Note: +100 points if you get the reference — it seemed fitting for this post…
Back when I was in elementary or middle school, we spent a part of the day assembled in the gymnasium for a Karate demonstration. Looking back, it was actually a pretty cool thing to see — there was a lecture, some sparring, and a demonstration on how to break a board in half Karate-style. I remember being in confused awe as the guy broke a board with his hands and his feet, and there were loud gasps and applause when he succeeded in splintering the wood with his head.
Banging my head against a wood board is kind of how I feel right now. Only, I’m not breaking through it. There are so many ways you can analyze that, too: maybe I don’t have enough practice, maybe I don’t have the skill, maybe I’m not applying pressure in the right place, to the weak part of the board…Whatever the reason, there’s still the same outcome: I’m not getting through, and I’m only getting a headache.
I bring this analogy up (trust me, I’ve got a million of ’em) because I’m taking a martial arts class (which is as awesome as it sounds, believe me) and so it seems relative. In this class they teach discipline, commitment, and confidence — values that I’m hoping to reinstill; the latter, especially. But as it is, at this moment, I feel like I’m getting nowhere, coupled with this growing desperation that I have to do something. I need to feel like I’m on the right path, like I’m getting somewhere; even if it means I’ll be winding up with only a mild crack in the wood to start with, at least it would show I’m making progress.
My roommate and I had a long talk the other night about where we’re headed. Although her roadblocks are a bit different, she’s in the same general situation as I am. Our lease is up in October, which means we need to figure out what we’re doing by August…Which means I need to figure out what I’m doing by August. And that is far too soon for my liking.
Because I have no idea.
I haven’t the slightest clue what I’m going to be doing or where I’m headed — I just know that I need to make a change and, for better or for worse, because of outside influences and for my own sanity, that change has to happen soon. To summarize: I need to move.
I love Lancaster, I really do, but I feel like I need to leave for awhile, to see if I can succeed elsewhere. When I say that there’s nothing for me here anymore, I mean it. Because what I want right now is a career, and as it is, my options in this town are very, very limited. I want it to be perfectly understood that I wouldn’t trade anything about my childhood for the world. I’m grateful that I’ve grown up here, and I will in all likelihood return to permanently reside here one day. But that was then, and as difficult as it is, as much as I loathe admitting it, I need to grow up, take a chance, and move on.
So where do I go and how do I do it? Those are the big questions that I just can’t seem to find an answer to. I have my family and friends’ support and encouragement, which is more of a comfort to me than anyone can ever realize, but still I feel stuck and confused as hell. It’s that damned double-edged sword again: you can’t really move somewhere unless you have a job lined up; but how do you get a job unless you’re in that location in the first place? Despite your willingness to relocate anywhere, at your own expense, might I add, what employer is really going to take a chance on you, when so many other candidates have the same credentials and are closer in proximity?
Moving blindly isn’t much of an option for me, especially as I’m basically living paycheck by paycheck as it is. Where is it that I even want to go? I know that I need to be near a city, but which one suits me best? And what do I even want to be doing? I know I want to do something in my field, with writing, and I know that I want a career in book publishing, but is that really reasonable or feasible anymore?
Every answer I come up with brings about even more questions.
I think I’m hoping that something will come my way and suddenly that will be the answer to all of these problems, but life has a way of being subtle, of teaching you lessons. Things aren’t handed to you; there’s a reason why they are called dreams. I know that soon I’ll be taking a huge leap of faith, and part of me is ready for that.
The other part of me is grateful that I’ll always be able to come home.
I’ll keep persisting and hoping, because that’s what I do, despite my anxiety and doubt. Someday soon I’ll break through that seemingly impenetrable force that’s holding me back, splintering the wood and getting one step closer to my dream, whatever that may be.
I just wish I had my own Mr. Miyagi to show me how to do it.
(And maybe teach me the Crane kick to boot.)