I’m back from my trip in France. After the short and disappointing visit to Bretagne (I was so sick we only made it out to the beach that one time), I went to Auvergne where our family home is, in a village in the high mountains above Le Puy en Velay. I ate cherries from our tree and non-pasteurized cheese, fresh foods prepared by mom, and slowly got my health back. Then we visited a couple of castles in the Loire valley between Orleans and Tours before my flight home.
You never know what life has in store for you. I wasn’t expecting to be sick for five weeks when I left Pasadena, or to feel so anxious about my future while I was away. From the conversations I’ve been having with friends about life choices, different paths, new careers, changing directions, going back to school, trying to “figure it out” and find what it is you really want to do, and what it is you’re really good at, it seems like a lot of us are in the same boat. Single, married, parent, just out of school, in your thirties or in your forties, with a masters or without, with a long career behind you or a string of short-term jobs, a lot of us are sharing in this confusion, and it’s not a very happy place to be right now.
“what am I going to do with my life?” seems like the scratched record soundtrack of my days, in between applications, inquiring emails, personal moments of reflection. What’s strange is that in this miasma of confusion, I’m still best placed to see clearly, better placed than career advisers, job search experts, but I still can’t find my way out of the murky waters. Deep down I know from observing other people’s lives that this confusion is temporary, but on the surface, it truly feels like it will never ease, and I will forever stay far from the comfort of knowing my path and having confidence in the direction I’ve chosen.
So when I found this quote by JK Rowling (of Harry Potter fame) I felt comforted, strangely. It’s nice to know someone who has made it so successfully felt the same way I do at one point in her life. “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” That’s really interesting…
“A mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale. An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. … I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”