“In the middle of the journey of our life…..I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.”
– Dante Alighieri
My dearly beloved brother-in-law would be disappointed in me for not being true to the author and quoting this in his native Italian, but with sincere apologies to him and Dante, these are the words that came to mind this evening, while contemplating where I am in my life journey. (Yes, navel-gazing yet again.)
I swear I don’t understand how the most obvious truths can elude our consciousness. Actually, it’s not that the truths about my life haven’t been chasing me down this past year or two, it’s just that I never felt it quite as profoundly as I did this morning at 9:08 a.m. while sitting at my desk in front of my huge monitor, struggling with the wording of a couple introductory paragraphs on a webpage that typically snags 55,000 – 60,000 page views per month.
What hit me in the gut was: “I have been looking at, evaluating, and re-writing essentially the same words for years, while minutes of my life are whisked away, never to return, trying to make this page appeal to several different “personas” who are “prospects” for a program that promises career enhancing results for its “candidates.”
I’ve re-written it to align with “paradigm shifts” in the “branding strategy” and have been compensated well for my efforts…but I am left staring at essentially the same exact content I was when I started.
[forehead drops onto keyboard] erthjkl0987654rfghjk
I am single, healthy, and well-educated. My children are wonderfully and happily independent. I COULD GO ANYWHERE.
Sell or rent my house and do something with my furniture, books, music…leave this quaint small town with its university and historic tourist attractions and old and new money and go….
I understand that this is a ridiculous, romantic, and naive notion. Because what if, on said journey away from here, me and my fancy-free, medical-insurance-bereft self tripped over my suitcase and broke my leg?
Or what if, after a month of misinterpreting jamón for jam, I was fired from my waitress job in Spain? Or, what if…what if, and so it goes.
And so I read.
Working Identity: unconventional strategies for reinventing your career / Herminia Ibarra
Flow: the psychology of optimal experience / Mihaly Csikszentmihaly
Getting Unstuck: how dead ends become new paths / Timothy Butler
The Power of Story: rewrite your destiny in business and in life / Jim Loehr
Sitting in my comfortable chair, in the middle of the warm dark woods, with my iPad and a cup of tea.
I think it will be a little while before I find my way.