Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why it's not the end, just the beginning of whatever comes next

The feeling I had when I submitted my very first offer on a condo--first time as a potential home-buyer and also simultaneously as my own licensed real estate agent--was...anti-climactic. Is that it? Now what? The answer to that like the answer to so many other things in life: Now, you wait.  

***

I've started this post so many times, but I never quite wanted to make it final. So I left it gathering dust in my drafts folder, only to come back to it and realize it wasn't quite right. Things had happened in my life that would require updating in blog form, but still I never really knew. How do you know when it's the end?

Here is the original blog post that I started months ago:

Endings are always strange and a little bit sad. Stranger still when they are completely self-determined and arbitrary. This thing I've been doing? I'm not going to do it anymore. Just thought you should know. See? Strange. But it would be even stranger to say nothing at all, and so here I am. This little corner of the web has been languishing for a while, and rather than continue posting every month, then two months, the trickle slowing to a drip-drop, it seemed more graceful to conclude things formally. The tier-up-of-loose-ends in me would have it no other way.

A long time ago I wrote poetry. Every once in a while whenever the mood struck I would scribble stanzas in a notebook and feel better. My last semester of college I took a creative writing course and I cranked poems out for credit by the week. At the end of a semester equal parts creatively fulfilling and exhausting, I had a very clear thought: I think I might never write another poem again. Not because that was what I wanted, but because it was true; it was simply the way things were. And after that, true enough, I never did write another poem. It was neither a good thing nor a bad thing; at one time it had been something I needed to do, and now it no longer was. I had a very similar realization recently about this blog. It wasn't surprising; it felt a natural and right conclusion, though a year or two or three ago, I would have been shocked. For a while I thought I was going to be a lifer here, thought I would always be doing this in some form or another; chronicling all of life's milestones, keeping a virtual record. But after a long semester of blogging--six (and a half) years' worth--it feels like I have reached some sort of natural conclusion. Things have changed. Blogging is different now, and I am also different now.

Six (and a half) years ago I was living in Boston. I had recently ended things (been forced to end things) with the person I thought I would be with forever. Heart-broken is a word that is too casually thrown around to describe what I actually was, which was shell-shocked, a walking exposed nerve, and utterly lost. Looking back, I should have gone to therapy, I should have done a lot of things, but instead I started a blog. And I started dating. Then I moved to France, I dated, and I blogged about it. And I moved to Ithaca, I dated, and I blogged about it. Then I moved to DC and, well. 

In the back of my mind, I always hoped that if one day I did decide to stop blogging, that I would go out with a triumphant, look-at-me-now-world post. I hoped that I would be able to (only sort of gloatingly) say that it had all been worth it, because I had finally gotten everything I had ever wanted. But I guess that's not really the way life works, is it? In any case, I present to you my Look-At-Me-Now-World post, the Tempered Expectations Version. This is where I am now:

At my boss's request, I recently got my real estate license. At the moment it is not doing much for me, but hopefully in the near future it will allow me to start earning some fat commission checks. I know better than to count on that happening, but at best it would be nice, and at worst, there is no worst. 

Also, perhaps relatedly, I think I should point out that I do not hate my job. It may not sound like much, but this is kind of a big deal. I have come a long way since a year ago when my boss, by way of welcoming me into the fold, told me, "I hope this is the last job you'll ever have," and I nearly had a panic attack thinking about it. Because while certain men have problems committing to relationships, I have commitment-phobia about jobs. And while I certainly do not see myself entering my retirement years here--life is long, after all--hanging out here for a while no longer feels like the end of the world. 

That being said, over the last few months, in addition to studying for and taking the real estate exam, I've also been studying for and then taking the Foreign Service Exam. I went into it sort of on a whim, and with low expectations for success; the Foreign Service is notoriously difficult to get into, after all, and most people who do ultimately end up passing have taken the exam multiple times. But after months of reading up on my history and geography and memorizing Presidents and Constitutional Amendments, would you like to venture a guess as to which section I didn't earn enough points to pass? Not the multiple choice, not the history/geography/Presidents/amendments section, no. A brief pause for irony, here--the essay. I failed the motherflipping essay. Humility, thy name is blogger. Anyway, maybe I'll take it again next year. And if it doesn't work out? Like I said, it's not the end of the world.

It's not that I've become complacent; there are still so many things that I want. But no, actually, not so many things. A house and someone to share it with, that's really it. Maybe it will happen for me, one day. I hope so. I want to say that even if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world, but, well, baby steps.

Though blogging no longer fills the same space in my life it once did, I will still be around, in some form or another. You can keep up with me on Twitter, in the rare event I decide to tweet (or more likely retweet) something there. If you'd like, you can also send me a friend request on Facebook, and if I know you from the blogosphere or recognize you as a commenter, I'll add you. And you can always send me an e-mail at diaryofwhy at gmail, if you want to be old school. (Apparently people don't e-mail anymore? And when did this happen? Get off my lawn.)  

And that was it. That was where I ended, thinking I would come up with something final and profound to say later. But the profundity? It is not coming. Instead, while I was waiting for The Sign, I got this sweetest of e-mails, an excerpt of which is below:
"This might sound the teensiest bit stalkerish - but I just went through all your blog today. All the posts. 6 years worth of them. 
Well, it also sounds as if I didn't have a life - but I'm a college student during summer break. So I'm investing my 2 months of vacation doing things I love. And by things I love, I mean reading blogs :)

All I wanted to say was that I loved every post you wrote. Some made me laugh my ass off, some made me cry, and most of them made me think. I love when a blog does that. And I love how your writing has improved so much over the years."
Then a few days ago I got this e-mail, to which I still haven't replied (oh my god I am the worst).
"I am a huge fan of your blog. Please keep writing and tell us what is going on in your life.  Are you thinking of going back to try teaching? Or continuing to look for other office jobs? I enjoy your writing."
I think that profound thing I was looking for to end with is simply this: Thank you. Thank you for caring and thank you for commenting or e-mailing or just reading. Thank you.

I'm not planning on shuttering this space, and don't take me out of your feeds just yet, because there's always the chance that I'll show up here again one day with that triumphant, Look-At-Me-Now-World post after all. Who knows? Anything's possible.    

25 comments:

  1. Oh gosh. This is sad. So sad. You were the reason why I had a (very silly little) blog for a while. You really are a lovely writer, and I hope this won't be the last time I read something you've written. I'm not on Facebook, but hopefully we'll find a way to keep in touch.

    Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself these last several years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Jane/Sandra (am I allowed to say that?), I miss your blog too! The two thousand aughts were a good time for blogging, weren't they? I hope you're doing really, really well. And keep in touch!

      Delete
  2. It has been an absolute pleasure!
    I can see that blogging in general is becoming obsolete and that is a shame. It was such an enlightening era.

    I'm following you on twitter so I will what you are up to when you do post.

    All the best!

    I wish you the best in your life and you do deserve to have what you want. A house that is your own and someoen to share it with is completely within your reach!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mu. I will try to tweet as soon as I think of something clever to say. :)

      Delete
  3. Oh, I'm sad now. I'll miss reading your posts, but I hope the closing of this chapter leads you to bigger and better ones. Best of luck to you, and I'll keep checking back here.... just in case.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah. And I may be back sooner rather than later, you never know...

      Delete
  4. I'll miss your blog! I love your writing and how you write about life even when its not perfect and glowing - not many people have the cojones to do that and admit when things aren't perfect...most blogs make me feel inadequate (perfect outfits, dinners, families, friends, etc.)...yours I could actually relate to...it felt real. Thanks for at least checking in one last time. Bon courage pour ton avenir!

    ReplyDelete
  5. i found you through my brother grumpy, and have enjoyed this blog immensly! i wish you the best of luck in the future, and hope you achieve all of your dreams!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Stephanie (and Grumpy Greg, even though he didn't comment). :)

      Delete
  6. So sad! Your blog has been one of my absolute favourites ever since I found out about it. And how did I find it, you might be asking? Well, just after I moved to Paris in 2008, I went to a party where there were a lot of expat bloggers (Sarah, Sam, Juliet...) and someone mentioned your blog and how, "Oh my god, she writes so well!" I was intrigued because I love me some good writing, so I looked your blog up the next day and became a new fan.

    I'll be keeping you on my blogroll hoping that you'll stop by with an update for us every once in a while. Til then, take care of yourself, good luck with all the new adult life stuff (house, good job, etc.) and thank you for letting us into your life all these years :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is so sweet, Crystal. I only regret that I never met you back in those days when we were both ex-pats in Paris.

      I will keep following you and your Dogster writing, for sure.

      Delete
  7. Thank you for sharing your amazing writing talent with us and a glimpse into your life. I think I found you on June's BBP at the time you were teaching and have been following you ever since. As someone who had originally planned on teaching, that was a real eye opener.

    Are you the author of Resume Wrecks? If so, I want you to know that I laughed so hard reading it that it was difficult to see the words through my tears of laughter. Thank you for that.

    Wishing you all the best with your job and your future. May you find someone who is truly good to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am indeed, though I can take no credit for the unintentional hilarity found within. :)

      ("Originally planned on teaching"? I hope your change of plans wasn't all my fault...)

      Delete
    2. No, my plans to become a classroom teacher changed many years ago. As a corporate trainer, I still teach, but don't have to face the apathy of today's students.

      You can definitely take all the credit for Resume Wrecks. Your comments were the cause of my hysterical laughter! Even if you don't feel like blogging, I would be tickled to find additional wrecks.

      Delete
  8. You had a contest some years back. The prize was an iTunes gift card. Just activated it this weekend - so you have been on my mind - now I read this. The end of an era! The beginning of a new one! Best of everything to you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just now activated! Do those things never expire? I am glad it worked for you. Download something good! :)

      Delete
  9. I'm so late to this goodbye party! And i feel like we should have made it a good big one! I've adored your blog for so long and you! It was such a pleasure to meet you in DC. I'm still available for emails and skype dates. xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pleasure was mine, and again THANK YOU for your post today. :)

      Delete
  10. I hoped this day would never come...sigh...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it is truly sad that now you will never see me or hear from me again...except for when I come visit you in 3 weeks, oh right. There is that. :)

      Delete
  11. I will really and truly miss your blog -- your writing is just beautiful. Sent you a Facebook request. Still hoping to meet you somewhere in the world!

    ReplyDelete
  12. i'm just going to pretend this isn't happening.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well then may i bow and kiss your hand? Good luck Madame with all that you do... it has been a fucking pleasure... and if you're ever in my fair city please drop a line, i'll buy you a beer.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Leaving so soon?How sad..Well, at least you're leaving with a great blog. Good Luck on your new journey!

    ReplyDelete