I’m a gal who likes to have plans on plans on plans for things as far in advance as possible.
You would not know that, based on my behavior this past year.
I. How much wood would a wood fan work if a woodwork job would work?
At year’s start, I was working a data entry job that, under a change-up in management, had grown increasingly miserable. I wanted to run, but I didn’t know where to – until, on a whim, I said, “Why not try carpentry?”
Since, y’know, I liked wood, and I heard carpenters make good money, plus it’d be skills I could take with me anywhere, meaning I wouldn’t have to feel tied down to the Chicago area.
…Once I’d completed my 4-year apprenticeship, anyway.
So began the months-long process of getting into the pre-apprenticeship program.
II. Trippin’ down the road
In the meantime, early summer found my sister and me on a road trip to—
Me: “Where you wanna go?”
Sister: “I dunno.”
Me: “Pittsburgh? I hear Pittsburgh’s nice.”
Sure, there was minimal planning before we set forth. We booked our hotel rooms in advance, and mapped out a budget of roughly how much we expected to spend. But otherwise, the whole venture was explore-as-you-go. And by and large, the results were good, including walks along water, art shows and animals sanctuaries, an impromptu viewing of “Wonder Woman”, and more.
III. Wish granted
Not long afterward:
Me: *is depressed*
Mom: All right, none of that. I’m sending you to see “Aladdin”.
And I mean, you can’t always make your brain less sad by saturating it with a dazzling onstage performance of your childhood heart’s first love. But it sure worked wonders this time!
IV. Will Scarlet dies smiling
Then came carpentry school and Temporary Apartment and – the year’s highlight – a visit from BFF Tirzah Duncan! Her coming was very much planned. More spontaneous was our attendance at the Wizard World comic con.
Me [scrolling on Facebook]: “Oh, hey, it’s gonna be in Chicago the weekend you arrive.”
Will Scarlet: “Wait – JOHN BARROWMAN’S going to be there?!?!?!”
Tirzah: “Ohmygosh, can we—?”
Me: “ORDERING! PHOTO OP! TICKETS! NOW!”
Honestly, the Barrowman thing was an entire blog post unto itself.
V. Lightning Strikes Twice
Weeks later, I’ve dropped out of carpentry and am questioning absolutely everything about my life. But then—
Me [scrolling on Tumblr]: “Wait – MAGGIE STIEFVATER has a book tour stop in Chicago in two days?!?!?!”
Will and Tirzah: “Babe, you should totally—”
Me: “ORDERING! SIGNING LINE! TICKET! NOW!”
This, too, was an entire blog post unto itself.
VI. Living the dream?
Back at my parents’ house, prepping for my split-decision move to California. I knew I needed to land a paying job, so I started filling out online apps for everything from clerical gigs to warehouse work. Not that I really wanted to do any of that.
Hypothetical voice: “So what do you want to do, Danielle?”
Me: “I don’t know! Why can’t somebody just pay me to run away to the woods?!”
Yosemite National Park: “So hey, that dishwashing job in our super fancy hotel you applied for? It’s yours.”
VII. What comes next:
I have no idea. There’s a month left in 2017 – the year Will Scarlet laughingly (and rightfully) dubbed my Year of Winging It. Anything could happen, particularly if my unpredictable pattern holds going into 2018 and beyond.
It’s a terrifying prospect. And yet… *looks back on it all* …just maybe it’s the life I’m meant to live.