I recently shared a meme on Instagram about how some days at work I just look around and think “where are the grown-ups? Do they know I’m doing this job? And for that matter, that I dressed myself and got here on my own today?” This stage of life is weird, I think. I updated my LinkedIn profile the other day to reflect that I now have 15 years of experience in my field. FIFTEEN. How did that happen? I can remember job searching in 2010 when I left the PR agency and wanting to apply for jobs that I wasn’t yet qualified for because they asked for 10 years experience, which seemed a lifetime away.
Despite experience and age, in the last six months I find myself starting over in a lot of respects and this time of transition gives me all the feels – of gratitude and reflection and clarity and loss and gain. I’ve changed jobs, left a marriage, had a major surgery that decided for me I’ll never have children, sold a “forever home” and moved into a city apartment. Started a relationship.
This week is probably the most still I’ve been in months – aside from being laid up after the surgery, which doesn’t count, because it was forced. I’ve come home from work every night to my apartment (which is a haven – I adore it) and have done whatever the hell I wanted to do. After weeks of busyness and travel and company, I’ve just…unwound. I’ve worked out every night (praise be! After surgery). I’ve done laundry. I’ve made easy dinners. I’ve taken a bath every night. I’ve read. I’ve binged Stranger Things. It’s been so good. Yet tonight I needed to not be here – a person can only take so much stillness. So I left my apartment to be around people, I think. Fiona only talks back sometimes.
I went to dinner at a place that I love but don’t venture to often because it’s a bit of a drive. I sat at the bar and ordered a glass of wine in my yoga pants and hair still wet from my workout. Shortly after my food arrived these two guys in their late 20’s came in. One asked if anyone was next to me. “Nope – all you.” They sat down as my food got dropped – “that is my favorite soup…” Me too, I said. The one closest to me, the soup guy, tossed his keys on the bar and his AA 6 month chip was facing me. “Good for you,” I said nodding at it. “Nah,” he said. “I give it back tomorrow at my meeting. Relapsed last night.” “Why are you in this bar today, then?” I asked. “That was 24 hours ago. There are meetings today. Sorry to be direct, but…” “Hi…I’m his sponsor. It’s OK. He called,” said the guy on the other side of him.
The three of us talked through dinner – his sponsor was in the midst of a nasty divorce. We talked about loss and solidarity and relationships and vices and feeling the feels and sitting in the quiet and the stillness and being OK with that. And moving on. And we talked about clarity and how when you’re looking up and not in that Jesus shows you things that you may not have otherwise seen. “Woke” – he called it. Yes, I said – woke, as the kids say.
A dinner with two strangers (and the bartender occasionally chiming in) was just what Jesus knew I needed tonight. That and that dang Tom Kha soup with chicken.
We rush to know the end of the story. It’s a byproduct of our conditioning and this world and it is so damn hard to sit in the stillness. We have to intentionally be still. And it is hard, y’all – to “be still and know…”
So yeah – where the grown-ups at? Oh God…what if I am one?