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.
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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