Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rubber Band

When I walked into the restaurant yesterday, I was one of only a handful of people NOT wearing a suit.  I was meeting an old friend for lunch and breezing through the dining room, I felt starkly out of place in my jeans and sweater.  Everywhere I looked were professionals toting their planners and dropping their business jargon, elegantly dressed and put together.  I felt incredibly uncomfortable and out of my element.  I used to be one of them.  And admittedly, I felt a tinge of jealousy recalling my old life.  The routine, the structure, the designer handbags and dry-cleaned  tailored suits.  

Settling at a table, my friend greeted me warmly also dressed nicely in a suit and polished shoes.  For the next hour we talked about life.  He asked about my work and with some hesitation, I began recounting some of the last two years, and as I told a few stories, I realized that the jealousy was melting away and I could feel my face and eyes light up talking about what I was up to, what I was building, what I'd accomplished   And there was so much ground I'd covered in two years, I would have been hard-pressed to recognize my old self.  And he started asking questions, his interest piquing - of the company I supported, the writing I was doing, and the charities I was connected to and their work.  The precious mornings I now shared with my daughters at home instead of being stuck in a commute and the school pick-ups and volunteering that had never been a possibility with my old work schedule.  And it wasn't that my hours were any less spent working, they were just mine to manage.  Mine.  And by the end of our meal, I felt really good about my jeans and sweater, my new life, the people who surrounded me, and the choices that had brought me here.

I read a quote the other day by David Emerald (thanks for posting Johnny Waite), about creating outcomes in your life by balancing what you want, with your current situation.  He called it "Dynamic Tension."  He used the example of a rubber band between your fingers.  According to Emerald, in creating the tension that exists between the two, you exact a force as powerful as gravity that will be the creative manifestation of the outcome you desire.  

And two years ago, where I was wasn't an easy place.  Unemployed, newly divorced, and uninspired by the prospect of finding another corporate job.  On the opposite end of that spectrum was the idea of being emotionally connected to my work, changing lives for the better, and spending more time with my growing daughters.  The chasm between the two couldn't have seemed farther.  And that tension, my rubber band, was uncomfortable.  More than that, it was terrifying.  And I had some choices to make.  


Of course, if I wanted to avoid the discomfort, the simplest answer would have been to simply break the tension.  I could have returned to the safety of where I was, find another job in my current field, forgoing what I wanted. Or, I could have attempted to overreach my current options and circumstances towards what I ideally wanted and either be severely underemployed or unemployed, with even less time for my girls and less resources for their upbringing. Snap the rubber band. 
  
But, for me, I was okay with being uncomfortable for a while, which afforded me a third option: hold the tension.  Embrace my rubber band.

This option was much more difficult, it required focus and measured steps to effectively lessen the tension step by step and at a very slow rate.  So, I held on and began the journey (and they're right, it does begin with a single step).  And no one believed in me when I launched my business and took the Spartan Race contract and began writing more, and teaching Pilates.  And it never truly upset me, I knew better.  I had a belief in myself.  And it's always been there because I've always had an awareness that of all the people in my life, I am the one person I will have to depend on, who is responsible for the outcome of what I do (or don't do). 

And as incredulous as it seems or sounds, I just won't let myself down at the end of the day, because I've chosen my life for a reason and with purpose.  Regardless of whether or not anyone else knows or fully appreciates why.  And my reasons are not arbitrary or selfish, they're not lacking vision or half-baked in their inception.  And those reasons aren't just focused on my professional life or career, I have a life to lead that extends far beyond what I'm paid to do.  Though, that too for me has taken on a noble purpose.

And it has and will continue to take time and effort, it has certainly included a great deal of sacrifice and flexibility, dare I say a lot of resourcefulness, but the time is coming when what lives between the two places of where I started and of where I want to be, is no longer a chasm of two tensions, is no longer an overextended rubber band, but an existence that is one and the same.