Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Taking Stock

My lease renewal form is sitting on my desk, unsigned.

It’s not that I’m entertaining serious thoughts of moving. (Fantasies, yes.) It’s just that I’ve been in this apartment for ten years, and am contemplating renewing the lease for two more. And I can’t escape the thought: What am I doing here?

Not in the apartment, in New York. I came here with a plan, and for a long time it was working. The poverty, the boredom, the uncertainty…all of it I could handle because I was working toward something and seeing progress.

All that has changed now. It still seems sometimes like the decision to face reality and get a job was a recent one, but it’s been almost two years since my last public performance. The plan then was to get a corporate job, save money like hell, and move back to the West Coast where I’d…well, I’d figure that part out.

But the corporate world didn’t work for me. I was losing my soul, and I developed bizarre physical symptoms of stress: my hands were always ice cold AND sweaty. Very gross. And I started gnawing on the collars of my shirts. Weird. The money didn’t really compensate for it: I just couldn’t bring myself to work as hard as was necessary on a job I couldn’t care about.

So…I found a job I like. I enjoy it, I really do. Having temped for years in this city, I know what is out there, and I know not to mess with a good situation. But do you want to know something? The last year I temped exclusively, I made more money than I make at my full-time job. Okay, yes, now I have benefits and paid vacation. And my sweaty hands are not pawing at my own clothes while I eat them in fits of anxiety. But I have less money to spend.

I stare at that lease renewal and can’t help but think about the future. Sure the job is good, for now, but…what does it lead to? I don’t want to be an administrative assistant my whole life. Unfortunately, I have no answer for the question, “What DO I want to do?”


herliveideas said...

Hi Andy. I'm at work now, just bouncing through some blogs, and I saw yours and felt like I had to respond. Mostly because I just got my lease renewal form too. And when I pulled it out of the mailbox I felt like I had been punched in the head. Another year has gone by already? Actually no, another year hasn't gone by, but for some reason my landlord needs to know now if I'm going to continue living in my studio now, even though the lease isn't up until August. And I just wanted to say that I know exactly what you mean. New York is so strange that way; you land in a place that you think is temporary, and - boom - ten years go by and for all intents and purposes, you are in the same exact place. Anyway. Just wanted to pipe in and say - I'm with you!

Time said...

Ahh.. the little moments in life that make us stop and ask:
where am I going, and what do I want to do when I grow up?

I'm having a moment like that; Every year I do my taxes, I feel like you just expressed. I have no real answer either. Oh yea, I'm doing my taxes tonight.

I'm going to call a good friend, have a few drinks, discuss the world and our places in it, and get up and go to work tomorrow.

Jeff said...

I still don't know what I want to do with my life, either.

Remember that there are alternatives between the extremes of (1) keeping everything the same and (2) moving away. (Especially 'cuz your friends don't want you to move away.) Maybe you can keep the apartment and the job but shake up something else in your life a little. There are tons of ways. This is New York, after all.