Friday, May 6, 2011

And then there was Arthur

Hi, my name is Lindsey and I am a worrier. From worrying about where in the world I am supposed to take my life, to worrying about not being late to an event, it happens. I admit it. I am also fully aware that worrying doesn't help anyone. I have been aware of that fact for quite some time....and yet I persist. Before I came to DC, I knew that I would be trying something completely out of the ordinary for myself - having no plan other than coming out here to get a job. I knew I would be testing my faith....and doing it on purpose. I believe my exact words to the Lord were "Bring it on." Lesson 1: When you challenge the Lord, He will say "Challenge accepted." ;) And so here I am 4 months later...and no job. I am sure you can imagine how I feel.

The first month was all about the excitement of striking out with only faith and my footsteps to guide me. I felt good about the decision to come, and I was excited to get started. So much, in fact, that I didn't do anything else during the day from 9-5 except look for a job. I read all about companies I wanted to work with and current education issues. I met with some really great people who got me on the right track. I also met with the church employment office to get my foot in the door there.

The second month was all about learning the rules of the education policy game - who was connected to whom, where was the best place to find a job, who should I be speaking with in order to network. Networking, networking, networking. I also started my education policy blog so I could keep up with the issues and not get stale as I was looking for a job.

The third month I started getting nervous. I wondered if I had made the wrong decision and questioned my motives. I looked at my finances and knew I wouldn't be able to make it much longer without having something. The third month was all about persistence and keeping up my full time job of looking for a full time job that I wasn't going to settle for. I was not interested in working for free. I had some terrible experiences working for free before and felt that I was too qualified to do it. So, I hung on to the hope that I could do this without working for free and that someone, somewhere would value my work and qualifications enough to help me get my foot in the door. The third month was also all about the emotional roller coaster. I would be sky high one minute and then break down the next. I hereby deem month three as the Lindsey bi-polar month. My poor friends and family who had to deal with it, I am so sorry!

The fourth month has been - without a doubt- about humility. During this journey, I have tried to stay humble, or at least teachable. I thought I was doing a pretty good job at it. I started recording my blessings, so whenever I would hit the roller coaster, I could look at my list and remember how lucky I really am. But sometimes, the list didn't work and I would just break down anyway. I haven't been mad, or upset. I have been tired, and anxious.

There was a point where I couldn't sleep. I even tried praying and fasting for specific jobs...and thinking that if I had faith enough, that something would work out. The fact is, it hasn't....BUT that doesn't mean that it won't. I firmly know that things will work out. I just have to keep enduring and pushing forward and allow things to happen in their own course and time. That has always been a challenge for me. I have been one of those people who doesn't slow down enough to let things happen within the time they are meant to. I am just SO excited for the next step that it is hard for me to deal with when I arrive first, but the opportunity is running late.

This fourth month is reminding me of that very point. The reality is that if I keep working at honing my skills and keep doing what I am doing, with a little breather time, it will happen.

I took an internship at the beginning of April. I am working with the National PTA where I realized that I don't know as much as I thought I did. It has been incredible to work with some brilliant ladies who are tutoring me in ways I don't think they realize. I am also doing some substitute teaching for little ones. It is my favorite gig. I am also looking at becoming a lifeguard and start my training in June. I am sure some of you are thinking, WHAT? Yup....I have always wanted to do it. I spoke with the rec center peeps who want enroll me in training classes so I can start teaching little kids how to swim. How AWESOME is that? So, things are moving along slowly, but surely.

I still can't think about what I am going to do with the apartment in Salt Lake City, where I could live here without a steady income, how much longer my aunt and uncle have to put up with me, etc., without getting worried. So, I try not to think about it.

In the meantime, I need to keep up with my list of life's blessings so I don't freak out so much. And here it is:
  • Seeing random people dance at the metro, and not for money but just because they feel the urge.
  • Going on field trips with friends to museums and free exhibits just to get my mind off the hunt.
  • Meeting incredible people at education events and talking for hours about this issue and their passion and pursuits. It is nice to be surrounded by people who also love this work. It is infectious and makes me want to hold out all the more.
  • My church calling. I am the Munch and Mingle co-chair and get to feed 60-80 people a week. It has certainly provided some incredibly hilarious moments with my other co-chair. We often describe our relationship to that of being married. Within the first week of our union, we fought over money and rice. Once we learned communication styles, it made it that much easier to work together and now sometimes we call each other just for fun.
  • Meeting people who know where Sierra Vista is.
  • Knowing that I have family who loves and cares about me.
  • Having friends who are praying for me....and who love me even though I sometimes don't feel super stable.
  • Living with my family. My aunt, uncle and cousins have provided so much for me. I couldn't have done this without them. They have also taught me to love spicy food, vegan cooking, flowers, animals, quiet time, the arts, environmentally friendly food and items, and going to bed early.
  • Going on dates with great guys.
  • Being able to teach and be with children who say things like: "Underwear is for tooshies, not for heads," or "What do I look like, an ABC machine?"
  • And then there was Arthur who was playing incredible saxophone tunes on the steps of the American History museum. We chatted for a minute and he talked about his dreams and where he has been in his life.

    All these things make me grateful.