Nancy Drew and the Big Scary New Thing

Won’t you play Nancy Drew with me today? Today I need to take some notes and do some sneaky figurings-out on the topics of Things I Know, Things I Think I Know, and related stuff about a New Thing.

There is a big opportunity waving at me right now, saying Hi! Here I am! New Thing! Come and check me out please! But as sometimes happens in life, I have a belly full of conflicted feelings about it. So rather than dither and hand-wring all on my lonesome (which usually results in a lot of muddles) I though I would write about it.

Notes on New Things

First things first! New Things can be pretty scary. This is known. It’s one of the first things in the Book of Me.

So it’s natural and normal and expected to have some worries in the belly. It doesn’t mean the New Thing is bad or good.

Also, careful detective work has shown that New Things are usually about 80% less scary than I think they will be.

But! Important caveat! New Things = Scary but also New Things = learning! That excites my brain! So there are good things hidden inside the scary.

But also, this anticipation (both positive and negative) offers important clues on What I Care About.

So then, what do I care about?

The first day that this opportunity popped up I was so excited that I made a big long list of ideas in my journal about it.

My brain was going ding! ding! ding! with ideas and thoughts and wow, that’s always fun.

That big list contained excitement about {leadership + systems + possibilities + learning + expansion + connection}. It’s good to remember these qualities and aspects of the New Thing when doubts creep in around the edges…

Because there are some pretty big, red-flag, klaxon-warning doubts at work, too.

Red flags: money and time/energy.

Money is a big one. There are two immediate desires at work, one that says I’d really like to make more money and one that says I shouldn’t make decisions based on money.

Desire –> silenced. Don’t want the thing you want! Wait — huh?

This is worth delving into.

Notes on “should”

A should statement usually means someone else’s ideas or rules are trying to sneak in.

So what does it mean to say I shouldn’t make this decision based on money? What are the different threads hiding in this complex knot?

1. The perfectly reasonable point that I do care about things that are bigger than money (i.e. emotional fulfillment);

2. The desire for the ideal utopia in which I don’t need to care about money because I won the lottery, hooray! (Like Havi wrote about recently: time and money being plentiful at the same time!)

3. The very sane point that if I care about my own happiness then money can’t be the only deciding factor;

4. The idea that the right sort of person doesn’t care about money because ideals are way more important than petty concerns like stability;

5. The parallel idea that the right sort of person will simply make money doing whatever it is they do, by a kind of accident or happenstance, as a signal that they are doing the right thing, and there is no planning involved.

This is a pretty sneaky (and demoralizing) narrative at work. It says that money can’t come through conscious decisions and plans (what?), or if it does, it means I’m not The Right Sort Of Person, somehow.

Some of these ideas are adopted from other peoples’ expectations. From social and cultural expectations of what it means to talk about money, to need money, to pursue money, to plan for money, to believe myself capable of and deserving of money, to receive money.

Because of course we’re talking about actual physical cash here, but we’re also talking about abundance, safety, enoughness. Emotional and spiritual honesty and wholeness and prosperity.

So the Should stuff about money is an important clue: it’s important to me AND it’s connected to all sorts of patterns and anxieties about enoughness that are tied up in other big life things going on.

The thing about making a decision

This opportunity definitely has Big Life Decision written all over it. A kind of Go Big Or Go Home kind of message. (And do I believe in Going Big? Is it right for me? Is it the right time in my life to do this?)

Most importantly, what if I regret the choice I make?

Regret is a big pattern and theme lately. Or rather, fear of regret, which is its own animal.

I fear future regret because it sounds like: disappointment, lack of self-knowing, vulnerability, permanence. It can’t be undone. It’s tied up with self-esteem.

It can’t be undone.

It’s my future. My life. And it only goes in one direction.

I want to believe I can avoid regret. If I just make the “right” decision, I can avoid it entirely.

Of course this is pretty unrealistic, because with a long enough timeline, what looks good from one vantage point can change later on. It’s comforting to think I can avoid this tricky things-may-change aspect of the world but you know, time happens. It’s okay. Arresting time and change contains its own fears, just as moving time and change do.

But this time? Right now in my life? It’s all about transition, baby.

What I know about transitions

I keep reminding myself that things are difficult right now. Difficult, painful unknowing and change. Shifting really scary stuff. Letting things out into the light of day. Not knowing where my marriage is going, and not knowing who I am and what it all means. 

I remind myself because it means yes, there’s a reason for all this uncertainty. All the big stuff is coming up. The biggest stuff I’ve ever faced. This big opportunity is one more destabilizing force among many, many others.

And no matter what I do, no matter what I decide? It can’t solve that big stuff. The future, like the present, has trade-offs: whether I take this opportunity or stay exactly-where-I-am-right-this-second.

There are some good and important reasons to go for it. There are some good and important reasons not to go for it.

It can’t solve everything. And there is sadness hidden there.

I can love the sadness. I can let go of trying to resist all the hard, a little bit. It might make it a tiny bit easier, though it won’t solve everything.

*     *     *     *     *     *

I don’t have a good conclusion to this. It’s the nature of the strange landscape of transition — obvious solutions are few on the ground and everything seems connected to everything else. One lesson is to learn how to take action even when I’m not motivated by the perfect confluence of gut-instinct and brilliant shining opportunity and oodles of free time and very low stakes; how to take action even when I’m convinced there is no way to do it without that perfect confluence. 

If I come back in a week to this opportunity, I hope I’ll say that I took a risk even when I wasn’t sure of the outcome. As my friend Erin likes to remind me, what you risk reveals what you value. And I do value my self and the exploration of opportunities: and I don’t think that being in transition and facing Hard Stuff means I can’t still explore this new thing. So I hope I can come back with something I’ve learned. Or love for the self who wasn’t ready. Talk to you then, friends.


About jesse k.

Writer. Mama. Spy in the house of self-awareness. Occasional crafter, letterpress geek, and academic snob.
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6 Responses to Nancy Drew and the Big Scary New Thing

  1. Claire P says:

    As ever, your honesty, courage and generosity astound. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Karen says:

    That’s an awful lot of pieces-parts to consider, there!
    Kinda looks like (from-out-here, and because it’s one of *my* biggies, too) finding the ends to some of the “Money” and “Enoughness” strings could open up a lot more of the answers (or even blow up the questions/concerns).

    Bright Blessings ‘n Happy Un-knotting!

    • jesse k. says:

      It *is* a lot of pieces to untangle, isn’t it!

      I do know that the money/enoughness thing is big big big. One of those perpetual tangles that I’m untangling, you could say.

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Pingback: Tiny reminder about dreams | my seed house

  4. Pingback: Shifting one part of the puzzle | my seed house

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