We Do What We Must to Do What We Want
No one wants to have a journey that isn't linear. Let's just get from point A to point B, who cares about stopping to smell the flowers, or stopping because you must, backtracking, plateauing, making loops, hitting a 90-degree angle, then tap dancing through life because you can't quite get the rhythm. Where's the skip button where the work doesn't have to be done, and happiness is right at your fingertips? You hear the greats talk about success and their journeys not being a linear, well that idea is completely valid. There are starts, rapid and sharp inclines; there are loops and so on. On the journey to wherever, hell who knows where we're going, we're all winging it, we have to take comfort in the unexpected, in the unplanned in the 'I really wish I didn't have to be doing this, but here I am.'
I had that exact moment when I came in for my second day of work at my home goods department store in Champaign, Illinois. Just three weeks before ringing up entitled bored homemakers, snotty university students, and closing the store to find that there were no more large garbage bags for the bathrooms. I was in Washington D.C. writing business email templates, press releases, business summary reports that were presented to directors of government agencies, I was doing work that I loved and valued holistically. How does life put you in one place then in another in a blink of an eye?
"Why am I here" was the only thing I could think when an older white woman decided to leave her cart in the middle of the store next to the entrance for me to take back because I wouldn't give her a complimentary coupon because she 'forgot' hers at home. I was JUST somebody doing something three weeks ago and now I had customers putting cash on the counter instead of my hand. How did I get here?
Well, to be specific, I had to come back to Champaign. I am finishing my final semester of undergrad and because I am a transfer student I've exhausted my off-campus credits. To graduate, I have to meet the 60 on-campus credit requirement. I also have free housing courtesy of my parents. So although my location, job, and lifestyle aren't ideal, they are things that must be done in order to achieve my wants.
There are positives; I would have been devastated if my internship hadn't turned into a full-time job offer giving me the incentive to move to Washington D.C. in late December/early January. Five months in Champaign won't be the end of me. If I had not been offered the chance to work remotely as a contractor for the firm, I would have felt left out of the business progression. And had I not established meaningful relationships, where I speak to my friends fairly regularly, the pending move to D.C. might turn out to feel lonely in the idea of going into complete newness.
There can be positives in start-stop, loops, 90-degree angles, plateaus, hexagonal journey patterns. That doesn't mean to delude yourself; it is just a part of life. The unexpected, the unwanted, the complete opposite of what your desire might be meaningful in many different ways. I won't embrace the cliche 'a big setback is preparation for a major comeback' as life can really be unfair and misfortunes can go completely unexplained and unresolved but just know everyone's journey will not be an entirely linear progression. On your journey, whatever it might be, be it specific or general, sometimes we are positioned in doing what we must to do what we want. I hope you find solace in that.