Saturday, September 21, 2013

Oy with the poodles already

I own all seven seasons of the Gilmore Girls on DVD. This is one of my all-time favorite television shows. I'm still pretty emotional about the fact that it ended. In 2007 - time does not heal all wounds. I have a problem with getting attached to amazing fictional characters. It's particularly difficult not to get attached when the characters are so well written and so much of what happens to them is so relatable. Any true fan of anything will tell you this. I may not be freakishly attached to my mother as Rory is to Lorelai but I understand what having a strong mother-daughter relationship is like. I also know a lot about being quirky and I like rapid fire dialogue, pop culture references, and coffee (so much coffee).

I tend to re-watch seasons of Gilmore Girls when I'm in a rut or stressed about something. I was thinking about this earlier in the week when I started watching season 4 again; I can pinpoint the last three times I've re-watched a season and it's always around a stressful time in my life. Season 4 is my favorite season and I had this moment of clarity about why this is - this is the season of significant change for almost every character. Change is hard and it's an entire season of change so everyone is a little off. Some of the change is positive (Sookie's baby!) but most of it is just hard. I think this is why I like this season so much.

Here are the highlights:
  • Rory begins her freshman year at Yale
  • Lorelai and Sookie finally break ground on the Dragonfly Inn
  • Luke gets married but then decides to get divorced but then other stuff happens
  • Dean gets married but admits he still loves Rory (they'll make some bad choices together later on - not appropriate)
  • Richard embarks on a new business venture with Jason Stiles, who is also a temporary love interest for Lorelai
  • Emily is "replaced" in Richard's new business by Jason's more modern approach to clients
  • Sookie and Jackson have their first baby
  • Paris starts an affair with a professor (and it happens to be Michael York)
  • Lane and the band add Sebastian Bach to the line up AND Lane finally stands up to Mrs. Kim (and it does not go well)
I could go on but I think you get the point. Nothing is easy in this season. Rory has to adjust to being in college and having to figure out how to do things like date and not kill her roommates. Lorelai is B-R-O-K-E once the inn construction begins so she and Sookie have to find temporary gigs (like their catering company) to bring in some income. Sookie freaks out about being a first time mother. And what about that time Rory saw her first love get married? Devastating. So it makes sense to me that I would find comfort in the hectic, stressed filled season when my own life is in flux or whatever it is right now. I feel their pain and spending a little time with old friends is soothing.

I've been working for the same company for seven years. In that time, I've had eight different job titles but I've basically done some variation of the same thing for the entire time I've worked here (support and training). This is not a terrible thing and I know that I'm lucky to have a job and a mostly supportive work environment. That's why I feel awful about my current predicament - I don't really know if I'm doing what I should be doing with my life. I don't wake up in the morning excited about the prospect of going to work. I feel selfish and silly complaining about this (first world problems and all) but it's something that's been gnawing at me for quite some time. Yes, I am good at what I do and yes, I enjoy working with my colleagues and friends and clients. Is being good at something enough to be fulfilling? Is this some "I'm on the edge of the millennial generation" complaint that I shouldn't say out loud? I work with counselors and teachers daily and a lot times our conversations turn to student engagement and encouraging students to find their path - do we do the same thing? Is it wrong to want to follow that advice even if it were to take me out of the safety of what I currently do? How do you even go about figuring out that path?

I don't think fulfillment was something that my grandparents thought much of when they were in the work world. Auto factory jobs, the military, working at a potato chip factory were ways to pay the bills and provide for their families. And that was enough. I can't recall a conversation I ever had with any of my grandparents about careers and jobs. It was just something that they did and it didn't make them who they are. I don't think either of my parents thought much about fulfillment either. They always seemed to like their jobs but I'm not really sure that's what made their lives. We've never talked about it so I don't really know.

So why is it different for me? If it was good enough for my grandpa to wake up every morning and go to work and just do his job, why can't I do the same thing? Why do I need to wake up and be excited to go to work? To feel connected to what I do? Part of the problem (I think) is that we focus too much on what people do as a way of describing who they are. For me, that ends up meaning always being helpful and sunny and polite since that's what Erin Counselor would be like.

I figured that by now I would have figured it out. But I'm finding that I haven't. And so here we are, re-watching season 4 of Gilmore Girls and laughing and being a little sad when things don't go their way. If Lorelai and Sookie can open their inn then what can I do? Leading ladies figure stuff out so I guess that's what I have to do.

If I don't I guess I could sell all of my possessions and spend the rest of my days wandering around the world helping people with a hug and smile.

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