Looking for something else, I realized this week that I haven't written a blog post in almost two months.
Two months? Really? How can that be??
Well, the last two months have been incomparably busy. I finished my internship and my last fifteen hours of classes to complete my Associate's degree. I started classes this week in my Bachelor's program. There have been several speaking engagements as a result of my GOAL award. Somewhere in there were four cats, two boys, and Rango.
And I'm still on the perpetual search for a job.
An employment recruiter asked me a few weeks ago, "What do you want to do?"
I immediately answered, "I don't know."
It's not that I don't have any idea of the direction I would like my career to go. I went to school to become a paralegal, and I have completed an excellent program of substantive training for the legal field.
But the list of what I don't want to do is much better defined. I don't want to do family law or bankruptcy law or real estate law. Those are necessary areas of the legal profession, and I have friends and family who are successful in each of those areas. They just don't seem to be the right fit for me.
This uncertainty is not the I-don't-know of my 20s, when I blew my chance at college the first time, when all I wanted was something easy and comfortable to drop into my lap and push me in a direction—while hopefully letting me veg out on the couch all day.
It's not the I-don't-know of my new-mom 30s, when "I don't know" really meant "no", when I was too polite to say what I wanted and to truly be myself, afraid of what I might lose by defying other people's expectations.
And it's not the I-don't-know of two years ago, when the daily mantra was a tear-streaked "I don't know! I don't know! I don't know!", when I was trying to find a way, any way, to survive.
Now, "I don't know" comes from exploration, from having so many options, from proof that I am good at something and worth far more than I was led to believe. Far more than I led myself to believe.
"I don't know" means I want to try everything and don't know where to start.
The other question that invariably comes during job interviews is, "Where do you want to be in five years?"
If the last five years have taught me nothing else, I know that whatever plans I make will almost assuredly be broken. Something is likely to come along and divert my path, alter my journey, and that I have to be willing and open to the possibility that can come when I expect nothing more than uncertainty.
Last night, in my first class with my new academic advisor, I was asked what my plan was for my major and for any graduate work I might want to do. Because I chose a Liberal Studies degree, I have some flexibility in the concentrations I'll pursue, based upon both what coursework I transferred in and what my plans may be going forward.
"Combined concentrations in Criminal Justice and Communications," I replied very pragmatically.
But then my advisor suggested that maybe there's something else, something that will better suit my intentions for myself as I continue to explore just what those intentions may be.
He asked me to be open to the possibility of me.
I still want and need direction right now. I feel rudderless, honestly, without definitive projects and contributions to make to a world outside my home.
Lately I've felt like I am drifting along my path right now, rather than actively traversing. I'm having to learn to stop my own panicked thrashing and just float, feeling the warm sun on my face and the water splashing across my cheeks as the river carries me where it needs me to be.
I don't know what's coming.
What I do know is that it will not be something I've done before. There is newness and opportunity close enough that I can feel it within reach as I approach it.
Now all I have to do is grab it and hold on. I'm almost where I'm supposed to be.