Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The curse of too many options

I sat beside Mel in the car, driving home from the Bollywood movie, thoughts parading their way through my brain. It seemed as though the thoughts were superficial and fleeting, quickly leading to the next thought, and the next, until the train of connection was entirely forgotten, broken. Like rocketships, they shot into the sky of my mind, speedily heading towards space, leaving the atmosphere immediately.

Suddenly, a revelation of why I have been in a funk all day today: tomorrow I am going to meet with my old boss to discuss being reemployed by Liberty Mutual in exactly my old position. I never thought this would happen - my old position is a highly coveted one that rarely becomes available. I instead thought I’d be working in an office, doing a new type of work for the same old company, fighting new battles instead of old. This was exhilarating at first - the job comes with great pay, compensation for the gas I spend or a company car, the freedom of my own schedule, and working from home - however, it quickly turned into a concern that I wasn’t able to vocalize, dread and emotions that I didn’t then realize were related to this circumstance.

I feel trapped.

Acceptance of this job is akin to running on a parallel line to my Orlando past, and it looks so similar that I am frightened of returning to that person I was as well. It was my biggest fear in leaving Australia - that all of the lessons I’ve learned would be forgotten, the battles and enemies reengaged, and the insecurities I kicked out would resurface.

And so,

I sit, hearing many talk of leaving Orlando these days, and I already see the shadows, ghosts of those who made their way beyond the horizon before my own return. And as each one plans his or her escape, I find myself volunteering to go with that person. My heart is looking for that escape, that adventure, the thrill of departure. Vegas, San Francisco, Italy, India, heck, even LA, and I’m sucked into a mental withdrawal of sorts.

I don’t like commitment these days, after living such a carefree life. But much of life requires just that: inescapable commitment. I don’t remember ever fearing such attachments before, but lately the idea of escapism can truly overwhelm me.

I came back to Orlando for a very specific reason, to be with very specific people, and to fulfill very specific purposes. I am incredibly happy to see old friends and be loved and love people back and rejoin a community that I love dearly, which loves me in return. But there are minutes, hours, and even whole days that it feels like a constant sacrifice, a consistent selflessness, a reoccurring focus onto God’s purpose for my life at this specific point in time. It’s not the time that I spend with people - that is the easy, beautiful, blessed part - but instead the surroundings, and sometimes, the American way.

"Turn from ourselves, look beyond/There is so much more than this.”

These lyrics from Tear Down the Walls reverberated throughout the car, throughout my head as I reminded myself to focus on anyone else. Selflessness usually results in a better understanding of the world, and sometimes even yourself.

I want to be here. I want to want to love commitment. I want to wholly give my heart and my mind to my current life, my PRESENT. I pray for that desire frequently.

But often, running away seems far simpler.

I am convinced that it is a curse of too many options.

Eph 1:11-12:
It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I woke up this morning and I had 3 emails that each contained a little slice of heaven. I laughed over comments on pictures and according to Mel, it was like we took happy pills. I wish every one of you woke up on Monday as happy as I did today.

I arrived back in the States roughly 10 days ago, and there are times that I’ve had difficulty adjusting. Those difficulties tend to revolve around the extremely opposite mindsets of Australia and America. I’ve grown to cherish the Aussie mindset, so mind you, being back in this rushing, busy, competitive society has effectively rattled my mind.

But I find that these frustrations and limitations have taken a backseat to the utter pleasure I have found in the people for which I returned to this city. Some of those people left this city during my absence, and others left long before my departure. I haven’t seen everyone that I want to see by any means yet, but I have absolutely been lavished with the brilliance of my friends’ company.

And so, life is good.

Here are a few things I’ve learned or remembered about the States or myself or random things in the past 10 days:

Everything is bigger in the States. Everyone says it, everyone laughs at it, but it’s true. Macca’s small in Australia is the size of a kiddie drink in America and the large is equivalent to the States Medium. There is no such thing as a 32 oz drink in Australia - it might as well be labeled a bucket.
American internet is freaking fast! And unlimited!
We waste a ton of condiments. Only Macca’s gives you free ketchup in Australia, and even then it’s like trying to pry a steak from a Pitt Bull’s mouth to get more than 2.
America has the best shopping, hands down. Cheap, trendy clothing or high quality expensive clothing. Options, options, options! I struggle with hating infinite options in many categories (see: career path), but too many stores is not one of them.
Walmart, Target, and Payless are actually CHEAP.
$2.50 movie theatres exist. And they are the bomb! Even normal movies, at $10, seem cheap.
Zoolander is my favorite Ben Stiller movie.
People respond positively to politeness laden with happiness and laced with genuine interest in what they have to say. Obviously. I love it. This is true in America AND Australia.
Leslie can go an entire day at work without turning left. She is not always an ambi-turner.
Random calls from Hillsong on a phone number I got 24 hours before (meaning that they had to work to get my digits) make my day!
Jet lag from Fiji is horrific. I think I finally adjusted in the last 3 days or so. Maybe part of it is not getting enough sleep in general. Heh.
Nashville is in the central time zone. If you tell your Nashville friends that you are leaving at 9:30am, they assume central time, even if you meant eastern. And none of you think about it until you’re 70 miles south of Chattanooga and they are 200 miles north.
Going through boxes you packed 4 months ago is a bit like Christmas. Old clothes become new!
Shiatsu massage by Sonny is the best. Better than Swedish or Deep Tissue. For reals.
DO NOT drive down the left side of a street. And if you do, in the middle of downtown Orlando on a Friday night, be certain that your best friend is NOT following you. Else you might both get a ticket/die. And remind Mel frequently that Orange Ave is a one way street heading south. Thank God for frantically waving pedestrians who care.
Top Gun rocks.
Gary owns Gigli. Wait, I think he sold it. Point is, he paid for it.
Pizza + Red Wine + Kate’s Porch + Awesome people = best Sunday night back in America yet.
God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You won’t find it lying around on the surface. 1Cor2:7
If you’re away from Status for 5 months, you won’t recognize people before the service. It’s because everyone you know knows that nobody shows up early. Right on time, or late. We should change this!
Chickfila is just as good, just as tasty, and just as unhealthy as I remembered. My arch nemesis.
Myers Briggs and superhero talk are bound to resurface at least once on Kate’s porch.
Apparently, I never get to survive a movie on my own. This is crap. “I’m not jealous.”
The Lodge has an 80s night. And nobody but us dances. Apparently, I am a fake-80s fan.
The Greek Corner is delish. Now, they just need hummus.
Vintage sales by Kate + Dana + Jamie + etc. I don’t even need to add an adjective to this sentence; it stands alone.
I’m on the search for a quality cappy in the States. So far, no good. Starbucks and Seattle’s best taste a bit burnt. Who knows of a good mom & pop coffee shop?

Mel’s dad told me, the day that we flew back into Orlando, that these blogs are kind of like Seinfeld - writing about things that are utterly pointless to everyone not involved. The sad thing is that his tone indicated that it was no where as entertaining as Seinfeld.

About Me

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I live amongst the dragons and the warriors of the 21st century. I surround myself with both the peasants, the aristocrats; the knights and the maidens. For a long time (now quite in the past), I wove the structure of my life around the mold others saw for me. I've since learned to live for God and myself. Freedom comes and goes as I remember this lesson of mine. But my life is MY life: a series of events and remembering such. And this, this beautiful montage, is why I wake up every morning. God willing.