Monday, January 30, 2012

Struggles of a returned missionary, part III

This is more backstory -- I'm trying to take you up from January to where the story actually starts, in maybe June or July. Because the fact that it didn't happen in January or March or May is also a story

Luckily in the days and weeks after my mission I was very good about my journal-keeping, which helps me to tell a tale broader than memory.

I carried my journal - one of those 80-page spiral-bound college-ruled notebooks, with me everywhere – almost lost it twice, too. Filled two of them up between January and June. A lot more than I filled up in subsequent weeks.

Reading it today is interesting. It was only a year ago, and looking back on it, I often shake my head. My otherself seems impossibly eager and excited – I’ve become more burned-out and cynical, segmented between a Sunday Christian and a work persona in whose day-to-day life the gospel lacks relevance.

I shake my head.

I feel like I made some mini-Faustian bargain.

On the one hand, I get the “management consulting experience” with technical skill development. On the other, I accept negative job-related factors (being at the bottom of the totem pole with no one watching out for me, a stress-filled work environment, long hours), that seem to bleed over into my spiritual life.

Of course, some of these are just general first-job-out-of-college problems – I remember my friend Marisa recounting them to me.

I made an equation – Potential for Good = Desire x Skills. The second part of the equation is increasing while the first decreases.

Some of the differences I see in my old self:

The successes he notes in his journal, the things he’s excited about, are related to the duties he’s performing: home teaching, his calling. He brought Jenn to a home teaching visit with a sister and she really helped to break the ice. He is taking the authority he has in his FHE co-chair calling seriously and trying to be a gracious host and delegate tasks for people’s personal development.

He seems to have lots of free time – how did he keep up this journal? He is often pondering and meditating.

Meanwhile, I can see some crucial events in fast-forward, as January turns to February to March, April, May.

A job fair, followed by lots of practice consulting questions, following by descriptions of the people I met and my interviews at Mars & Co, followed by my offer and acceptance. I was pretty stressed and worried about it at the time, though of course reading it at the time it seems like “of course it happened this way.”

Scripture study, of course – Institute was going through the Doctrine and Covenants. While I often take notes on scripture study in classes, I rarely if ever find anything useful in my notes when I review them. Maybe just by writing it down, I helped get it into memory, but maybe I need to take more complete notes of fewer points.

I describe wonderful and happy times with Jenn. Then these start to be interspersed with doubts and worries about our communication and whether we’re right for each other. Finally, the last predominate, and by May we break up. That happens, and I come up to San Francisco to scout out a new place to live after graduation. I find the place where I’m living now, the room with the bed on which I’m laying now.

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