Today is the second “snow day” here in metro-Atlanta. Roads are iced, rooftops are covered in icy white snow sheets. It may be Thursday before the roads are safe enough to drive on again. What better time to sit with a cup of coffee and ponder?
Days like today make me glad for my introversion. Often, I mourn this quality in me. I am hard-pressed to become comfortable in large crowds; being asked to “mingle” is akin to being asked to inject myself with a very large, unnecessary needle. So to be confined to my house for days at a time is something of a poetic blessing for me. It gives me time to ponder, to work, to clean, and to content myself with the surroundings I have chosen.
But such is a time to think about my fears and insecurities. I start a new job in less than a week, and though I rationally know I am a perfect fit for this job, I still worry. What if I am no good at it? What if I don’t learn what I need to know quickly enough? These are the kinds of insecurities that are all too easy to dwell upon when you are confined to your home for days on end.
The greatest of these insecurities, though, is the fear that I am misapplying my degree. Have you felt this way: that the hard work you put into a degree will be wasted somehow if you do not choose a career (or even just a job) that directly correlates to your field of study? I am sure that many of us who have studied the humanities have felt this. Perhaps those of us who are still newly-minted [insert degree letters here] feel this seeming contradiction even more acutely because we have yet to reconcile the two realms of our academic passions and our in-the-world loves. Or, perhaps, we feel it because we simply have not acquired the tools for understanding the connections between study and practice that already exist.
This, too, is a double-sided joy of introversion: the irresistible compulsion to ponder and the sometimes overwhelming fear of quitting all that pondering and just starting acting.
On days like today, when one is necessarily confined to one’s house, pondering may itself be a form of acting. It is the act of acknowledging fears and waiting patiently for peacefulness to come. I know I must physically act, and eventually I will. I will get to work on the projects that fill my home, and I will get to work on the much-needed act of understanding myself and my context. But for the moment, I will sit and sip. I will ponder. And I will write.