READ ME ... yeah, right. Right?

I'm sick of everyone else having on-line diaries. I want one too.

What is this all about? Maybe you should read the READ ME READ ME.

august 23, 1999:

"I don't think that you would make a very happy employee ... "

... my Grandmother Charlotte, who knows me as well as anyone

I am in self-imposed limbo, waiting to make my next move, holding back from any big decision until an option or opportunity feels irresistable. And, what is almost overwhelming about this vantage point is not the lack of singular focus (focus that I dearly miss), but rather the almost limitless potential directions.

Maybe this course of action is unwise (it certainly is expensive), but for now it seems the right thing to do.

In the meantime, I ask for what I have finally been learning to supply myself:

I was in Milwaukee from August 13-17. It was a brief but badly needed respite from the frenetic, unforgiving and sometimes soul-less world of the Internet economy. For a short long weekend, the clutter, cement and street noise that constitute my daily existence in the Mission District were replaced by the fresh green grass, swaying trees and serene silence of my parents' yard, house and neighborhood - - the neighborhood where I spent my first 18 years (and enjoyed many visits since).

I did almost nothing. Yet, while I was laughing with my parents, brainstorming with my grandmother over my present and future career, watching four movies (including one of them twice), jogging up and down (and along) the beaches of Lake Michigan, and rollerblading out to the end of the Milwaukee Pier, the time flew by.

As is inevitable for me, I did enter the weekend with a few plans and expectations. In addition to catching up with my folks and seeing my grandmother, I hoped to use the time in Milwaukee at the home where I grew up to re-discover myself. After all, I figured, getting a good grasp on where I came from could only help me as I decide where to go next.

As I lay outside in the grass in my parents' back yard, listening to the sound of crickets and wind through the trees, I slid effortlessly into some of my favorite memories from my childhood there - - improvising jazz 'chopsticks' on the piano every morning before school with my father, chasing and being chased by our collie Evie, jumping into (and sleeping among) colassal piles of autumn leaves with Debbie, taste-testing Poppin Fresh lemon merangue pie with my mother, sitting at the place we called 'paradise' on the banks of the lake and gazing at the blue watery expanse, sneaking out late at night to Echo Bowl, Rocky Rococco's or Century Hall with Diana, transforming my basement into a haunted house and my livingroom into a tabernacle with Christy, playing jacks, playing "chef pierre," and packing for (and unpacking from) the summer camp where I spent 11 years of my life. So many scattered fragments, but one constant emerges: I was happy. I still am.

And, pouring through the piles and piles of old photographs stacked in boxes in the basement, I attempted to become re-acquainted with the girl, teenager and young woman who occupied my body, my room and my life for 18 years. Becky was an ambitious, focused, fun-loving, hard-working perfectionist. President of every organization she joined, she loved leading meetings, organizing conventions, planning parties, laughing, scuba diving, dancing, speed skating, speaking at podiums, watching her hard efforts create something big, and most definitely, winning.

The photos told some of her stories. At the Hyatt ballroom, she sat at the front table, giving her thank-you speech before squealing triumphantly when the youth group she co-founded, Ahavah, won second place at the BBYO Winter Regional Convention she planned with her three co-organizers. At Whitefish Bay High School, she stood on the auditorium stage to accept her awards in math, science and foreign language. At her 'surprise' 18th birthday party, flanked by her mother on one side and her mother's mother on the other, she blew out every candle. What was her birthday wish, I yearned to know. Has it come true?

One half of a lifetime ago, when I was 16, I could never have imagined what lay before me. Perhaps that is a good thing. And perhaps that should provide solace over the fact that that one detail, like many others, remains true one-half of a lifetime later.

Granted, a person who spends too much time deciding where to go never gets anywhere at all. But is that necessarily bad? When you are starting at a point that is not terrible, rushing to leave it can seem a tad irrational. Unless, of course, what is good about the place in the first place is the motion it embodies.

Regardless, I am turning towards patience, and despite the unfamiliarity of this new MO, taking my time. What the strategy lacks in predictability, it makes up in steep learning curve satisfaction, replete with unexpected challenges and unsettling epiphanies. That alone gives it a leg up on at least one of the alternatives: focusing on an outcome I learn too late that I never desired.

And although I still cannot remember what I wished for in my teen birthday photos, I have a more pressing present focus: that of making crystal clear what I wish for today.


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Copyright 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 Rebecca Lynn Eisenberg All rights Reserved.