Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “People wish to be settled: only as far as they are unsettled is there any hope for them." Phew! There is hope for me after all! I am restless; unsettled. This is not the first time I have felt this way. I go through periods where this happens and I have always thought that it has something to do with not living my purpose...whatever that may be. I suppose as I was working on me, that was my goal and purpose...to become whole again. The restlessness had subsided because I was focused on changing myself from the inside out. It's part of a process and I will always be a work in progress as long as I continue to learn, grow, change, and live my life fully.
The unsettled feelings seem to come up when I am not fulfilled in some area of my life. I have a deep-seated desire to be doing something worthwhile with my life. I need to feel like what I am doing has reason and purpose. Instead, I am feeling like I just keep moving forward. One foot in front of the other. It doesn't feel like living when I do that, though. It feels numb. Forced. Mechanical. It is not really living when I come to this place; it is just existing. I don't want to merely exist; I want to live. I want to feel something more than this nothingness. So I search for the source of my unrest.
As I look at times where this has happened to me before, there are definite areas or themes of my discontent or drivers of my restlessness: location, job, personal relationships. Is it the weather? The lack of growth and opportunity here? Is it my job? Is it my lack of intimacy? Love? Is it that I am just going through the motions with people and not really attempting to connect? Have I given up already?
I have this love-hate relationship with Cleveland. When I left here in 1992 for the Navy, I thought I would never come back. I left for a reason. Well, many reasons. I didn't want a do-over; I wanted that time and this place to be in my rear-view mirror. PERMANENTLY. But, Plan B brought me home again. In May, I have been back here for 15 years. FIF-TEEN YEARS!! When we first came back, I told my ex that I was staying no more than 3-5 years. As you can see, that didn't quite work out. Once I figured out that going back to San Diego (the place I never wanted to leave in the first place) was not going to happen, I moved on to just getting out of Cleveland. We almost moved to NY at one point; my ex even got a job there. Then, he decided that he'd left NY for a reason and never wanted to go back. Yeah, I can relate!
Being that I am in IT, I tried to get him to focus on the Research Triangle Area in North Carolina next. I figured I could still get a change of season, have a great job market, healthy real estate market, great arts and healthcare and be close enough to both our families. That didn't work either. I am a great researcher, list maker, and usually very good at getting people to see things my way :) This change of location situation was one I could never get to go my way, though. I had explained to my ex that at some point I would not be able to get a job in the Cleveland market at the pay I needed or in the type of position that met my career needs. Even this past year as my company has gone through tough times, I have not been able to find a position in Cleveland matching my financial needs and career goals. And now, unlike previously, I have my Bachelor's degree, too, which makes me even more marketable (or should).
So, here I still sit in Cleveland and for the first time in who knows how long, I am not wishing I wasn't here. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to remain here, but the unsettled feeling I have is not about location this time. What keeps me here now is my kids, but it is a finite period of time with an end in sight. My oldest will be graduating in 2 years, and my youngest is just 10 years away from her graduation. None of my siblings are here. My older sister and younger brother live in the Orange County area of CA and my other sister is in Minneapolis now. I love my aunts, uncles, cousins, granny and my mom that all live here, but other than my mom I really don't see the rest of them unless it's a holiday event. Many of my friends are here, but thanks to the Navy and HDI, I have friends all over the world. With technology, no one is ever too far away unless that is of their choosing. Skype is a great way to stay connected.
My heart is restless because I long to connect. I want to know people. To learn from them and share what I know. Connection is not just about things in common, but about knowing someone and allowing them to know you, too. To hear a voice on the phone or to get a text, email or IM that just reminds you that someone is thinking about you. That someone cares for you. There really is nothing more important than that human connection. I have many people I talk to. There are many people I love and enjoy having in my life. I have people who make me laugh and motivate me and inspire me. I have so much to be thankful for; yet, my heart still yearns for someone all my own. And for that, I am restless...