Sunday, February 18, 2007

Night Owl

When I am worried about something, sleep is the first thing to suffer. I am so torn about this opportunity to move to New York City for a year for Chad's work. A year ago, when we lived in the condo and were faced with our landlord selling the place out from under us, I would have jumped at this year in NYC. Now, I just want to stay put and live in this house we've worked so hard to personalize. I am still recovering from the marathon summer of house work, the loss of my dad and this helpless sense of not knowing what I want to do now that I'm a grownup.

Chad is a very driven person. He has worked hard and achieved amazing success with his design career. I envy him, because as an adult, I lack direction. I have a semi-paralyzing fear of failure. When I was a kid, I was tagged as "gifted." I LOVED school! I was great at it. If someone clearly defines the expectations and sets me in the right direction, I'm golden. Every time I turned around, someone was giving me a gold star, an A+, or citing my school work as a shining example. As a born people-pleaser, receiving all that praise was similar to the kind of high that a drug user feels, and that praise was just as addictive. As an adult working at jobs, there is rarely anything like a syllabus or clearly explained expectations. Companies value self-starters, and the praise is not lavished nearly so generously as it was in school. Also as an adult, I've run into amoral business practices that don't mesh with my personal values. I've experienced harassment on the job and toxic employer relationships. In the past, I've taken jobs where I know I can succeed, then burn myself out trying to get some positive feedback, that precious praise that I crave. I know that I should find something personally fulfilling and quit seeking that external approval, but it's much easier said than done.

So I'm awake tonight (as I was last night) because, I don't want to tell Chad that I don't want to move to New York City if it means that I'll diminish his career opportunities or general happiness in any way. But I also don't want to say yes just to make him happy, or because it's what I think I should say. No doubt, moving again (after just moving into this house in June and after just completing the major house projects in mid-November) will be a HUGE deal. On top of this, I was in the midst of researching further education here in Austin -- you know, to try and have my own career someday, instead of just another dead-end job that leaves me feeling burnt-out.

This morning I got a reminder email from one of the shopping websites I like that my late dad's birthday is in 14 days. Ugh. I miss him still. Losing him so suddenly has made the grieving process kind of grueling. I've worked through all of the stages, but sometimes I get a little jolt where I suddenly remember that he died, and it just knocks me out again. Tied up in this loss are so many reflections on my own mortality and the limits of our time on this earth. It's like a one-two sucker punch that leaves me dizzy with the wind knocked out of me, but also raring to deliver my own blow. I am both exhausted and restless.

I think this lack of sleep and this very unsettled feeling is prolonging my cold. I still feel congested, wheezy, sneezy and head- achy.

Chad and I are getting on a jet Wednesday for five days in New York City. I know I'll have a more definite idea of whether or not I want to move there once I've spent a little time there again.