A day that has always intrigued me. The idea of an entire day of contemplation and atonement seems amazing to me. A day where you literally ask those around you for forgiveness. I am not Jewish, but so many aspects of Judaism interest me if, for nothing else, their practicality. Like Yom Kippur. We all can do with a little forgiveness for our sins, I think. Sometimes we need forgiveness from ourselves. Often, in fact, we need forgiveness from that one person who is usually our worst critic and most unforgiving – us.
Then there is the idea of contemplation. The notion of looking hard at ourselves, not to criticize but maybe to see where it is we are, how we got here and where it is we really want to go. There are days when I am amazed that I ended up in this corner of the world. Seriously and truly amazed. Had I contemplated this move I doubt I would have made it. I lucked into it more than anything else. Almost twenty years ago I was given five thousand dollars. A gift from my grandmother. On nothing more than that I packed up and moved to Seattle. No job, no prospects for a job, and a small apartment in Bellevue.
It was a bold move. Me, the cautious girl who rarely made a rash move. The one that took a month to make a decision on pretty much anything. I would never have contemplated this move. It was impossible; nothing more than a nice dream – until the day I got into the car to make the drive. I feel lucky to still be here. I feel grateful to still be here.
Contemplation. At the moment I am contemplating my next move. What do I do next? I’m not sure, but I have a feeling it will be something else of my own creation rather than another 9-5 job. I look around at so many friends who are shrugging off that traditional work paradigm to make their own way in the world. Independent contractors, consultants, mercenaries (which is the real meaning of freelance, you know); throwing ourselves out there into the world without much in the way of a safety net. A move that you don’t want to contemplate too closely lest it stop you in your tracks. Mercenary indeed; contemplating being tied to a desk again is almost as frightening as contemplating being my own boss.
And what about atonement? What do I atone for – maybe drinking a bit too much good wine, a bit too much good beer, eating a bit too much really good food. Do I need to atone for choosing a life that has brought me so much interesting…stuff? I think of forays into the Oregon wine country, of the somewhat decadent meals I have shared with Sharon and Mitch and Craig and Carol and Beth and Geoff and I feel grateful. I think of road trips to the beach, to the mountains, along the river, all the way to Walla Walla and back and I feel lucky. I think of friends like Kent and Erik and Bob who make me laugh and are the best band of male cheerleaders a girl could ask for and I feel good and truly blessed. I don’t regret a minute of the time I have spent in the last six years, since I really began this journey here anew. Not a single minute.
Maybe I should atone for worrying friends when I was laid off. For worrying my folks when I decided the best thing I could do was go to Europe for a month and a half. For being grumpy and cranky during those moments of growing pains. For being frustrated when things weren’t going the way I planned. For losing hope and worse – losing faith – more than once during this journey. For that I do offer atonement, because coming out the other side? Pretty darn wonderful. So I am contemplating the future, the one that started a while ago. I’m looking forward to what happens next. Can’t wait to see what it might be.
What are you contemplating?