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Embracing the great unknown

July 29, 2011

Decisions, decisions…

On my computer I have an application for a great job. It is due today. And although it is all ready to submit, I’m not submitting it. And I’m not just procrastinating.

Last year  all I wanted was to secure a full-time ongoing position in a good team in the institution I was at. The job now on offer would have been perfect.

But that was last year.

I promised myself when my job ended and I found myself without a contract that I would make the most of my unfamiliar freedom. I would follow my nose, my heart and my gut. I would explore different opportunities. I would have faith in my own ability to find a way through even if the path I was taking was neither easy nor obvious.

Ideally, I wanted a balance in my life. I wanted fulfilling community oriented work, but also intellectual stimulation – perhaps involving Australian history or art history. Plus, ideally, I sought time to be creative. And I wanted time for friends and family too.

But who ever found a life balance which would allow all that?

It took a while, and a fair few wrong turns, but somehow that is pretty much what I’ve stumbled into. I have a casual job at a public library service, which gives me a great sense of working for the community; a part-time job cataloging a historical archive of Australian manuscripts which is fascinating, stimulating, and provides me with a reliable income each week; and (sometimes at least) time around the edges to spend on my illustration business and art. Plus I find some time along the way for friends, family, blogging, gardening, and patting and photographing random Melbournian cats.

This life won’t last forever. The cataloging project I’m working on probably has only got a few months work to go. And no doubt the recent kick in the guts to Victorian public library funding only makes my casual job more precarious. And as for making money from my illustration – well, the money trickles in pretty erratically. So who knows what may happen to me? But I’m really enjoying where I am right now. I’m grateful for having such wonderful, complementary opportunities. And I’m kind of intrigued to know what other interesting opportunities might arise when the time is right.

I’m glad I gave myself the time to give my old dream job serious consideration, and even took the time to complete the application. I’m pleased to know that if I wanted to apply I could do so in a matter of minutes. But having given myself the time and space to think it through, I’m confident that it just isn’t what I want to do right now.

I’m not ready to stop exploring the many possibilities which exist out here in the wilderness. Yes, it is scary sometimes – but kind of scary-wonderful. Opening up to the possibility of failure, ruin and disaster also opens the door to all kinds of interesting adventures and potential successes. I’m nervous, but optimistic, intrigued and inspired. The future remains enigmatic, and that is just how it should be.

This has been a tumultuous year, but a good one, and I’m enjoying the feeling of being wide-awake to possibilities. I’m a little drained by the constant changes, but I’ve finally accepted that stability is only ever an illusion – except in the case of death, of course. After years of desperately seeking stability, having let go of my need for stability, I’ve finally found my long-lost inner resilience. And as an added bonus I’ve gained a wonderful feeling of being fully alive.

Seven months ago I was forced out into the great unknown. I’ve decided I rather like it here.

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