Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Final Stretch

Just wanted to express my deep and heart felt relief that as of 11:59pm on July 31st, 2010, I will have to be out of my apartment, whether I like it or not. I am so tired of moving- not even really of the actual physical relocation aspect, but just of all the little details I keep having to think about and reevaluate and track to completion.
I have had many kind offers of help (some of which I may take up on Saturday morning), but I really wanted to do this moving thing by myself for the first time. Honestly, I wanted to really evaluate what it means to have to orchestrate and execute the whole things solo so that I could be more realistic with myself the next time I think about moving. I wanted to be able to say, "Really? Do you really want to go through that hassle again?" and understand what "that hassle" fully entails.
Boy, do I understand now. There are so many things to take care of- but I have also been really blessed through the process as I learn to better release my anxieties about the process (because so many of the anxieties are rooted in things beyond my control) and rest in confidence that this too shall pass. I'm also blessed to be moving to a free-standing, adorable house, with sweet roommates to come home to, and a significantly reduced rent burden (my savings are very excited), all of which are closer to my client site and will hopefully make my life less stressful.
I am excited to be refreshed. I'm not exactly sure when that will happen, given that I have a booked weekend for the next 3 weeks, but I have faith that it is coming. In the meantime, I will continue packing my belongings (so many of which are meaningless, BTW, as I am discovering) and dreaming of a cardboard box free existence.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Big Girl Pants Week

My manager is on vacation this week- a week where some critical meetings needed to happen and some critical projects needed to be received. I have been co-leading that part of the project with him for some time, anyways, so it was no surprise that I was expected to step up and fill his shoes for the week. I don't think I really appreciated what an opportunity this is for me. Basically, for this week, I am being expected to perform 3 levels (and thousands of dollars) above my level. I know have a new found level of respect.
Suddenly, I find myself in meetings all day. I find myself coming in earlier and leaving later. The clients and the vendors are coming to me for advice and my opinion- I am the decision maker.
Those of you who know me will not be surprised to see me in this kind of role. I am naturally, how do you say?, well, bossy. For me, it is a very organic thing to take control. I am comfortable and accustomed to be the person in charge and who others look to for wisdom and direction. I have just not been given many chances to exercise authority or really have to take a leadership role. So on top of executing my first move by myself (after completely making the decision to move by myself), you can imagine that this has been one of the more "grown up" weeks of my life.
I have handled it well- my managers have complimented me, we have made the progress we were supposed to make and then some, my relationships with the clients and vendors I work with have deepened. I have risen to the challenge.
I have also confirmed that this is not what I want to be doing for the rest of my life. There have been, and definitely still are, parts of my job that I enjoy. However, the lingering doubt of "maybe I would like this more if I was just in a more managerial or leadership role" has been removed from my mind. I do this job well and I like doing it a times. But it's just not what I was made to do. It would be like seeing a glamorous silent filmstar, like Norma Shearer or Greta Garbo, showing up the MTV movie awards. They would still look fabulous, I'm sure, but they would just be out of context, out of their element, out of the natural milieu that they were meant to be seen in. That's me in this job. It's just not the right fit.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Explanation of the Road to Come

So, as some of you may have noticed, there is a new countdown on this page, entitled, "Countdown to 365 Pages of Written Bravery." What do I mean by this somewhat esoteric title?
I think this thought process will have to broken up into multiple posts, but, as an introduction, I have known for some time now that business in general and, once I took my job, consulting specifically, is just not what God made me to do. I'm good at it- there's nothing wrong with it. It's just not what makes me feel alive or what I feel called to. This hasn't really been a secret to me. I figured out that business was not for me while I was still in school. But I still felt God calling me to take my job and to go to DC. I came here, knowing that my work situation (and therefore lifestyle) was a transitional phase, the in-between time to get me to whatever He had planned next. I just didn't know what it was going to be.
I am feeling more and more now that the time is rapidly approaching that my mind set must change from being a consultant who writes to being a writer who consults. It's kind of hard to explain, and I will try to be more articulate at an hour when I have not just stumbled out of a 8 hour car ride, but I have always written. I've always felt guilty when I've not been writing. It's a weird compulsion that I can't remember not having. But, while I would occasionally fantasize about writing the next great American novel, I never seriously thought I would try to be a professional writer.
I feel like God is taking me on this road, and frankly, it really scares me. I don't really know where we're going with this. But faith is about taking the next clear step and from where I stand, the next clear step is establishing a regular writing schedule. So...
I am embarking, as of midnight tonight, on a schedule of writing at least 1 page a day for the next year. If I do the bare minimum, I will have 365 pages by this time next year. I've called them 365 pages of written bravery because it's 365 pages of me imagining a life of living in the calling I was born with, which is intimidating and wrought with implications in every area of my life. I am taking a big breath (*inhale*) and taking the plunge. See you on the other side of the next year.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Details To Come

To a step of faith today... we'll see where it goes. Details to come, but you can find a clue on this page.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Father's Care

I was so anxious about my birthday- I think it's become an open secret, judging by some of the notes/comments I've gotten from people in my world. But as it approached, I was beginning to relax and really just trust that it was going to be okay. I was ready for the good, bad, or indifferent.
It started with the surprise cupcakes from my Bible study on Thursday. So simple, but it meant so much for me. As I got in the car, I could almost feel God squeezing my hand and saying, "Stop worrying about it, darling. I've got this." My actual birthday was a wonderful day filled with long conversations, lunch with my aunt, leisurely reading, an amazing dinner with my disciplers and sunflowers, and Toy Story 3 with friends who went out of their way to join me. Maria came up on Saturday, and we had a fun filled day of mani/pedis (Maria is a pedi-virgin no more), Borders, dinner, and sleep over. We woke up and went to my favorite coffee place for breakfast and went to a great service at TFC. Afterwards, she left, but I immediately got ready to go to a BBQ at my aunt's house. We hung out at the pool and had some of the best beef tenderloin I've ever had, courtesy of my uncle. I scurried home to get on Skype with Kayla and then Bess. I slept in late this morning, ran some errands, and met sweet Bess at my favorite pub for a shared birthday dinner. Now, as I sit here and get ready for the week, I reflect back with amazement and humble gratitude.
This weekend, people who had no obligation to me, no tie to have to be with me, came through for me. They went out of their way to make me feel special, in the big ways and the small. I have been completed taken care of. How did I get so lucky? I didn't- it's called grace.
So, to all the people who were their for me this birthday, who made me feel special and wanted, who went out of their way to come through for me on this occasion, I am so grateful. As I continue through what is a very difficult period in my emotional and spiritual life, I have learned that I am and can be hurt, but that I am not breaking- I am not broken. I was so afraid of this birthday because I thought it would be a test of whether or not I could deal with my feelings and my stuff. As it turns out, He didn't want this to be a test. He wanted to be a fortifier as I continue to slog forward through the swamp. I am heartened and renewed and ready to press forward.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Laughter In Between

Life is really pretty hilarious if you keep your eyes open and your humor close at hand. In my time working at Borders I learned 3 simple facts: people are stupid; people are dirty; people are rude. Once you've accepted these little truths, the crazy things that they do become infinitely more amusing and enjoyable to you; you become unflappable.

Three things made me giggle yesterday:
  1. In my neighborhood, the land of shirtless joggers, everyone is always trying to look their best. Yuppies in their business suits, college students in designer t-shirts, runners in brand name sweats. Even the infamous "walk of shame" on Saturday mornings tends to look like a minor event at Fashion Week. And who do I see yesterday on the drive home in this sea of smug, well-dressed hotties getting off the metro? A man- in shape and by no means unattractive- strutting up the sidewalk. In a pair of swishy, impossibly short short-shorts (think very baggy panties).Wearing an undershirt with the sleeves cut off. And a sweat band. With a fanny pack- turned around- with a pink fuzzy zipper. He sashayed right past me, with some of the sassiest swagger I have ever seen. He marched with purpose and focus across the crosswalk and into my heart. And as I saw him strut away, I admired his unself-conscious confidence. Sass on, sir.
  2. Maria informed me that she followed a man on a segway. To the segway store. We can only assume he was going to buy some kind of accessory kit to trick out his personal transportation vehicle. I hope it was some kind of rhinestone, bedazzling package. And maybe joke's on us- she did say that there's no parking around that store.
  3. My project at work is facilating the interactions between my unnamed client and an unnamed vendor. That being said, when I say "facilitate," what I mean is babysit and conjole the unnamed vendor into submission to practicality, common sense, and logic as we know it. Some of the individuals we've dealt with are clueless boarding on mentally impaired. Or they are criminal masterminds who have perfected the art of evasive manueveurs. I can never really tell. In any case, we were on a call with one such individual yesterday who was leading one of the most awkward and fruitless meetings I have ever witnessed. It started with a roll call- standard enough. "Okay, everyone is here. Let's get started." Then we sat through five minutes of silence. Every once in a while, the leader would murmur breathy commands or questions into the speaker, and through that accent, I could not determine to my satisfaction whether the person was trying to explain a process or seduce me and the rest of my coworkers into some kind of illict affair. Periodically, the line would go silent until the leader rejoined, sans explanation. Everytime anyone would speak, they would interject a "Hi, how are you?" before the person was allowed to speak. Almost every answer to a question was, "I don't know, I'll have to ask an engineer." It was, in a word, the picture of incompetence and ineptitude, all from the same individual who informed my manager that they did not appreciate his attitude when he requested a report that had been due the previous day. Amidst this conference call of incoherent and unconnected answers, we had the line on mute, so we were free to mock the leader to our heart's content. It's mean-spirited and childish, I grant you. But it is still highly entertaining and satisfying. My favorite comment was that when the vendor was staffing the project they called up the war room and said, "Quick! I need the most average people you can find! Stat! Slightly above average just won't cut it!" Ah, giggles. It's too harsh, I know. But when you are faced with people all day who reply "My favorite color is yellow" when you ask them when a report will be finished, it helps to burn off the frustration through ribaldry.*
And those are gifts that humanity gave me yesterday. They are all things that could make me sad, revolted, or frustrated, but instead, I see them for what they are- hilarious examples of how crazy and weird every single human being is.

*This little story does not in anyway represent the views of my employer, my client, or the vendor. Names have been removed to protect the innocent.