Friday, November 5, 2010

Sanity Check

Last weekend the Boy and I went to Washington, DC to attend the Rally to Restore Sanity. I am a huge Jon Stewart fan, so as soon as he announced the event on his show I immediately booked our trip. And after six weeks of anticipation, it had finally arrived. It was a beautiful fall day in Washington, DC as hundreds of thousands of people flooded the National Mall. Aside from wishing that we had gotten there a little bit earlier to get a better view, the Rally was everything I hoped it would be. Except it was missing one key component. A call to action.

At the end of the Rally, I listened to Jon Stewart's passionate speech about politics and the media and watched as the entire crowd hung on his every word. Then he thanked us for coming, turned off the microphone and walked off of the stage. It was at that point I remembered that Jon Stewart isn't a politician. He is an entertainer and a comedian who was putting on a show. Now the show was over and it was time to go home.

That evening when the Boy and I went out to dinner I felt charged up about the entire experience. We were chatting with people at some of the local bars and watching coverage of the Rally on the news. By the next day, the excitement had worn off and I started to feel empty inside. Other than proving that Jon Stewart is awesome (which I already knew) and that 400,000 people can flow in and out of the National Mall without incident, I started to wonder what I had accomplished by going to the Rally.

Now I am back home trying to figure out what to do next. It is no secret that I have been wanting to make a change in my life. And going to the Rally has only intensified those feelings. The way I see it, if you are a single woman who wants to change your life, you have three options: quit your job, cut your hair or break up with your boyfriend. Coincidentally, this week I have had the opportunity to do all three.

1. Quit my job. If you have been following my blog you know that a few weeks ago I decided to start looking for another job. My goal was to find at least one job each week that seemed interesting and then apply for it. Well, the first day I started looking on CareerBuilder I came across a position at a large insurance plan. The main focus of the job was strategic planning, which is something that I have done in many of my previous positions. So I went ahead and sent in my resume.

This particular company is very large and bureaucratic, so I figured it would be months before I heard anything back. As it turned out, they got back to me a little sooner than I had anticipated. While the Boy and I were eating lunch in Washington, DC on Friday I got a call from the recruiter. She said that they really liked my resume and were wondering when I could come in for an interview. We scheduled something for Thursday.

I didn't spend a lot of time preparing for the interview. Mostly because I was pretty confident that my skills would be a good match for the position. And at this point in my career I am too old to be intimidated by the interview process.

So when Thursday came along, I put on my suit and headed out to meet my fate. The interview actually went really well. My potential future boss is a woman about my age who happened to get her Masters in Health Care Administration around the same time that I did. I can't say that we instantly clicked. It was more a process of sizing each other up during the one hour meeting and coming to the conclusion that there was potential for us to get along.

When I met my current Boss, the meeting was a total love fest. I walked away thinking that she was amazing and that I was going to have an incredible career at the Company. And look how that turned out. At this point a healthy sense of distrust combined with a hint of optimism seems like a much better strategy for my job seeking.

2. Cut my hair. All week I kept thinking about the hair appointment I had scheduled for this Friday. Rather than going with my normal shape and trim, I wanted to try something different. While we were at the Rally, I saw so many girls with really cute short haircuts. They looked so breezy and low maintenance, as compared with the 15 minute exercise of blowing out my shoulder length locks that I go through each morning.

I have never been daring when it comes to my hair. It has basically been in the same shoulder length bob since college. The only variation is when I get it cut closer to chin length. Sometimes I wish I could add some highlights or get drastic layers, but I am afraid that if I don't like it I will just feel a million times worse. And that is not the type of change I want in my life. Two to three inches is about as much change as I can handle.

This afternoon I went into the salon, still not sure about what I should do. I told my hairstylist that I was thinking about getting some layers cut into my hair. Then I did something that I don't normally do. I asked for his opinion. I was going to leave it up to fate. If he said 'Yes, let's cut it all off!' then that is what I was going to do. But he was obviously not feeling too adventurous because he suggested that we incorporate a few long layers and see how that worked out.

In the end, I walked out of there with the same general style that I get every time. Maybe it is a little shorter than normal. When I blow it out myself tomorrow I should be able to tell for sure. But it was certainly not the drastic change that I was contemplating all week.

3. Break up with my boyfriend. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of good things about my relationship with the Boy. But after the Rally, I started to wonder if we were becoming too complacent. The Boy is really fun to hang out with. Yet I still find that the intellectual stimulation is lacking in most of our conversations. Sometimes I wish that I was with someone who would challenge me to improve myself.

When the Boy and I are together, we talk about how much we hate our jobs and how we want to do something meaningful with our lives. But nothing ever happens. We just go out for dinner, have a few drinks, sleep in the next morning and get bagels for breakfast. The Boy has always been a welcome distraction from the frustrations in my life. I just wonder if he will be as good of a partner when things in my life are going better.

The worst thing is that the Boy and I do not travel well together. The actual vacation portion of the trip is fine, but dealing with the logistics is pretty much a nightmare. The Boy is perfectly content to go with the flow, whereas I prefer to be more proactive. The entire time we were in Washington, DC I felt like I had to take the lead. Whether it was finding the right Metro stop or making sure we were checked in for our flights.

On Sunday, we spent the morning doing some sightseeing before we headed out to catch our flight. In addition to the Rally, there was a marathon in town and I had heard some people talking about certain Metro stations being closed because of the crowds. The Boy and I ended up having a huge fight about whether we should take a taxi to the airport or just hop on the Metro and take our chances. In the end we took the Metro and ended up getting there in plenty of time. But the whole situation really stressed me out and I felt like the Boy was completely clueless.

Even though we talked it through on the plane ride home, I have been feeling a little tense ever since we got back from the trip. In fact, I haven't seen the Boy all week. We tried to connect a few times, but our schedules didn't seem to mesh. Of course, the Boy has been calling every night to check in on me. And slowly we have started to recover from the airport incident. By tomorrow I will probably start to miss him. Plus, I will be ready for a few drinks.

The thing that worries me most about the Boy isn't the present. It's the future. Right now we both have our own houses. Our own lives. I wonder how things would be different if we lived together. I cannot imagine feeling the way I did this week and having to come home to the Boy each night when all I wanted most in the world was to be left alone.

So here I am on the verge of changing my life. And somehow it always boils down to the same three choices. The Boy has managed to find his way back into my good graces. And my haircut was uneventful. So I guess this time it has to be the job.

I have a second interview on Wednesday, so wish me luck. If that doesn't work out, I can always go back to my hairdresser and tell him to take off a few more inches.

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