The Long Commute

When I put my house on the market six months ago, I just assumed it would sell quickly. This assumption was reaffirmed by many close friends and family members who asserted, “Your house is adorable! Who wouldn’t want to buy it?” The general public, that’s who. So when I realized that it would take a little more than a lackadaisical real estate agent and burying a miniature St. Joseph statue in my front lawn—a superstition that has been rumored to sell houses—I slowly melted back into Accceptance, an emotion I knew well and had been conditioned for.

A year ago, I was at my wit’s end. I remember sitting in the parking lot of a big tech company where I had just finished an hour-long interview for a job I was sure I was going to get (after all, it’d been my 12th interview in two years…at some point, my ship had to come in, right?) where the CEO, who was my age, said, “Listen, we’ve already filled the position but I just wanted to meet you because you work with the competition and your resume is impressive.” The emotions that I had stuffed deep down into the well of my core—frustration at being stuck in an unhealthy work environment, anger that this guy had wasted my time, and hopelessness that nothing would ever work out in my favor—came surging up out of me. I sat in my car and cried hysterically for about half an hour. In fact, I didn’t stop crying until the next day, a full 24 hours later. It was hard to explain the feeling but it felt as if years and years of toxic sludge were being extricated from my being during those hours of intense crying.

Not surprisingly, I came out of it on the other side tired, defeated, and with puffy eyes, of course, but feeling lighter…as if my attachment to wanting things to be different was gone. In Buddhism, when desire vanishes, we are left with alobha. It’s defined as “disinterestedness” and can feel like defeat but in actuality, it’s a step closer to Acceptance of all things. Just as they are.

After I returned to my routine of job searching, I adopted the mindset not of “This has to happen” but rather “This will happen when the time is right.” Trust me, that is not an easy thing for a 38 year-old woman who still wants to have children someday. But I had no choice…and have no choice…other than Acceptance.

As Brene Brown says, “The middle is messy but it’s also where the magic happens.” So however frustrated I may feel at the fact that my house hasn’t sold or because that means I now drive 700 miles each week to and from work (yes, 700), I can either resist—and bury—the frustration or I can thank my lucky stars that I have learned how to accept the messy, magical middle part.

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