Monday, June 17, 2013

Planning: What Happens Now?

We all know the saying: Man plans, G-d laughs. 

Several weeks back, I listened to a podcast -- a repeat from years prior -- on Plan B, that thing we have when life doesn't go the way we want the first time around (our Plan A). As I listened and considered my current situation, I began to think about my own plans and how many of them I've had.

My first plan, when I was a child was to be an artist. My entire childhood I longed to be involved in the arts, and my parents put me through art lessons, I entered art competitions, and I saw myself attending the Kansas City Art Institute. When I was in middle school, that all came to a crashing halt as I realized that my friend Kim was much more talented than I could ever be. Suddenly, it was all about writing and photography. The latter dream died when I was in high school and shadowed a photo journalist for a day and decided that it was the last thing on the planet I was willing to do.

After that, I decided poetry was where it was at and pursued that effort for the rest of high school and into my first semester of college with a degree in English. After a visit to the dentist and seeing an English degree on my dentist's wall, I realized that maybe it wasn't the most useful degree on the planet and quickly switched to journalism with an emphasis on copy editing.

As it turned out, copy editing was my true Plan A. I dreamed of working my way up and through internships and jobs to a post at The New York Times. I worked at the Daily Nebraskan for four years, landed a prestigious Dow Jones Internship at The Denver Post, was picked up by The Washington Post for an internship that turned into a job, and I was ready to stick to it. But unhappiness drowned Plan A.

Plan B didn't come about for quite some time. I moved to Chicago and worked for a Nobel Prize winner as his "Devil Wears Prada"-style assistant before applying to graduate school in Judaic studies. It was at that time that I realized Plan B was to teach. After a graduate degree from the University of Connecticut and starting up at New York University, I suddenly became aware that this Plan B wasn't exactly going to work out -- my Hebrew wasn't quite up to snuff and social media in Jewish schools wasn't something anyone had in mind.

And then?

While in graduate school I realized the power of my social media prowess and decided, well, maybe this will work out as Plan C? In Denver I put it to the test and landed three different jobs doing social media, building my skills and talents, and I was pretty set that this is where I belonged. After aliyah I kept those jobs and forged forth learning, doing, being.

Now? I'm at a crossroads where my superficial childhood plans and the various plans of adulthood seem to be saying "nope, this isn't it," and wondering what I am supposed to be doing. Writing? Back to editing?

I spend my days searching for work and mulling about on Social Media, trying to stay fresh, but I can't help but feel that I'm losing my edge, that my talent isn't exactly a talent so much as a skill I acquired that anyone could acquire. I've always said that it isn't that I know how to do all of these things perfectly but rather that I'm resourceful and willing, eager and able. I know where to look to find the answers to any problem, I know how to troubleshoot anything with a quick Google search.

Some people take comfort in the search for the next job opportunity or the next experience, but I find myself bored and frustrated. This blog hasn't seen much out of me recently because the truth is I'm best at blogging and working when I'm busy, when I have a million things going on at once. When there isn't much going on, the day just floats by and productivity slacks.

I'm trying to figure out what HaShem has in store for me exactly. Is the lull a nudge to look inward? Is it a push to reexamine my strengths and talents and figure out who I'm menat to be? Is it a forced vacation after 11 years of work, work, work?

Perhaps, then, I should be thankful instead of angry, happy instead of forlorn. What do you think?