When I looked toward this summer back in the spring- looking forward to a summer of not working, not scheduling, not having anything that absolutely had to be done except eating and wearing sunscreen – I saw an expanse of potential. Potential reading, writing, playing with the kids. Most importantly, potential for figuring out what I’m going to be when I grow up. My 40’s-ish lane mate on the Master’s swim team laughed when I told her that one and said, “Yeah, good luck with that.” She’s still working on that, too.
So here I am, with these carefree days laid out in front of me, each day a new adventure in no-plans, and rather than feeling free to glide on the wind, my mind is a-flutter, like a butterfly beating its wings against the walls of a butterfly-catcher’s net. Apparently, I don’t do well with no-plans.
I’m restless. My mind is restless. I’m all over the place, thinking about nutrition (and a possible career as a nutrition counselor), exercise (and a possible career as a personal trainer), personality types (and a possible career as a career counselor), my work with Team In Training (and a possible career as a recruiter for VA Tech), print and online media (and a possible career in communications). I’m reading (and thinking about a possible career as a writer, an editor, an English professor). I’m reading about reading. I’m reading about writing. I’m jumping from one thing to another and then saying, “The hell with it!” and taking the kids to the pool.
I keep reminding myself of the StrengthsFinder assessment I took, and the epiphany I had when I took it: the qualities I usually beat myself up about (because I do them incessantly) are actually my biggest strengths. It turns out that I do them incessantly because they come naturally to me. Because I do them without realizing I’m doing them, then catch myself after I’ve been consumed with them for hours on end. Like devouring information. And thinking. And while I recognize that my flitting poses a problem to committing to a career path, I have learned to embrace flitting as one of my strengths as well (especially when it is called adaptability), and that it can serve beautifully in a role that is dynamic and incorporates newness and variety.
So though I’m restless, and my mind is banging its wings against its cage of not-knowing, I keep reminding myself that this is part of my process. And that’s okay. I devour. I think. I fear commitment. And if I want to choose well, I should not rush the process, as much as I would like to. All the devouring, and thinking, and especially the resistance to committing, are helping me explore my choices with depth, and attention, and a healthy dose of reality.
In the meantime, I play with my kids and I (occasionally) write. And hope that at some point in this unstructured, wildly free, no-plans summer, my mind will alight on an answer.