I was on vacation last week. I took the opportunity to stay away from most social media while I was gone. It was really nice. All of it was nice. It was a vacation in three distinct phases. I took almost no pictures and I’m going to try and capture the highlights. Which as I sit here seems incredibly daunting because last week was monumental. It was a week that goes in the Sarah History book. That sounds dramatic, but, you’ll see…
My time away started 40 minutes north of Asheville, NC at a big, beautiful cabin at the top of a mountain. 6 bedrooms, amazing kitchen, 5 classmates, 2 facilitators and an emotional experience to beat the band. A few classmates and I chose to be part of a organizational behavior process called a T Group. It’s an experience that focuses on feelings in the here and now. There are only two rules – use “I” statements and you must remain in the present – if the experience, feeling, person, etc isn’t in the room then they are not in the conversation. It’s intense and there’s a real learning curve for those rules. I really didn’t know what to expect going in and I purposely kept myself in the dark about the expectations of the weekend so I wouldn’t create biases.
Warning: cheesy ahead. I can’t describe the weekend. It was every bit as intense as promised and I love these classmates and facilitators I went through it with in a very special way, as they were witness and participants to this work. I felt overwhelmed, confused, sad, bad, mad, glad and afraid at certain parts. I really experienced change and internalized awareness.
I also felt a yearning. Marcus Buckingham, who presents on the Strength Finders assessment and co-authored a good deal about the topic, says one should pay attention to the yearnings – those intense callings to something. For me, it was Graphic Facilitation. One of our facilitators also worked as a graphic facilitator – a tool to visually record and organize a meeting, process, thoughts, etc. You can go here for some examples. A friend of mine had recently posted on FB that she was taking a graphic recording workshop and I was really intrigued then. Once I saw this facilitator complete some of it – I was hooked.
I’m getting off track. (I could use a graphic recording for this post.) That was vacation part 1 and it was great. Vacation part 2 was EVEN GREATER!
Mystery Man (actually, it’s not much of a mystery any longer – let’s call him D from here on, shall we? I shall.) D and I left the retreat and headed to a different cabin atop a different mountain. It was a belated birthday present – a peaceful trip off the grid and a chance for us to spend time together – no school, no hotels, no classmates, no kids, no pets – just he and I spending actual time together. The cabin we found was right out of Sleeping Beauty – when the King and Queen send Aurora to live in the woods so the evil lady can’t find her? It was like that. A sweet, little, comfortable cabin for two. We had everything we needed, including lots of dry firewood to make lots of fires while we curled up, played Scrabble and I was introduced to Duck Dynasty. (Which I surprisingly loved.) We hiked, and read, and talked, and napped and sat in the hot tub under the stars (more on that later).
Vacation moved on to West Virginia for the next few days, but took on a different tone. D organized an offsite retreat for the company he works for and I was along for the ride. I went to a few dinners with them and spent some time at the spa and managed to have breakfast at the Greenbriar with my friend Meg.
So, let’s talk about boys. One boy, in particularly. And, man is probably the more appropriate term. D is in the master’s program with me and we’ve been seeing each other when we can – mostly school weekends. The more I see him, know him, listen to him, understand him, learn about him, make him laugh, ask him…the more I like him. He was always my favorite classmate and transitioning to him being my favorite guy has been really wonderful.
This week was something new for us – spending 8 consecutive days together is a first. And not just regular days – intense retreat days, fairy tale cabin days and then work conference days. Each of those phases brought different aspects of me to the relationship. Sometimes I’m good, sometimes I’m a lot to take. And I’m constantly afraid people are getting tired of me.
There were two distinct and dichotomous moments on this trip. That shouldn’t seem like blog-worthy news. Couples have highs and lows. The intensity of these two moments came in such a short time span that both left me speechless in their own way. I’m hesitant to describe either of them here because I know we have mutual acquaintances who read me blather on here – and while I opened myself up to public viewing of my thoughts – he didn’t necessarily sign up for that. So, those are stories going in the old fashioned hand written journal.
If you’ve ever wandered over to the page on this blog entitled List 2.0 you’ll see my list of things to do before I die. An oddly specific item is this:
Spend time in a cabin in Asheville, NC to recharge, hike and sit in a hot tub under the stars
I know. Oddly specific. I attribute it to the blog Peanut Butter Runner. I started reading a lot of fitness and running blogs when I started training for the half and ran across this one. Jen lives in Charlotte and gets away to Asheville, NC pretty regularly. I was reading her Asheville posts – about the great food, funky vibe and the cabin and the hiking and I was overcome with the yearning to do this. (Pay attention to yearnings!) Onto The List it went and crossed off it is. I felt incredibly recharged after just a couple of days at the fairy tale log cabin with D. Monday night, after Scrabble, after dinner, after some more Duck Dynasty – the clouds had all gone away and there were stars. I sat outside and tilted my head back so it was resting on the edge of the hot tub behind me and just stared at the stars. And made lots and lots of wishes. It was a beautiful moment, and a really romantic one at that.
IV. Wishes coming true
So, then this thing happened where I got a job. A stars-aligned into the perfect scenario kind of job. April 2nd I was told my position is being eliminated. April 15 I was told I wasn’t right for this job. April 30 – I kind of bombed a technical interview they put me through on a 2nd chance. May 7 – I have a 20 minute interview with the actual hiring manager and I have the offer 24 hours later. And it’s not just a job. It’s a job that will let me do what I’ve been doing and am good at for the last 8 years and combine that with the Organizational Development tools and concepts I’ve been working on with my master’s. It’s this perfect bridge to the other side of Organizational Change Management – which is what I want to do. It’s a job where my title is consultant. It’s a job that will pay me enough to start paying back the school loans I took out to get the legitimate education behind what I want to do. It’s a job that makes me feel valued. Like all the steps back in the last few years were worth it – because this is exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’ll be moving to Columbus, OH in just a couple of weeks.
I’ve never been to Columbus, OH before. I really need to figure this out.
When I think about the roller coaster of the last 6 weeks, it’s nothing compared to the roller coaster of these 6 days! Leaving the school retreat content to start thinking about what comes next and focus on what I’m good at and two days later have that job in hand. I had no idea what the week would bring when it started – but I almost like that it all happened so close together. We never know when the biggest days (or week) of our life is going to be – and this was absolutely one of the biggest weeks of my life.
I can say this next sentence without it being scary…
I don’t know what happens next!
I don’t know where in Columbus I’m moving, I don’t know what happens next with D, I don’t know who I’ll work with, I don’t know exactly what the work will turn out to be…and I can hardly wait to find out!