I've never understood that old saying, the one that starts with You made your bed...but that's the phrase that keeps running through my head these days, over and over, like a soundtrack in a foreign language: You made your bed--now lie in it.
What I have made, truly, is a big old mess. I have somehow landed myself smack in the middle of an episode of The Office, except that my new boss is both competent and productive. So what's the problem?
Where shall I begin?
The flourescent lights, for one. They make my head hurt. The eerie, buzzing quiet. The recycled air on the 6th floor of a Metairie high-rise. The parking garage. The quota. The fact that, despite the fairly frank conditions I set forth in the interview, I am expected to stay until 5 p.m. or later every single day. This last one alone is enough evidence of my dilemma.
And so I find myself in an awkward position. I love the work, I love my clients (appropriately), I really love being a clinical social worker. But this is bad, so bad, and I don't know how to extricate myself. I have spent the last 3 weeks in a state of near-perpetual agony, wondering what in the hell I was thinking, why did I do it, how can I get it back, why am I crying again, am I really going to do this in front of the gas station attendant? Again?
It's funny: when a big crisis hits, I'm cool as a cucumber (see Hurricane Katrina, 2005). But when faced with a crisis of personal meaning, I'm all over the place. I'm a total mess.
I've found that in times like these I start to notice everything--I become hyper-alert, my senses primed for incoming stimuli. Maybe it's that survival instinct kicking in, searching for new information to counteract the old. Whatever the reason, I happened to be sitting in an office the other day, trying not to cry, when I noticed a small scrap of paper in a frame on the wall. The paper contained a quote attributed to Helen Keller:
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
Leave it to someone with real problems to make mine seem pretty inconsequential.