When I drive with one of my new colleagues up to New Paltz for a meeting, I notice that the trees have begun their winter preparations. The change in colors touches down here and there, barely perceptible, nonetheless inevitable.
Change is upon me, and my mind dances a gawky jig, attempting accommodation. In the span of two months I have made a huge employment change, and have paused my dancing while C pursues a new career.
At the same time, I feel for the first time like I have built an actual career. I am surrounded by love, and I have the opportunity to seek happiness in my own ways.
My new job is my dream job — I am tasked with helping to implement innovations in conservation, to improve how a big conservation organization runs by pulling on all my past experiences. I'm spending time now just meeting people, trying to understand the work, and will be traveling all around New York State in the coming months to see the projects firsthand. More than one of my professors and mentors have said to me, "This is the kind of role I always envisioned you in." There are many big challenges ahead, and I am excited to be facing them. I am so incredibly grateful to Detectica for all of the opportunity I had there to be a manager, to help so many hard-working and intelligent people to achieve at the highest levels, to make mistakes and learn from them. I only regret that I didn't learn faster, and that I could not work both jobs at once.
I keep thinking that maybe maturity is letting go of what I used to be in order to accept what I am becoming. The goddess of cleaning, Marie Kondo, wrote, "The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past." I'm a hoarder by nature, and I hate to close doors on "what if", and so for this reason, it has been especially difficult for me to step away from the CEO I could have been, and look forward to the person I will become at the Nature Conservancy.
Last weekend I had the all-encompassing joy of watching my best friend from childhood marry the love of her life. It was my deep honor to also be able to speak at their wedding; I spent weeks preparing my words and in the end that was the greatest gift I could have given them..and also the greatest gift they could have given me. Sometimes I try to explain how a friendship that begins in childhood is uniquely special; no matter how much we change, Bonnie and I are connected through that deep and lasting bond of having formed our sense of self together.
Dancing, however, was perhaps just a means to the end. A way for me to find the person I am supposed to grow old next to. It's funny to look at it that way. Since C decided on his new career, we knew we would have to take a break from dancing, and as soon as I knew that I stopped wanting to go to the studio. "What's the point?" I would say. When I burned out from work some months ago, I burned out on everything, including dance. I'm now four months into the break, and I am only just beginning to feel the stirrings of interest again. I know that I am incomplete without dance, and that stepping onto the floor to dance is like stepping into a warm sunlight after months of winter.
A good friend asked me some time ago, "what are your goals?" I didn't really know how to answer then. Then I visited the Roerich Museum, dedicated to the artwork of a man who described his work as being, "in pursuit of lofty ideals." So perhaps, in the short term anyway, my goal is to spend time working toward lofty ideals, whether that be conservation, love, art, learning, community-building, family relationships, friendships. I hope that in two months time, I will have retained this sensation of utter gratitude, and will have returned to some semblance of grace.