This is not any other week. Yesterday, I wrote of the quickening moment, the moment of starting a new job. I wrote about being a quitter, about walking out on a career that, by all measures, has treated me well (ceteris paribus). And though some of you have asked "What's your new job?" or "Are you having a premature mid-life crisis?" let's not put the trailer before the truck. A word on my life before this quickening week.
For 12 years, I have been a member of a large law firm (large in Arkansas terms, in any event). I've litigated, argued, and counseled. I've won, lost, perhaps tied a time or two. I've received recognition, though I'll not go into the specifics here. I've worn tailored pinstripe suits (on occasion), imbibed expensive whiskey, and rubbed shoulders with connected people. I have lived in the privilege of upward mobility, which is not a bad thing, per se. I have walked through many an occupational hazard.
Exploring these occupational hazards, here are the things I've learned: winners and losers are often decided by less than a coin toss; any recognition is good only for a day, sometimes less; the fabric of every suit wears thin; at the bottom of every whiskey bottle there is only glass; People--rich and poor alike--all scratch the same itch of scarcity.
I've found, too, a sort of haunting. I've been cornered by a personal need to hunt the why behind the eternal, perhaps infernal itch that's baked into our DNA. (An itch for meaning? For purpose? For understanding?). I've wanted to understand the scarcity that motivates us to acquisition, to accolades, to politics, to personal wars. I've feld the need to understand what it means to live inside these structures of scarcity, hoping I might find the trapdoor leading me out.
Call me an explorer. Call me crazy. Call me whatever.
And let me be clear. All of this--the quitting--is to say nothing of the people I've worked with over the past 12 years. In fact, they represent some of the best folks the world has to offer. I've been mentored and befriended by the best litigator I've ever seen (who is a wicked good weaver of conspiracy theories to boot) and worked with one of my best friends (whom I already miss). I've worked under three ethical, excellent managers. I've been privileged, maybe even lucky.
Privileged and lucky as I may have been, though, there came a time when I noted the changing direction of the wind. And when I noted it, my feet carried me otherwheres. Who can say where the wind blows, really?
That brings us to this grand juncture, to the springboard, the platform, the jumping off place. It brings us just past the edge of yester-week's reality and into this more present unknown. What do I aim to do in the days to come? I aim to explore. How do I aim to explore? That's the provisional question.
Tomorrow, I'll tell you a little more about what I'm up to. Until then, ask yourself these two questions:
What are the things that are needling you?
Can you stay put and resolve them?
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