Connecting The Dots
Since I was in my very early twenties, New Year’s Eve has decidedly been my least favourite celebration of the year.
Over the years the reasons for my dislike of the whole thing have grown, and at this point I would simply say that New Years Eve like so much in life is for couples and families. I have neither a partner nor children and I long ago grew tired of pretending that I don’t care that there is no one to kiss as the New Year roles in. Staying home alone and trying to ignore the whole thing usually comes with a bought of overwhelming loneliness and sometimes despair.
As 2009 approached, newly single and finally back in my own apartment, I came up with what I thought was a wonderful life-long solution to the whole problem.
I invented a new tradition, My Spiritual Spa.
It goes like this.
I clean and organize my home so that it is comfortable, relaxing and cozy, the way I love it the most, but can’t always maintain.
Then, after a delicious dinner, I settle into meditation, prayers of gratitude and long hours journaling with beautiful music in the background, surrounded by scented candles, dressed in my coziest clothes.
I take time to reflect on the past year’s accomplished goals, lessons learned, gratitude, and anything else that I can think of. Then, I guide my pen to my dreams and plans for the New Year.
I fill myself with hope and faith that there are wonderful things in store for me. Always, I am growing, and moving forward and this is the night for believing that even if past dreams have fallen flat, there is always hope for the future.
As midnight approaches I head outside to the middle of the frozen river, where I stand bathed in moonlight that shines both down and up as it reflects off the snow that surrounds me. I don’t think I could imagine a better way to ring in a New Year.
This year however, I found myself falling into a state of dark dread of the fast approaching holiday. This year, I hated the New Year the way some hate Christmas.
I hated it because I had lost hope. My faith had taken a vacation to someplace warm and I was certain that I couldn’t possibly face the task of writing about dreams when I seem to have lost the ability to dream at all.
So far this winter, instead of long walks along the frozen river I have been contemplating, watching and observing the dark place that I find myself. Instead of trying to fix it, I decided to just be with my dark mood with the goal of discovering what it had to teach me.
The lesson was that my life is not working and no matter how much I focus on the positive, the gifts and the gratitude for what I have, things need to change.
I am, to put it simply, burnt out.
I am burnt out of both my career and my life. I am simply exhausted from struggling alone, and working to convince myself that things will be alright when they are so clearly, not alright.
I can no longer survive on my diminishing income. Living as frugally as I do, not owning a car, never going on vacation, 3 haircuts a year and bare minimum expenses leave nothing to give up. I simply need a new career.
Simple, but not so simple as I have been job hunting for two years.
Even if I didn’t care what I do for a living, wages are too low (as in not even slightly above the poverty line that I already live under) for a single person to support herself. Most of the jobs available to me on paper are dead-end, with no benefits, pension, or chance to grow… and no one will hire me anyway as it is obvious to anyone who reads my resume that I’m not likely to commit to such a position after running a department for nearly 11 years.
Sadly, there seems to be an overwhelming and misguided notion that the skills I have worked all of my life to acquire and grow have no use outside of the arts and the format of a resume is apparently too lacking to prove otherwise, even when created by a professional career counsellor.
Facing 2011 with gut-wrenching fear that the end of this theatre season might find me losing my apartment was unbearable. I’ve spent my entire adult life believing that things will work out without ever knowing that I have some sort of security and while they often did when I was younger, they often don’t now. This wasn’t what I set out for in life and I felt myself running out of the strength I need to endure with no creative ideas for a solution. It seemed as though every well that I have had run dry.
I have a few times in my life had the experience that when everything seems hopeless, something completely unexpected, out of the blue comes along and shakes things up, changing everything for the better, but it is a hard thing to count on when you’re feeling desperate.
This fall, I decided to focus on writing because I felt that that is where my heart was leading me and since logic and reason didn’t seem to solve this issue I went with it. Unfortunately, work, life and my own descent into melancholy slowed this blog, but I know that I can always start again. I’m back now.
Following my heart seems to have been the right answer.
A Christmas party that I hadn’t wanted to attend suddenly and magically turned into a new career. One with a future that I can get excited about.
In March after building the last two shows of my life in theatre , instead of facing another long lay-off I will be moving on to a very different place.
I will be doing Social Network Marketing and Customer Service for a heating and cooling company.
This is full time all-year round 40 hours per week work that is both interesting and a brand new creative challenge. The opportunities to grow to a place where I can be comfortable and secure for the first time in my life will depend entirely on me and what I put into my new position…As always, I will give my best and I know that in this I will succeed. My year spent hanging around the web has turned into the opportunity that I have been praying for.
What’s more, I am staying true to myself working to sell essential products designed to save energy, and maintaining my commitment to the environment.
So New Year’s Eve went ahead as planned, only better.
Peace, and optimism were once again mine and though I opted to stay in my fuzzy warm robe and skip the frozen river, I re-discovered my spiritual practice and my faith.
I am sadly still feeling lower than usual, but I know that as always I will get through to the other side a wiser and stronger me, prepared to embrace a new and much more promising future. Already I am finding it easier to believe again that I will have good things in my life. The chance to work towards other dreams and maybe someone to share all of it with.
He spoke about how he left college because it wasn’t serving him and how he created his success by following his heart. Even when he didn’t know where he was headed, each decision he made along the way lead directly to his amazing success with Apple, Next and Pixar.
“…you can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something. Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path.
And that will make all the difference.”
So, my only resolution for 2011 is to follow my heart and trust. It seems to be what all of the cool kids are doing these days anyway.