Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Next Trapeze Bar

While I was living at my mom's house, I came across Jenny Blake's blog, Life After College. I remember clicking through post after post early one Saturday morning and agreeing with so much of what she had to say.

I felt pretty lost after graduating from UW and landing my first full-time job. As I shuttled my weary body to work on the hour-long bus ride each day, I wondered, "Is this it? Is this what my life will be like until I retire or die?"

Jenny's blog helped me realize there is so much more to life than just work. Her writing helped me realize there are limitless possibilities and opportunities all around me — all I have to do is be open to them, and then seize them.

In March, Life After College the blog became Life After College the book, and Jenny took a sabbatical from her job at Google to do a self-funded book tour.

She happened to land at the University Bookstore on the Ave tonight, and I happened to have the great pleasure of hanging out with her.

At just 27 years old, Jenny is incredibly wise, bubbly and personable. I don't think she stopped smiling the entire night. Despite her long list of accomplishments and enviable circle of friends and connections, she instantly made me feel like we could be best buds. (Can we, Jenny?)

During her talk, she read a passage from her book that quotes Danaan Parry's Parable of the Trapeze. Parry's (very abbreviated) story goes like this:

Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I'm either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I'm hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.
Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along at a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I'm in control of my life.
I know most of the right questions and even some of the answers.
But every once in a while as I'm merrily (or even not-so-merrily) swinging along, I look out ahead of me into the distance and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It's empty and I know, in that place in me that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness coming to get me. In my heart of hearts I know that, for me to grow, I must release my grip on this present, well-known bar and move to the new one.
Most people feel stuck at some point in their lives. Maybe the solution is simply to look for the next trapeze bar, then take a leap.

(I've known for a while what my next trapeze bar looks like, but I'm still working up the courage to jump.)

After Jenny's lovely talk and book-signing, I headed to the District Lounge with this whole crew to visit over drinks. And despite not knowing a single person beforehand, I had some great conversations and an overall awesome time!

For example, Caleb (far right) is getting married in July. Then he's off to explore New Zealand for an entire year with his new wife. He's also made it his mission to educate twentysomethings about personal finance and help them become debt-free through his blog, Pocket Changed. And, like me, he's just 24.

Obviously we had a pretty kick-ass discussion.

Caleb and Jenny are both attending this weekend's World Domination Summit, so I can actually count some friends amongst the attendees — now there are only 498 strangers for me to face.

But if those strangers are anything like the people I spent time with tonight, I'm in for a pretty fantastic experience. See you in Portland!


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