Try, Try Again

9 Jun

I’ve been doing a lot of two things lately: persisting and persevering.

Before I started this blog, I suffered an epic fail in January that had me a little on the depressed side for the better part of a month. I feel like I should start way before January, though.

Last May I graduated from my undergraduate studies with a degree in Creative Writing. I’ve discussed a couple times how much I love being a writer and how I never expected my degree to land me some heavenly job. I knew too well that in our current economy, there only a few degree types that (nearly) guarantee a job out of four years of university study. Sadly, careers in America are increasingly requiring a Master’s level degree. So! I graduated with the short term goal of moving in with my parents and finding a decent summer job to help pay for my wedding in October. All that happened without a hitch. Within a week of moving home and only a month after graduation, I had a decent full-time job to help my family with marriage expenses. The problem was this: I hated that job. It was the single most stressful thing I’d ever been through and while I was the only person on our team who didn’t have a mental breakdown at least once a day, I don’t think I’ve ever been miserable or more drained, even after hours. I don’t even want to get into what it was I dealt with or how the hell I survived (and some might even say conquered). What I’ll say is what I learned from the experience.

I need to be in love with a full-time career:  Even being so close to my graduation and all the practice that my classes gave me, during those few horrific months, I never, EVER wanted to write. Hating to get up in the morning made me lose every ounce of my creativity. So as I was taking my lunch break one day, alone and in the quiet with a yummy fruit salad, I started to plan a type of day job that I could truly enjoy and even love. I needed it to be something that I could do from almost anywhere because I have a goal of being a world traveler and also because of Will’s military commitment. All things considered, I decided on library science because…well, it’s pretty much everything I love and about as un-stressful or taxing as I can imagine. I probably won’t get rich from it but it can be very steady employment with a comfortable retirement.

While I was still working and wedding-planning, I started planning for school and was accepted for study at a certain university in Durham. I had to work fast after the wedding to apply for financial aid and register for classes and even though I finished all that way ahead of time, my loan didn’t come through until the week after courses started. Some of you know the story and some of you don’t, so I’m just going to sum up very quickly. The program was supposed to be able to be completed entirely online but when I registered for and started classes, I found out that was not the case. I wound up taking one course on campus for which I drove an hour at night to park off-campus in downtown Durham. I then had to walk about a mile to our building and listen for over half the class to my instructor being absolutely insane. Then my online instructors informed me that if I could not make it to campus to study at their library, I should consider withdrawing…so I did. Two weeks into classes, I was frustrated enough with the state of their instruction and concern for their students to shut down on the idea of school for that whole semester. I had to waste all these months that I could have been learning elsewhere because I picked a school that was not dedicated to its students. My bad.

When the aftermath had cleared a month later, I applied again to another school and got it. This time I will probably have to drive an hour and a half to class two or three times a week but I feel like I will definitely have a much better experience. If not, I can’t afford to try anything else right now so I’ll just have to stick it out.

I’ve applied for scholarships and recently registered for classes. I’m taking three which I’m told will be a whole lot of work. Since I’m unemployed, I’m really looking forward to that. 🙂

I think what I’m trying to say is that it’s hard to keep faith in a dream that utterly fails on your first attempt. After I graduated, I spent a long time in prayer, hoping for a divine intervention that would give me a strong clue about what to do with my life. Honestly, I still pray for that because I’m not entirely sure this is it. I know that I can be happy doing it and that it will help me do the things that I really want…but at the same time I believe God has an ideal path for everyone that we can only find by giving in to His will and being guided by faith. It’s the kind of “calling” that we all want to feel and look for and I’m not completely certain that this will be it for me.

What I do know is that there’s nothing I would rather be trying for right now and it suits the needs that I have at this point. Do we sometimes decide our own calling? I think so but I still have my eyes peeled for whatever adventure my faith demands of me. All this–all life and happiness, success and fulfillment– I think stands on our ability to plan the same thing that God has planned for us. No monk , no pastor, no rabbi, or priest can tell you how to do that exactly but they all agree that waiting around isn’t productive. The two consistently recommended actions are continuing and praying.

I like the quote that says, “the future is just the path with the lights turned on.”

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