Earlier this evening, I set out on an uphill/downhill walk to the park. It’s a hilly neighborhood. The drizzles of the day appeared over, the sun shone wanly on the world, and the humidity wasn’t hot – yet. I needed the walk to clear the cobwebs from my brain. Time for a spring cleaning, polish the windows of my mind – there are windmills there, too, aren’t there -- for I needed a long, clear view, and I wasn’t getting it sitting in front of the computer or playing with the cats.
Up the hill I walked, fully determined to think strategically, to decide who I want to be when I grow up (this time) and what on earth I’m going to do with whoever she turns out to be. My job search has been sluggish from the start, for two reasons: First, the world has changed enormously since I last looked for a job, and I’ve been pulling myself up a learning curve. You’ve no idea how many webinars are out there on how to find a job these days, how much conflicting information and advice, how many websites you have to publish your entire life on – unless, of course, you’ve been looking for a job yourself since the economic downturn started turning. When I resigned last year, I had no idea what was going on out here! Second, since I haven’t yet grown up, I haven’t narrowed down what I want. That would require strategic thinking, not to mention commitment.
All of this planning of intended thought processes was done before I left home. Once I started walking, my mind did indeed clear. To nothingness. Well, that’s a start, is it not? Not winded but a little sweaty, I got to the Overlook in Forest Park. People played in every court, on every green, rode bicycles, walked arm in arm. Damp or not, it’s spring in New York, and we’re out in force in our parks. What is not out in force is the public bathroom. All doors barred. I determine to write an annoyed email to whomever is in charge of such matters once I circle back and stop in Starbucks to plan my future on paper.
But first I wandered through a well-to-do neighborhood, so my circle back to Starbucks was rather more elliptical, and when I arrived, all the indoor seats were taken. It’s spring, however, so the outdoor tables are in place. I got my soy chai latte, commandeered a metal table and chair, and angled myself so I could see my computer screen despite the weak sunshine.
And what did I do? Did I open up the document I had created with a list of companies to be researched? That would have been somewhat strategic. Alas, no. I went straight to the document with my notes on the new article I’m writing, and spent a few hours researching, taking notes, making tables…. Tactically valid. Strategically not.
Mind you, none of this entered my mind until I started the downhill trek home through the gathering dark. Pleased with the research (a bit more than was strictly necessary, but two articles back I was on my second revision before I realized I’d missed some important information by not asking one more question. Write and learn.), I knew I could write a quick first draft in the morning, and move onto other work. More tactical thinking.
So. Another weekend has passed since an old friend told me at my goddaughter’s wedding that I just had to grow up. Don’t be mad at him. Friends are supposed to tell friends the truth. This doesn’t mean I won’t catch a $7 movie on Tuesday and write about it! Tonight, though, if I think real hard about growing up in the 21st century, maybe in my dreams I’ll creatively visualize a grown-up, taller, thinner, smarter me in a new job. Instead of having my usual strange dreams about the old one….
~ Molly Matera, determined to turn off the computer and research inside my own mind.