Saturday, May 5, 2012

Crossroad to Bliss

Today I started reading a new book entitled The Geography of Bliss. As I read the introduction, I have to say the author’s plight registered with me on a deep level. Just today, I found myself crying over how unsatisfying my life has become. For the past fifteen years, all I’ve ever wanted to do was write. I scribbled poems on the inside of my binders and notebooks, on thin white napkins from restaurants, on receipts from local establishments. I kept a cardboard box full of all this writing from middle school and high school (which I eventually leafed through and discarded when I graduated college). And now here I sit, a quasi-adult, almost twenty six years old, and I couldn’t be farther from my dream.

I wake up at 6:30 and go teach 9th graders how to construct complete sentences. I spend my afternoons assisting a soccer team (a sport I couldn’t master when I was in high school). I dream of students tying me up to the ceiling and leaving me for dead. There are whole weeks where I don’t even touch my blog because I’m too emotionally tired from work to put the effort into writing.

Lately I’ve been irritatingly following “friends” on Facebook. Of course, everyone posts the very best of their life for the public to see. One friend is always going to parties, another is bouncing a joyful baby on her knee, while yet another is planning the adventure of a lifetime. And I have my happy moments too, but lately I’ve been feeling a pang of jealousy that embarrasses me deeply, and this jealousy stems from the steps I’ve taken that have put me so far away from my childhood dream. Most days I wake up and wonder, “How the hell did I get here?”

Don’t get me wrong: I think my job is valuable, and in the past week I’ve experienced an outpouring of gratitude from a special group of students which has really given me a boost in morale. But the fact still remains that I’m not pursuing my talent with all of my heart and energy.

I feel like I’m at the crossroads of some big career decisions. I’ve either got to Vita Abundantior or get off the pot, so to speak. As I begin The Geography of Bliss, I have to wonder where exactly my bliss will take me. To a new job? A new town? That M.F.A I’ve been wanting for three years? While my destination is uncertain, one thing I know for sure is that I’m ready to begin.

Have you ever faced this problem? If so, how did you deal? Did you give up your dream or pursue it?


  1. Hi Ashley!
    I understand what you're feeling and I think in todays economy it is difficult to really pursue what you want if the path forward is not easy. I do think you should go for what really makes you happy, though, and if writing is it, then you are lucky to know that.

    I feel immensely fulfilled knowing I am pursuing my dream of being an exhibit designer. I worked my way through grad school, volunteered for countless unpaid internships, and have done my fair share of administrative work, all in an effort to reach my eventual career goals. But I will never forget the moment in grad school, after handing in a detailed and long-term project, when I had an overwhelming sense of peace and certainty that this is the path that I should be on. It is those moments that really fulfill me.

    I am definitely not where I want to be in 5, even 3 years, but I am making progress and I belive that my hard work will eventually pay off.

    I am also pursuing wedding photography--on my own, one step at a time, one mini-savings goal at a time. And just like my museum career, I believe that my hard work will eventually get me where I want to be.

    I definitely see it all as part of my lifelong path to vita abundantior.

    So go for it!

  2. Ashley I love reading your blog. It was a great reminder to vita abundantior. I was very unhappy teaching in Baltimore and when I left it was a huge sense of peace. I felt on my right path a few years ago but since moving to Maryland haven't felt like myself. Now that I am away from baltimore I have a job I Like and I an exercising more. I need to write more too. I have been doing some freelance work. Its hard with the economy being bad. But I don't mind my income being cut by 1/5 because at least I have my sanity back slowly. Good luck