I’m falling into feature research at work. Which makes me remember why I love my job. The task of learning fast: I adore it. I talk to people and bathe in their thoughts, their expertise, their ideas, their beliefs. I spin in data. I dive as deep as possible with the time allotted. I rearrange and sift and analyze. I have made my brain a haven for this process. I make meaning on the page.
I was telling Chris how much I love this. He replied, why, then do you beat yourself up? Why complain?
Well, I know why. I doubt my path or curse at the world for not paying me enough for my brain’s toil. Why be thankful? Why be foolish enough to be thankful when I know I should be paid three times as much?
But we know that won’t happen, being paid three times as much, replies Chris.
And the fact is: I love this. The fact is I could bust myself into a lean, competitive machine and go national and get paid more. But I don’t have it in me right now. What I have in me is this: a love for what I do for my writing work, a love for spending time with my family, a love for teaching, a love for reading and connection and time for everything I love to do.
People tire of hearing me talk about this topic. But I keep wrestling with it because it’s one of my topics. How to be content enough in an unfair world. How to do what I love doing and be thankful in it. How to see it all as enough. My body knows it is enough and I thank the world when I feel that feeling. That feeling that started at age 27 when I left my office after a day of work and looked up at the planes landing at nearby Boeing field. The sky saturated with itself. Me, saturated with my joy. I get to do this for work! The soaring joy. I feel that all the time. I made it to my dream: being a writer, being a poet, smooshing words together for part of every day. It makes me breathe deeply right now with satisfaction. Makes me really believe this is a lucky life.
I have a quote taped to my desk by Deborah Keenan, a poet I took a class from during my 20s, back in St. Paul, at The Loft. It reads:
this path, this road that is one perfect
straight line even if it goes around the world through heat
and fog and ran and snow and it’s my life I keep thinking.
It’s my life. (from “Small Histories”)
Yup: It’s my life. And I like it.