Sunday, May 19, 2013

on eating humble pie

When I graduated from college a few years ago, I had no idea where I was going, who I was or what I was doing with my life.

Just days before I pulled on my androgynous polyester robe and sat through a well-meaning commencement speech about the-economy-is-terrible-right-now and good-luck-out-there-new-graduates, I still didn't know if I was going to stay where I was (Utah) or head back to my roots (Arizona). But since I had no local job prospects when my apartment lease ended along with the semester, I put my entire life in my CR-V and drove south.

And then I spent two months eating cereal on my parents' couch.

I launched a daily routine: hunt for any-and-all jobs on my laptop, eat free food, attempt to make friends in a social hometown I barely recognized anymore, and watch four seasons of Lost on DVD. My job hunt was widespread and without focus -- I still had no idea where I belonged or who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. But eventually a job came, and then another, and a couple more after that.

We'll skip all the in-between details, but my life has slowly but surely sorted itself out in some particularly beautiful ways.

I figured out many of the details about where I belonged and what I was doing with my life and who I wanted to be, and I moved a couple cities over and started doing those things and being that person. And life has been good. Stickier at some points than others, but good. Some significant growing pains for sure, but always ultimately panning out to goodness.

Recently, my little life kind of got turned on its head.

But not all at once. It was more like a cartwheel that started out with a little leaning and then a little more leaning and suddenly the trees were upside-down, my feet were in the sky, and my fingers were buried in the grass trying to grip some semblance of stability. (The worst part is, I'm wicked allergic to grass.) (That part's not a metaphor. It makes me itch something fierce.)

Long stories short: my previously stable employment is on its last legs, I'm not exactly sure where I belong anymore, and my condo lease is ending in 13 days with no option to renew.

So in two weeks, I'm moving back in with my parents.

I truly don't mind the idea of living with my parents. Momsie and Papanwa are the good kind of people. But I can't help feeling a little bit like it's a step back that I'm going to be sitting on their couch in a couple weeks, eating cereal and watching who-knows-what on DVD or Netflix. (Any suggestions?)

Last year I dated a guy who lived with his parents and younger siblings. And it bothered me. I tried to pretend I was able to look past it at the time, but I think it always festered. Part of it was the lack of privacy when I went over to his place, part of it was my uppity thinking that you-should-have-life-more-figured-out-by-the-time-you're-25, part of it was...well, we broke up eventually. I sat on my bed the other night pondering my current state of affairs, and somewhere between the rambling journal entry in my lap and the angry little hot tears leaking out of my eyes, I became fully aware of the thick slice of compelled humility lodged uncomfortably in that awkward place between my throat and my esophagus. I'm moving in with my parents, and my position is being eliminated at work. And try as I might, I still can't figure out how all my best intentions and hard work and plans and proactivity managed to land me in this place. And I thought back to that relationship from last year and some particular attitudes and beliefs I held at the time, my chin dropped a bit lower and I felt like a royal idiot. The irony was almost laughable. Here I am, and humble pie, indeed.

But here's what I know: it all works out.

I think I vaguely knew this truth when I went through the "what am I doing with my life" phase right after college, but now I know it in a tried-and-tested-been-to-the-cliff's-edge-and-found-a-saftey-net-at-the-last-possible-moment-as-my-toes-touched-thin-air kind of way. I also know myself about 110% better than I did during my last cereal-and-DVDs phase. Truth be told, I am not worried. Sometimes I feel stressed and/or emotional, depending on the day, but I do have an abiding core of faith that reassures me that the right things are going to pan out at exactly the right time. And it's comforting to confront the truth that, even as so many things I build my daily identity around -- my home, my work, my beloved Scottsdale that will always-and-always own a very large piece of my heart -- are slipping out of my hands, that I am not losing my identity at all. I am more than where I live or where I work. And that means that, regardless of external circumstances, I really am going to always be OK. More than OK.

And maybe some understanding and humble pie is exactly the taste I needed in my mouth right now. Just to keep my feet (or my wobbly cartwheel hands) on the ground.


karajean said...

This post is perhaps my favorite of yours. It is beautiful and vulnerable and so real. Good luck with this next phase of life. And oh, I'm sure you don't need this advice and I feel silly for even giving it but today I sat in on a lesson about patriarchal blessings and then I came home and read mine about 3 times and I want to read it 10 more and it just makes me feel so good. So, I don't know, if you have not done that lately maybe you should try it?

Unknown said...

I love this...probably because I've been there and it's so so hard but you have a much better perspective than I did when eating my own slice of humble pie. Good luck, dear. Can't wait to see what awesome things you do next.

And, if you haven't already figured this out, the answer to "what do I watch on Netflix over the next couple weeks?" is a) Doctor Who (because that is always the answer to that question) and b) Arrested Development (because IT'S ALMOST HERE WOO!).

Kristen said...

And also watch Call the Midwife and Parks and Rec if you haven't already.

Good luck with everything - I truly believe in your writing abilities, you are great!

Unknown said...

When I graduated college I went to institute on mondays and wednesdays (all day. because partially I thought, I'll just meet a dreamy institute boy, get swept off my feet and get married and procreate. bueno.) and on tuesdays, thursdays, and fridays I would apply for jobs until I couldn't take it anymore and then I would paint my nails. So I became really good at painting my right hand with my left hand all steady-like and I also became very well-versed in nail tutorial vlogs. And then I got a job.

So, it's like our story is kind of the same. Oh, also, I watched all of Drop Dead Diva. So, if you haven't seen that yet, it's on Netflix. Also, Jane by Design.

And more importantly, good luck. I feel like big things are coming for you because, you're a big things kind of girl. And I guess maybe big things could be all of drop dead diva and some golden grams bonding, but I kind of think something a bit cooler is in store for you. So, I hope your humble pie is just a the lukewarm appetizer before your freshly baked shepherd's pie of happily ever after. (I hope you like shepherd's pie, I chose it because it's my fave.)

Harley said...

One of my favorite posts I have ever read.

You'll figure it out. Also- the new season of arrested development premiers this week, so perhaps the timing worked out.

"True greatness...always requires regular, consistent, small, and sometimes ordinary and mundane steps over a long period of time."
--Howard W. Hunter

Myke said...

Awesome post. I was served a rather large helping of humble pie this weekend. I hope I can maintain that humility instead of having to be force-fed.

LoveYourEgo said...

omg that's tough! i also live on my own and if i were to move back to my parent's i'd also feel like it was a step back somehow....

NadiaThinks said...

1) You can do it!
2) Hooray for less bills!
3) If you want to let us know what you're looking for job-wise, I am sure a ton of us would love to see if we have any connections that are useful to you!


Emily said...

Oh Katie. Life is rough and confusing, but you're right - it all works out! But doesn't humble pie just taste awful?!

You really don't have much to worry about though - between writing for Mae and publishing children's books, you're gonna be famous!

Elizabeth Downie said...

You'll come out on top, I'm sure of it!

Tia said...

Why do they call it humble pie? Pie is supposed to taste good, not crappy. And I feel like I am always eating it somehow or another! Good luck with everything, I know you know it will all work out. It's strange how our lives evolve, and then we look back and appreciate the changes that we would have never asked for.

Also, watch Call the Midwife. First season is on Netflix. Second might be, but it is on right now. So good!

Crystalee said...

Oh, Katie, you're a gem. I'm sure you know you'll look back and realize that when this door closed, another one opened. You'll find that something is awaiting you. Something magnificent.

And it will be better than you hoped for.

Sending happy vibes from here.