Sunday, June 26, 2011

a much needed life/reading update!

Well folks, I know it’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog, and I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to see what I’ve read...not! But still, I feel I owe you all a bit of an explanation for my temporary hiatus. As you know, I’ve been living at home and job searching for the past month or so, using the reading just as I had intended it to be: something consistent and constant that I knew to do, even when everything around me was changing. It was actually working out just as I had hoped back in January, giving me some sort of goal and task that had existed while I was in school and still existed elsewhere. However, things really started to pick up in my job search, and within a matter of days I had three serious contenders for my immediate future! I ended up getting two fabulous offers and ended up choosing a job downtown Chicago working with the American College of Surgeons. I moved to Illinois last Monday, moved in with my generous aunts Joni and Jan in Wheaton, and started my new job on Tuesday! Needless to say, things in life have been an unpredictable whirlwind, full of new and exciting opportunities. However, as you can imagine, my weekly reading got put on the back burner for a while. 
But now that I’m getting a little more settled in my new routine, I’ve been able to read quite a bit! My commute from Wheaton to work takes about an hour and ten minutes, and since I take the train and bus I have a bunch of extra time built into my day to read. I’ve already started and finished Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay, and read this little essay put into book form entitled What now? By Ann Patchett. Now normally, I wouldn’t call this a book, but as I’ve been a bit behind, I’m willing to let my standards slide :) Anyways, the essay is actually a graduation address the author (see: Patron Saint of Liars, Bel Canto, Truth and Beauty) gave at her alma mater, Sarah Lawrence. Her address talks about her experience with the question every graduate hears time and again: what now? Here’s a little excerpt from the end of her speech, as she talks about being a waitress with a master’s degree:

“Just because things hadn’t gone the way I had planned didn’t necessarily mean they had gone wrong. It took me a long time of pulling racks of scorching hot glasses out of the dishwasher, the clouds of steam smoothing everything around me into a perfect field  of gray, to understand that writing a novel and living a life are very much the same thing. The secret is finding the balance between going out to get what you want and being open to the thing that actually winds up coming your way. What now is not just a panic-stricken question tossed out into a dark unknown. What now can also be our joy. It is a declaration of possibility, of promise, of chance. It acknowledges that our future is open, that we may well do more than anyone expected of us, that at every point in our development we are still striving to grow. There’s a time in our lives when we all crave the answers. It seems terrifying not to know what’s coming next. But there is another time, a better time, when we see our lives as a series of choices, and What now represents our excitement and our future, the very vitality of live. It’s up to you to choose a life that will keep expanding.”

I definitely resonate with her about the terrifying nature of that what now question. And even though today I have an answer to the What now? question and have in fact started along that path, it doesn’t mean that I’m done figuring life out. I love the idea of “a life that will keep expanding,” because life is something we can never predict, never plan, never believe we’ve got handled. And that’s why it’s beautiful! My life these past few weeks is Exhibit A for an expanding life: three weeks ago if you’d told me I had a job downtown Chicago and I’d be sitting right now at my aunt’s kitchen table, I wouldn’t have believed you. But that is, in fact, where I am, and it’s the beauty of an expanding life. 
Much love, everyone, have a beautiful Sunday!

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