Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Boston....and then what?

Dear Reader,

I've been in Boston working for Stoss Landscape Urbanism, and I believe it's been over 2 months since I've last written to you.  I know I promised to be around more often and I'm sorry for dropping out.  Life swept me under and carried me away into a mental void that I've just recently emerged from.  During that phase, every facet of my personal life stood still- from catching up with friends, family, even with myself.  The project I worked on- Harvard University (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/04/renewing-a-hub-of-harvard/?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Science+Center+Plaza+%281%29&utm_content)- pushed me to my limits, and I think my brain has been re-wired...if not, it's been flipped around and taken out of the water like a beached whale.  Now that the work is more or less complete, I'm now sweeping up the loose bits, catching up on sleep, and finding more time to re-think my career.  I'm only here on a short-term contract after all, and after Boston I really don't know where I'll end up.  Should I go back to California, or should I try my hand at another East Coast firm?

I've thought about the options- one would be to move back to California, maybe stay in San Francisco and try my luck at Fletcher Studio.  It would be nice to be close to my family in Los Angeles...and it would be nice to take care of my mom who has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.  It would also be nice to be close to my sister who will soon to be out of her marriage; and yes it would be nice to take care of my younger brother who is struggling with a personal crisis.  I know I sound quite severe, but I find this year has been full of severity- so much unprecedented mental struggle in my family.  I find it my responsibility to support them by being close.

The kicker though, is I feel my career and life is here, on the East Coast.  I want to reach my personal goal-  to work for a design firm that merges architecture and landscape architecture-  so I could flex both of my design backgrounds and reconcile their differences.  There are such cutting edge firms here, adept in exploring this on practical and theoretical levels.  It's also close to Europe where I've yet to do more traveling and give myself the potential to meet up with friends and networks in the UK/ Continental Europe.  I feel my love life is here as well.  I can't explain it, it's rather intuitive really; but for some reason I don't think I'll meet the right one close to home.  I know it sounds ridiculous, though to be honest when has love and intuition ever been entirely rational?  I don't think Southern California has ever suited me well either...I love seasons, cold weather, and the type of "reality" the East Coast has to offer.  I'm not a masochist; I don't like running in a New York rat race, and I don't like trudging through miles of snow just to get to work every day.  Though, I do know that the East Coast provides the challenges I'm looking for, and if I give myself too much slack, I'll end up wasting the talents I've been given.  If I'm struggling for the right reasons, I'll feel stronger, more capable, and above all grateful to be alive.

Looking at both options, I feel completely undecided.  Would I be selfish for preferring to live my own life, away from a family that needs my support?....If I chose California, will I be happy to be close to my family, and not look back thinking about the "what ifs"?  How do I find a happy medium, and for what cause should I act upon?? 

I guess that's what I'll do- to pray for a cause and be proactive...I do hope it comes in time.  I only have a few days left.

Lesley Ann