Author Archives: grovemolly

On Waiting

EDITOR’S NOTEThis post is the 5th in a series, intended as a space for the various authors and contributors of Embracing Ambiguity to reflect on the past year in each of their lives. 2014 has been a tumultuous year for each writer, from transitions and changes in the physical spaces they live in, to the internal turmoil of life changing decisions.  Each post follows the general prompt of thinking back to where we stood one year prior, and the head space we were in at the time; reflecting on what has brought us to where we are now and the change that has occurred in that 365 days of time. Happy reading and an ambiguous 2015 to you! 


 

These past two new years have been different from the ones before them.

Before 2014, New Years marked progress; I had a sense of purpose and a control over my life as I moved through University. The last two New Years have been less about moving forward through school and more about waiting. At the start of 2014 I was waiting for that last semester of university to be over so I could start my career, and now waiting for a job so I can start my career. Juxtaposed to the many other positive aspects of my life, it makes the stall in my would-be career feel even stranger.

Last year at this time, I began my last semester of my undergraduate education. I was about to reach the end game, something that is now so common among the population my age we sometimes forget what an accomplishment it is. So with one semester left I was waiting to graduate, an easy course load and already looking into job applications. And now I am waiting for a job, perhaps it is the one I just applied for, or the one I just had an interview with, or maybe, my worst fear will come true and I will still be waiting one year from now. I am waiting for some big change that will alter my not only my day to day life but also my future, though I may be putting too much faith in the idea that my career will fill some void.

Not idle waiting, though I do watch more than my fair share of Netflix. Not inaction. It is a lack of control over outcomes. It is doing all that you can and putting that out to the universe and waiting to see what returns to you. You can do the best you can to bring things into your life, but in most cases, we cannot control what is coming for us, and that is scary. So you do everything you can, and then you wait.

This past year I did have adventures, I found joy and inspiration, I have had ups and downs and now I feel as though I may have come full circle. After spending months applying for jobs at the start of last year, I went abroad to teach English in Colombia; somewhere I never planned to go but was able to make an adventure. I got to go to Coachella music festival with my brother, I graduated university, I spent time with my grandma and family, find new hobbies like biking and cross stitch, evolve relationships with friends. But now I am back into the thick of months of applying for jobs, back to hoping and waiting for THAT job, whatever it ends up being.

And it is these other aspects of my life, other hobbies and my friendships, that make this wait bearable. With New Years just past, I see some sense to resolutions, whether you complete it or not, resolutions can allow you to take control of at least one aspect of your life, making those uncontrollable parts, that you are simply waiting on, bearable. Maybe resolutions allow you to focus on other things while you wait.

 

– MG

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On Giving Up

So here it goes. My first embracing ambiguity post.

I have started and restarted this post more than three times in an attempt to make it all sound right and most importantly to make my failure gain some sort of universality. Something that you can connect to. The hardest part was that writing this piece meant facing the biggest failure of my life.

For those that don’t know me, I am, or was, a swimmer. I once dreamed of the Olympics and spent my days pushing my body, mind and emotions beyond their limits. In reality, this meant 10-2hr practices a week in the water (including 5am wake-ups), at least 5 hours of dryland, physiotherapists for my overused shoulders, sports psychologists, massage therapists, eating right, flying to new cities only to see the inside of a pool, and so many more things than I can list. It also included incredible friendships and memories, the success of besting your own times or winning provincial medals; though these things don’t seem to add up to much anymore. When someone asks me now if I am still swimming, I tell them I quit and then correct myself because I actually retired. Working at something for over 15 years makes it a career. Right?

But it wasn’t work. Swimming was my passion, my life, my everything. And for it I truly sacrificed everything. And when you have something that important, letting it go can feel almost impossible. It took me two years to realize that the time had come for me to leave behind that life.

Until a short time ago, I revolved my life around a dream. Maybe it goes back further than one month though for I had been slowly spiraling away for even a few years. But what is a few years of semi-commitment when you have spent the last 15 focused on one sole passion. And finally, after 2 years drifting away from what I had previously defined as my life, I quit or maybe I failed or maybe I just retired. Near the end, I agonized over every decision, every workout and when I finally couldn’t manage to continue on, knowing that my goals were unreachable; I knew it was the end. I failed mentally, my body failed me and I failed at the only thing I had ever given my all.

But when I talked about this to an aunt of mine soon after the decision, she reminded me that everyone expects the right decision to make us feel good, so when that good uplifting feeling doesn’t come we question what we have done. It’s funny how the right decision can feel so shitty sometimes.

This year in one of my courses we have discussed a lot about relative versus absolute gains, and I think that there are also relative and absolute failures. I think that I have just gone through a relative failure. It is a failure as compared to how well I thought I would do, how well my colleagues are doing and my friends and family continue to remind me that this failure was not absolute. Life goes on.

Of my 22 years of life, I have spent 15 of them dedicated to this passion and when I was finally released from this love/hate relationship I felt and feel anguish at my failure.

— MG

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