Rocky Ground

It’s been over half a year since I’ve posted, and I’ve got no good excuse as to why that is.  It’s a combination of things.  In the past 6 months, a lot of things have changed and I have had a hard time keeping up.  I have been busy working and doing whatever else I do.  I’ve been procrastinating.  I am not often in the mood to write.

Though, I do want to mention that I do have 9 drafts on topics that I want to write about, but the completed versions of those drafts haven’t come to fruition.  I do desire to finish those up, but a few of them are so old that the information is not completely relevant anymore, so you might not see those.  Or, I might try to revise them so that they are relevant.  We’ll see.

But, I do want to talk about the first reason why I haven’t written: In the past 6 months, a lot of things have changed and I have had a hard time keeping up.

When I last posted, I was on Sol 93 in DC.  I was working as Marketing & Operations Intern at InnovatorsBox and as an Analyst Fellow at Clarity Campaign Labs.  I was still looking for a full-time job, which meant sending out resumes, going to interviews, researching, etc.

I’m not doing those things anymore, and here’s how they have changed.

  • Firstly, my fellowship at Clarity ended in December 2016.  I learned a lot about politics, data, the campaigning side of government, and the political environment.  I got professionally and personally involved in the US election.  I worked with some awesome people, with whom I shared a lot of memories (especially on election night), conversations, and “FABIO”.
  • Secondly, today marks my last day at InnovatorsBox.  I can’t believe that I have been working for InnovatorsBox for over 10 months!  I also learned a lot in a different way, and I gained valuable skills in project management, event planning, relationship building, content writing, marketing, operations, and team building.

Check out some of photos of my InnovatorsBox coworkers and me. Photo credit to DJ Doherty and Shanay Miles,

Right now is a good stopping point for my time at InnovatorsBox so that I could rest and get ready for the next transition in my life: my new job.

  • To explain, thirdly, I am no longer looking for a job because I was offered a job in December!  I remember when it happened.  It was towards the end of the work day at Clarity, and I received a phone call.  I was speechless, and I felt a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
    I will be an Administrative Assistant at USAID > Global Development Lab, supporting two teams: Feed the Future and Scaling Off-Grid Energy.  I’m excited about the role because I get to finally dive into what it means to do international development work, surrounding two very important topics: food security and energy.  Plus, the Global Development Lab (Lab) tends to operate differently from the rest of USAID.  They are more data, innovation, and technology driven, and probably the department I wanted to work under the most.
    But before I start working, I must go through a background investigation and get granted security clearance.
  • Therefore lastly, I am no longer living in DC (more accurately, the surrounding area).  I am living at my parents’ house in LA.  I had decided to move back to my parents’ house to wait out the background check because I can’t afford to live in DC without a paying job.  From here, I worked remotely for InnovatorsBox, was able to skip the east coast winter, and spend time with family.

Essentially, everything about my life has changed from what it was 6+ months ago.  The change has been good in some ways.  I am no longer looking for a job, which is a big deal, I get to spend more time with my family (especially my nephews), and I get to enjoy California weather.

But, in other aspects, I feel like the changes have placed me on rocky ground, primarily because of the nature of the background investigation.

When I moved back with my parents towards the end of the December, I was tasked to complete some background check forms and then, wait.  I had estimated that I would be back in DC by the end of February (which I was, but that’s a different story).  But, my case had not even been open for investigation by then.  So, I asked a few questions and estimated to end of March.  Then, the end of April.  And now, it’s May.

Can you deduce why this situation became difficult for me?

At first, I was pretty excited to come home because for the first time in a long time, I could take a break from always thinking about the future.  I rarely get this opportunity.  All I had to do was wait because I knew what I was going to do in the future.  I didn’t have to apply to another job or internship or program.  I had a job, so I was just going to enjoy myself.  Sounds great, right?

But, the indefinite timeline of me being at home eventually made it hard to plan my time, especially since it seemed like my investigation could be done and I would be cleared at any time.

Could I go on a long trip?  What if I needed to be available for an interview?  Should I look for a job in LA and work a couple months?  What commitments could I possibly make or what plans could I possibly have, given the possibility of me leaving at any time?

So, in the end, I spent a lot of time at home.  I felt like I couldn’t leave my mom by herself to look after my nephews, so that was 2 days of the week.  My mom isn’t driving much these days, so I chauffeur her around – to her work, the store, etc.  Weekends were usually dedicated to spend time with family.  I made a few plans with friends, but actually, most of my friends are in the Bay.  Really, a lot of my time went towards working for InnovatorsBox (note: my employment contract required me to only work ~4 hours a week, which I easily exceeded) because there was always something I could do and I had the time to do it.

After 2-3 months, I started having… an existential crisis… for the lack of a better phrase.  Time seemed to fly by, but I didn’t feel like I was doing anything productive.  Things that I enjoyed.  I was living day by day with no greater goal or purpose in life.  I felt like I was just taking up space and waking up to do nothing.

This feeling is compounded on the feeling that for months, I have never felt at “home”.  When I first moved back to my parents house after graduation, I had decided to move to DC so that was temporary.  When I was looking for jobs in DC, I was living at my aunt’s house, knowing that I couldn’t live there long-term and understanding that if I didn’t a job by a certain month, I would have to leave.  And now, I’m still living out of a suitcase and sleeping on the couch in my parents’ house because I could leave any time.  For a such a long time, I just haven’t felt like I geographically belong anywhere.

This feeling is also compounded on the general difficulties of living at home and family dynamics.  I don’t feel like I have independence nor do I often feel like I’m a capable adult.

(This feeling is also compounded on the stresses and heartaches of the current political climate, but that’s another story.)

So, in the past 6 months, a lot of things have changed and I’ve had a hard time keeping up.  This is probably because I really haven’t taken the time to step back, be mindful of my feelings, and try to deal with them.  I’ve been swept up with the motions of life – doing a lot of busy work but not anything meaningful to me.  I feel like I’m metaphorically learning how to ice skate, and I keep falling on my butt and sliding across the ice.

To this day, I still don’t know when I am going to receive clearance, but I hope that now that I am no longer working for InnovatorsBox, I can start spending my energies on things that bring me joy.  This blog is one of them.  But, also reading, socializing, meditating, and maybe picking up another hobby?  I hope that if spend more time on me and take care of myself, I will be able to find my balance on this rocky ground.

Thanks for sticking with me. Over and out.

“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.”
– Lao Tzu

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