Saturday, March 7, 2009

Walking in Rhythm

I just completed my second week, and my first full week, in a new job writing software and stuff. It's not my first choice in terms of how I like to spend my days (i.e., it's not writing) but it brings good things into my life that I need. Historically, it has taken me a while to establish any sort of rhythm in new life situations. The first week or two I'm usually so overwhelmed that I honestly don't know what I'm doing most of the time, much less how to do it. I manage to go through some motions but I have no real rhythm, if you know what I mean. There’s new people, new working space, new equipment, new routes to the restroom, new lunch breaks, new hours, new expectations, new organizations, new interpretations…and at best, I walk with a serious hitch in my giddyup.

My simple goal during those incubatory periods is to survive – not impress, or even be productive…just survive. Well, I did it! I survived, and in the process I worked my way into a level 1 comfort zone (out of 5 or 10 of 1000). Why do major life transitions such as moving to a new town or starting a new job generate loads of gobblygook in my mental and emotional systems?

In my new situation, I’ve run into several people who have lived their entire lives within an hour of their current home. Their roots grow deep, and I can see the resulting life reflected in their eyes. They know something I don’t know. They have something deep within them that I do not. It’s like a deep subterranean stream running with cool grace. They walk in a rhythm that attracts me to them...I envy them. Strangely enough, many of them envy me. When I tell of my travels to distant lands, various living locales, unusual job experiences, scattered family members (geographically and psychologically), and life risks that I’ve taken, they look at me like I’m from another planet – Planet Brave. Not knowing whether my history reveals bravery or avoidance I usually do not comment on their observation…although at some level, I probably enjoy the awestruck responses from those who learn of my risk-friendly approach to life.

In any case, I have discovered something in the past couple of weeks: I like living within walking distance to my work and to my town. Now, I travel by foot quite a bit, and it settles my soul. Maybe it’s my way of trying to follow those substantial souls down their well worn life paths. Maybe I’m making a fresh start of traveling deep instead of long. Maybe someday, for the first time in a very long time, I’ll find myself walking in rhythm.


Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Interesting. I've been on both sides. My roots run deep in the heart of NC. My ancestors purchased their first track of land in 1763, all our generations have lived in our hometown where we grew up. You can imagine how my parents reacted when I ventured to move to another city within the same state. And now another city in the same state. But I've ventured to so many other states, and outside the country. I think a good balance of both is good. To know when a rhythm is healthy and to know when to set a new one somewhere else. Hope you get settled.

Mark Adair said...

Hi Jennifer. You make a good point - balance may very well be the best solution. In the past 7 years I have lived in at least 7 different towns located in Florida, Colorado, Oklahoma, and California...not very balanced. I guess there's a difference between the occasional journey out from the solid foundation and moving around so often that you lose any sense of home or coming back to something. Thanks for the comment.