Thursday, January 27, 2011

My God, What Have I Done?

Ever since I started to tell people about my new job and move to LA, I’ve dodged one repeated question: “Are you excited?”

I’m not. I haven’t been.

Ever since I got the job, I’ve felt an enormous sense of trepidation.

It doesn’t make any sense. I should be happy. But the relief I feel about ending a two-year consulting stint and job search has been offset by the anxiety of starting a new job, with new coworkers, new employees; of waking up in a new bed, embarking on a new commute, sitting at a new desk in a new office; of finding a new apartment (again), buying a new car, and finally getting some new furniture.

All of these are good things. But I haven’t allowed myself to enjoy the newness of it all. My older self sees the newness as a threat, an act of aggression, even though I don’t want what’s being taken away from me, and I do want what’s been given to me as a gift. For the last two years I have not had a job, and I have missed working with other people; and for the last five months I have not gotten a good night’s sleep, and I have been living on bare-bones possessions.

I know myself pretty well, though. I recognize this feeling I have. I press the palms of my hands against my newly-emerged cheekbones, and I interrogate myself, “My God, what have I done? What am I getting myself into?”

I did the same thing on the drive from San Diego to Joshua Tree in June 2009.

I did the same thing on the way to JFK for my flight to Tunisia a year ago.

Both turned out to be some of the biggest landmark experiences of my life.

So I have to ignore those trepidations, those inward inquisitions that keep most people from jumping out of planes and from getting nude mud-scrubbed by a Russian woman.

I know what I have to do.

Book a flight and give myself a couple of days to find an apartment. See as many apartments as possible. Pick one.

Once I have an address, hire movers.

Once I have a move date, book my final, one-way flight to LA.

Once I have an arrival date and time, book a rental car.

Pack. Laundry. Dry cleaning. Goodwill. Pack.

Movers arrive and depart.

Pack.

Eat.

Say goodbye.

Drink.

Eat.

Don’t cry.

Finish packing.

Get to airport.

Get on plane.

Sit and wait.

And so here I am on the plane, making lists of groceries, sundries and supplies I need to put in the trunk of my rental car and drive to my new apartment. I know how to do that.

I don’t know how to buy a used car. I don’t know how to get a parking permit. I don’t know how to maintain a car. All this I must figure out in the few short days before I start my new job.

I know how to start a new job, but it’s never fun.

So one thing at a time.

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