I’ve been here before, fifteen years ago. It was right before I was hired at my last job, where I worked for fourteen and a half years. I was deep in that limbo phase, between identities, full of discord for the not knowing. It was yet another exercise in letting go – not the first, and definitely not the last.
Most people who have a blog know that the way that it looks is called the theme. There are thousands of themes out there to choose from – many are free and some that might be more technical have a cost. But the great thing about them is that in most cases they are super easy to change. All you have to do is search themes, upload one you like, and then click “activate.” When you have several already uploaded, you can switch back and forth just by clicking activate, and you can even preview how your website will look with that theme using your existing content. It’s fun and exciting! If you don’t like a theme, you can always immediately switch back to one you do like. And if you decide that you won’t be using a theme again, you can delete it. And check this out! If you delete a theme accidentally, you can just as easily upload it again. Why can’t everything in life be that simple and straightforward?
I know. Because it’s life. Life is messy and unpredictable, complex and untheme-like. But as I sat at my desk this morning thinking about how I feel being in the middle of a job search, seeing the gray, threatening sky out my window, and experiencing that discord at the uncertainty, telling myself that I really didn’t want to write a blog post about that, I saw a note that I had written to myself just the night before. But I saw it in a different way.
I had been installing an update to the theme for this website, and I jotted down some instructions that the theme developers had given in a video tutorial. The first step in the simple process was to install another theme, such as an existing default theme, not a new one that needed to be uploaded. That theme would be up for just a minute while I installed the update.
So I sat there and stared at that phrase in my own handwriting – install another theme – and it only took a few seconds to hit me. That’s what I needed to do for my outlook. It’s not just about changing my attitude, it’s about embracing a whole new outlook on my life. Sure, every day I try to be positive and tell myself I can’t wait to see what life has in store for me with my new job, whatever it will be. And if I “install another theme” in my life, it will affect the appearance of everything in it, all of my “content,” not just how I feel about going through a job search. Because we are so much more than what we typically use to define ourselves.
Fifteen years ago, I didn’t install another theme, and one was installed for me. I know that I was meant to be where I was, and I “bloomed” where I was “planted,” as the saying goes, and although this time around I fully intend to let go and allow whatever is meant to come into my life to do so, before that happens I’m going to install another theme. Something to do with identity, purpose, and more sun, even if it’s just on the inside.
[photo: a walking buddha at the Marble Temple in Bangkok]