was quiet. Its effect on me was deep and extremely profound. Time was needed to process what this all meant and for me to determine what direction I should go next. But the reality is I needed help, which I wrote about back in September. Call it “networking” or just straight up relying on others, but not every venture should be taken alone. (Though when it comes to international travels, going it alone is very much a thing for me.)

The search for my next career path steps inevitably forced numerous and significant questions. What’s next? What is it I would like to be doing in a new job? What am I actually good at? Are there new skills I want to or should pick up in this in-between phase? What is actually important to me? Is it mostly about the money or does culture and fit and a true work-life balance provide more real value? 

What’s my conclusion as this year closes out? The short and perhaps somewhat obvious answer is that money and status isn’t everything. This is In spite of Jack Donaghy from 30 Rock who once said, “Money can’t buy you happiness. It *is* happiness.” Life experience notably tells us otherwise. In finding a new place to call home from 9-5 Monday through Friday. I’m enjoying working on a team within an organization that is actively working towards living out their mission and regularly makes concerted efforts to consistently remind each of us of our value and assets we bring. That, for me at this moment in time, goes a lot farther for my total well being than what can be measured using numbers in a bank account. 

Keep On Running

Forrest Gump - "I just felt like running"

Despite other seismic shifts, one constant for 2019 – and since 2014 – has been running. It’s provided an outlet for fitness and to relieve stress and process thoughts and life. I started training early this year and never stopped and participated in quite a few races:

  • Chi-Town Half Marathon (April)
  • Chicago Spring Half (May)
  • Gigi’s Playhouse 5K (June) – me and my niece Violet
Me and my niece
  • I love the 90’s 5K (June)
  • The Dramathon (October)
The Dramathon finish line

That’s a lot of time on roads, sidewalks, trails, and treadmills. 

I recently signed up for the 2020 Milwaukee Marathon in April, so training has begun anew. I love counting and tracking mileage so I don’t have to count the calories. This will be my first big race of 2020, but almost certainly not my only one. If you have one you’re doing, tell me about it and there’s a semi-decent chance I’ll join in! 

Sometimes a literal finish line is necessary to keep pushing you. Setting goals in this part of my life has proven very fruitful. I’m pretty sure there’s a lesson in this I should be applying to other parts of my life.

Seeing (in) 2020

This annual birthday turning into end of year life recap post has proven personally edifying and enlightening. I more fully appreciate the larger picture being painted when I pause and step back from the minutiae and details to see the greater themes present. For the first time in years, I sense more of a blank canvas in front of me vs touching up or tweaking an existing piece of work.   

Some friendships deepened this year. I learned (or re-learned) reliance can and should be bidirectional in relationships.  That is a lesson I will need to remind myself of daily. 

New challenges will come, but I feel more ready for new than I have before.

Oh, and the answer to the calculations I started above?

Sum: 41

Sum 41

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