Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Diving In

"Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm." Marcus Garvey

That's where I think I've been these past few days - in the whirlwind or the storm - because it certainly has not felt like reality. In the past five days I've been offered a new job, picked a friend up at the airport, ran a half marathon, baked cupcakes for Pi day, dropped a friend off at the airport, accepted a new job, had dinner with the mayor, and given two weeks notice at my current job. With the exception of airport drop offs and the half marathon, all were new experiences, and as I sit here and I think over the past few days, I cannot believe how quickly my life has changed.

So, where do I start?

I guess I start with the phone call I got from the mayor on Thursday. "Lauren, this is the mayor. I've got a job I think you might be interested in. Give me a call."

Yes, it really was that casual, and yes, I was sitting on the other end pushing repeat, just to make sure I hadn't missed something. So, I called back. Turns out the mayor wanted me to come in and meet him during lunch on Friday to discuss a job. No details were offered. Just a time, a date and a location. 12:45pm, March 12, City Hall. And that's where I went.

I met with the mayor for about 14 minutes and 22 seconds... literally. Basically, he was starting a Green Initiative, he needed a Program Coordinator, he thought I could do it. I would contract with him for a year, and then we'd see. I had until Sunday night to decide. So, with a little over 48 hours to consider his amazing offer, I left City Hall and went back to my legal job. The entire time thinking, "How can I turn this down? But how can I accept?"

The offer was risky. I'd have to leave a legal job with people I cared about and venture into politics. I've never been a politician. I'm a book nerd. I've never done policy work at this level. I write position papers, and read statutes. But now I'm being an opportunity to work on environmental policy for a city that I love. And, I get to work on the initiative from the ground up. It's daunting to think about, but it sure is tempting.

Racked with indecision, I called my Dad, then my Mom, then I picked my friend up at the airport. We went winetasting in Lodi Saturday, made macaroni and cheese Saturday night, set our clocks one hour ahead, went to sleep. The next morning I ran a half marathon. By the end of it, I had made up my mind. I would take the job. It was the opportunity I had been looking for. Sure, it was risky, and the offer came completely out of the blue, but I was certain that an opportunity like this would not come along anytime soon. Plus, the new job gave me another reason to stay in the city I love, and enjoy another California spring. (Nothing like a good run to put your life in perspective, right?)

So, I crossed the finish line, went to brunch and indulged in French Toast. Made cupcakes and indulged in LOTS of delicious pie at a Pi day party (Brendan's Pecan chocolate chip with a buttermilk crust was divine), put my friend back on an airplane, and e-mailed the mayor my decision. He wanted to meet for dinner, and over a huge greek salad we talked about my new position, our ideas for the Green Initiative, and what we both hope to achieve.

I left dinner elated, and a bit lightheaded.

I don't know what the future will bring, but I know that I am glad that I am taking this chance. It is the right move for me, and no matter where this decision directs me - the storm or a whirlwind- it will be a chance to grow, to learn, and to pursue a passion. Can't get more exciting than that, right?

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