On Patterns….Old & New

OnPatterns

This post was inspired by a couple of very random things:

  • One of my favorite musical theatre audition pieces: “Patterns” from BABY: THE MUSICAL by Maltby & Shire. This is a HUGE go-to song for me in my collection.This musical revolves around three couples and pregnancies and attempting to get pregnant. Even though that is not the stage of life that I am in, I still love the song and it highlights my vocal skills well.

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I know, this very random. However, I think it’s totally relevant. Go with me here because I just love a good text analysis that I can connect to my life.

Since leaving my full-time job to “decide what I want to do next,” I’ve been kind of aimlessly wandering. Sure, I’m still working on some freelance gigs and at a bar gig, but it all feels very “out of the norm” to me. It’s not routine. It’s not a pattern…yet. I was in the same daily pattern for so long before I quit my job and I still find that I’m struggling to adjust. I would almost say borderline depressed with the whole “what’s next?” factor. I think it was basically grief for closing a chapter of my life and not knowing (still don’t) what the next chapter is for me.

Patterns in my life that I trace ev’ry day
Patterns as i say the things I always say
Patterns in the ceiling as I lie awake
Why are patterns haunting ev’ry move I make?

Then, that Mastin Kipp quote showed up and jogged my brain today.

“Circumstances in your life that hold you back are simply patterns that no longer work.”

Doesn’t that explain the job I left? I felt that my old job was a circumstance (or a hindrance) that didn’t allow me any opportunities for growth – I’d climbed the top of the mountain already, per se. In this particular market that I live in, this was the TOP job that I could have in my field around here. Seriously, peaking from the ages of 25-29 was not quite what I had in mind. Cool and all, but definitely not where I wanted to hit the high point of my career. The environment became almost hostile, frequently catty, and extremely dismissive to women. However, I was in the routine (the pattern) of going to work each day and doing my job – no matter how I was really feeling. I just did it, because it was the routine. It was what I should do.

Patterns that begin as I walk through a door
Patterns in the curtains and the kitchen floor
Patterns in the day’s routines I must arrange
Patterns in the ways I try…but never change

Just look, as I’m thrown a curve again
I leap, then I lose my nerve again
In tears, running home I go
Secretly relieved
Safe with what I know, again

Those last two lines especially sting me – “Secretly relieved, safe with what I know, again.” I had been applying for different jobs for quite some time before I eventually just decided to leave my full-time job. I would always find little things wrong with each one I was applying for or offered, but I stayed for so long because I thought it was safe to stay. I stayed because I was relieved to not have to look for another job, regardless of how upsetting it was to go to work each day. I could count on the safety of the place, even if the workplace environment was no longer serving me in anyways.

Back to the quote by Mastin Kipp, “…Change the pattern, change your life.” I’m in the middle of changing a pattern of my life. A change from the certainty to something a little less certain. I don’t know where this change is taking me, but I feel things shifting in a positive way. I would never have the chance to see what else is out in the world if I had remained in that job. I would be stuck in a place that offered menial wages for unnecessarily hard work, stuck in a job that wasn’t challenging to me anymore, and just stuck being genuinely unhappy and stifled.

So, readers, my message is this: start changing the patterns in your life. If it’s not working, find a pattern that does.

  • If that pattern is coming home after work and eating 3 bags of Cheetos on your couch, change the pattern and take a walk after work instead.
  • If that pattern is working at a job that makes you so unhappy that you can’t stand it, change your spending pattern and save up enough money to cover some major bills to quit – that’s what I did.
  • If that pattern is burning yourself out as a parent all day and all night, change that pattern and ask for help once in a while. It’s ok to ask for help and you’ll be a better parent when you get a moment for yourself.
  • If that pattern is overspending, change that pattern to something that better serves you in the long run (saving, investing, cutting expenses overall, etc.).

I’m changing the patterns in my life, but I haven’t quite found myself in any new ones yet. If I get another full-time job, I’ll probably fall into a new pattern. If I choose to move somewhere else, I’ll probably fall into a new pattern. That time will come, I’m sure. For now, I’m trying to enjoy the random spontaneity I have. I know it won’t last forever, so I should enjoy it while I can. I’ll get back into a pattern soon enough.

Tell me in the comments: What patterns are serving you right now? What about patterns that aren’t – how are you working on those?

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