Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Contentment....apparently it does exist.


Some of you may remember, if you've read this blog for some time, that the tone of my writing has changed dramatically. Most of the shift comes from various life changes and attitude adjustments that have occured over the last 2+ years.

I distinctly remember, when I started graduate school and this blog was still a smart-assy snarkfest of cynicism and blackhearted schlock, I commented about always feeling the need to reach for something. That is to say, I've always been happier when I'm neck deep in the pursuit of some lofty goal--a degree, for instance.

When I graduated with my B.A. in 2003, even though I had a boatload of things to feel good about, I didn't feel good at all. I felt like I'd lost my job. In a very real way, I felt very lost myself. My grandparents passed away only months before I graduated, I moved a very long way from my hometown and my family, and I started teaching. And, above all, I didn't have a very good attitude about anything. I fell into a very deep depression for a very long time, and instead of trying to fix it, I think I wallowed in it, and it wounded my life and my relationships.

I realized I couldn't blame my funk on anyone but myself when I moved back to Texas from North Carolina in late 2004 and I was still depressed. Beginning my M.A. in the fall of 2005 was a welcome distraction, and it made me feel good about myself. It made me feel smart and driven and motivated, and I met a slew of like-minded people whom I love dearly and will always count among my greatest friends and allies.

Now, almost exactly four years after I graduated from college the first time and moved to North Carolina for the first time, I'm in the same position, but things are dramatically different. I am, maybe for the first time in my life, quite content. Even though I've graduated from college once again, and I have no impending degree on the horizon, I'm fine with it. I've come to a place in my life where I realize that I can't measure my success or my worth by how many degrees I collect or books on my shelf or pennies in my bank account. I measure my worth by how I feel about myself and about my life.

I enjoy being out of my mother's house but still talking to her on the phone every day. I enjoy living with B. and being in love. I enjoy spending time with his family. I enjoy writing and reading and editing Estella's Revenge. I enjoy cooking and cleaning and being at home. And, of course, I look forward to teaching again in the fall. In short, there's nothing I would change.

For once, I'm not desperately reaching for anything to make me feel complete and "finished."

Edit: And since it's such a happy day, I'd like to report the latest good news. The community college called this afternoon, and they've offered me another course for the fall. Now I'll be teaching two Developmental Reading classes along with a Freshman Composition course. Should be fun!

22 comments:

  1. I have noticed the changes in you the last year or so. And I must say, it looks good on you! I've done my share of worrying about you since I've met you, having been "around" during those dark days, I count you among one of my dearest friends, and have prayed for the contentment you now have.

    Oh my Gawd, Andi has been domesticated!! And I'm so happy for you.

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  2. I've been through a similar phase in my life recently and while I want to tell you how happy I am for you and how great it must be to find that place I don't think it will convey the right amount of congratulations. So, as someone who's been there and is there I want to say: Don't it feel good?

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  3. I was only introduced to your blog not long ago but I understand that drive. I felt it for years and at times, it does still pull at me to seek out more.

    Although now, it is a little easier to put to bay. I am happy for the most part and the things that don't make me feel over the moon (my job, for instance) can be changed or shifted. I can take a holiday to curb the need or desire to escape everyday doldrums.

    It shows that you feel proud of your accomplishments (well deserved) and are in a wonderful place in your life. Sometimes it is easy to forget to revel in life's quieter moments.

    All the best to you and keep up your wonderful blog and pursuits!

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  4. Good for you! And good for us...it has been an honor and enjoyment reading your blog. And your 'zine.

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  5. Ah, wise words. Experience is a lovely thing, i'n it?

    The funny thing, though, is that you're not giving up on reaching for things... love takes work, the zine takes work, you want to improve, be better at it. But it's more daily, and you don't get graded for it in the end.

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  6. Thanks, Heatherooooo!!! I count you among my dearest friends as well, and now I'm all teary! Thanks for your kind words.

    Nik, it does indeedy!!! I lurv it!

    Thanks so much, Christine! And I'm happy to have you as a reader.

    Thanks so much, LK! I feel the same about your blog. Loove it!

    Melissa, I think that's the real key. The work I enjoy now is really dictated by me, I give myself the grade, etc. It's a more introspective, internal happiness as opposed to turning outward and being graded.

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  7. That's great... good for you! :)

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  8. Good for you. It takes some of us a lot more years to get to that place.

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  9. I have only started reading in the past couple months but I've been inspired and influenced.

    After all, life is a celebration. I'm happy for ya and am looking forward to more on the blog. :)

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  10. Congrats on the job front! And although you left us and I miss you terribly, I am very happy that you are happy.
    On another note, I think you will be so proud of me, I am getting into the Graphic Narrative kick, or should I say I have been reading critical work on GN. I foresee my picking your brain on said subject in the very near future.
    Anyway, I hope the good stuff in your life continues. TTFN

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  11. I'm so happy for you Andi! :)

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  12. What a wonderful post to share with us. I'm also happy for you. You strike me as an intelligent, kind and generous person and your sense of humour is fabulous. Come to Toronto and hang out with me! hehe

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  13. I'm glad you've achieved contentment, Andi.

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  14. Yay for happy days. Congrats on getting the other course! So awesome.

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  15. well this is awesome news.

    Isn't being in love the best??? :) Gross!

    I have been reading your blog for years now and it has been interesting to watch you go though a lot of the phases you mentioned, but I am super happy that you are where you are and are loving it!

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  16. Wow Andi - this is such an amazing post. I am so proud of you and the positive path your life has taken. It's been nice to watch it unfold on your blog, even though I haven't been along for the earlier part of the ride. Keep up the good work and keep smiling. It feels good some times!

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  17. What a cool post. I've noticed you've mellowed in recent months and I'm happy for you.

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  18. it is very nice to know that for the last while things have been going pretty darn well for you. i've been happy for you, still am :)

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  19. What a lovely post. I have to say I have been wondering who B. is! Now I know! The early to mid-twenties, well, quite frankly, they are just not that great, even though they are purported to be. I am so happy to "hear" the happiness in your writing, and I can say things only get better at 30. Loved this!

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  20. Congratulations on the appointment. Maybe this will turn into a steady gig.

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  21. Turn and face the strain, ch-ch-ch-changes. Or even the no strain.

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  22. Contentment is a wonderful feeling, isn't it? I'm so happy for you. You've had a lot of ups and downs since I first met you and I'm so glad you're feeling comfortable with your life.

    And good for you that you call your mom every day!!

    Off to try to read at least ONE page since it's been 4 days since I last picked up a book. Vacations, you know? ;) Check out the blog if you want to see some pics of the Pacific Northwest.

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