“The magic you’re looking for is in the work you’re avoiding.” Over and over it ran through my mind. My heart raced constantly. I couldn’t sleep. I was hot all the time. Food tasted awful. The power of Alyssa’s words took me over. I was like a frayed wire.
I lost 14 pounds in 12 days. My plus-sized body was Pivoting all on its own.
Well, I wasn’t going to avoid any more work. I wanted magic! I looked over the lists of goals I’d written and decided to tackle the new job goal first. This was the one goal I could wrap my brain around while my body freaked out.
I’d been job-hunting all year, but I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was unfocused, haphazard. I’d send my resume to companies that looked cool or posted a too-good-to-be-true job listing and never heard back.
I’m a dutiful student. I took Freddie’s advice to heart and wrote a detailed list of what I wanted.
Goal: New Job
Must have a mission statement I can get behind. After years of working for law firms, I’d finally gotten my first in-house paralegal job with a non-profit news organization. What a change! I was so proud to work for a company whose mission is to inform the world, rather than to bill the client as much as possible. Wherever I went next, it had to be about more than making money. It had to be for a profit company that wanted to make a difference.
Better salary. Non-profits do amazing work, but they usually don’t pay well. I loved where I worked, but I was severely underpaid. I live in NYC – I needed more money.
Good fit with the new team. Personality mesh is an important part of the job process. Who you work with can make or break a place. I reminded myself that I’m interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing me. I’d know if we “clicked” and if we didn’t, I’d keep looking.
Once I was clear about what I wanted, I applied much more strategically than before. I researched the companies’ business filings. I checked sites like Glassdoor for employee POVs. Several applications and a few interviews later, this approach paid off. In December, I accepted an offer that hit every one of my requirements: A for-profit company whose focus is health. A salary that reflected my skills and experience. A team made me feel welcome and valued. I would start my new job at the beginning of 2020.
November 16, 2019: I was two weeks into my new obsession with the Days of our Lives time jump story. It was soapy, sudsy awesomeness: Why is Sonny so sad? Why is Justin kissing Kayla? How did Adrienne die? Why is JJ on drugs? His girlfriend died?! WTF is Xander about? WHY IS WILL IN JAIL. WHY IS HE CELL MATES WITH THE GUY WHO MURDERED HIM A FEW YEARS AGO. Where’d that baby come from? What happened to the other baby? Kristen’s a nun? Why is Ciara a super sleuth? He’s the father of the alive baby and doesn’t know it, but she knows? Gabi is CEO!
It was such a blast because it was the perfect distraction from the sadness, and the rest of my life.
Generation X is well settled in to its midlife crisis, and so was I. My job depressed me. I was overweight and eating terribly. Worst of all, my writing was beyond stagnant. I fancy myself a scifi/fantasy writer (time travel’s my thing) and I hadn’t written much beyond a few short story drafts in a couple of years. Crappy job, crappy health, no creativity, and incredibly stuck. I wanted to change but I’d get paralyzed and overwhelmed and do nothing. So I threw myself into DAYS! Way more fun than throwing myself into me.
Both Alyssa and Freddie narrate the chapter but Freddie’s part got me. He talks about his issues with weight with a frankness and vulnerability that is brave and heartfelt. His quest for balance after following several “meal lifestyles” (I love this term) really got to me. He suggests writing out your goals and a detailed description of the outcome you want. Get specific about how to achieve them, and figure out your “why”.
I’d written out goals, but I’d never really thought about the details to achieve them. My goals are more like, “lose 30 lbs” or “exercise”, but I didn’t ever write down “log food every day” or “30 minutes of cardio 4 times a week.” I made a mental note to try it sometime soon, and moved on to “Introduction.”
There are a handful of times in my life when I’ve had an A-ha moment. When I recognize a truth that I feel in my heart and soul, this wave of tingles sweeps over my whole body. It’s how I know I’ve learned something important and I’m permanently changed. This happened to me when I heard Alyssa say at 2:42, “The magic you’re looking for is in the work you’re avoiding.”
The truth of her words literally changed me, right in that moment. My heart dropped. The tingles spread all over me. I had to catch my breath! How could someone so young be so wise? Alyssa and Freddie had an understanding of our world that eluded me.
I was ready to learn.
I grabbed my journal and started writing out my goals, and all the steps to achieve them.
Not just health/weight goals, but my career and my creative writing, too. It took several pages. I felt amazing when I finished. What else could I learn from the millennials?