Monday, May 09, 2005


I'm reading Soloing: Realizing Your Life's Ambition by Harriet Rubin. The books is ostensibly about giving up the boring 9-5 grind for a life of soloing (not freelancing) that would be more satisfying. Soloists take on projects that yes, get them money from clients, but also help them to grow as people. Soloists push themselves. They rely only on themselves. There is no organization to credit or blame.

And I don't want to leave my job. I love my job. I love what I see as my future career path. I want a PhD. I want to run psychological studies with a focus on adolescents and drug use and so forth. I think that's what the high-ups want from me. But until I get a PhD, I'm a gopher.

This is a great book for people who want to leave corporate America and people who don't but want to know that they've chosen their job. I choose my job. I freelance on the side - I'm a writer. I go to school on the side - I'm a student. But I choose to work where I work, knowing what else is out there because I find it satisfying and I find my career trajectory satisfactory.

In other news...I went to the Dominican Republic with Healing the Children to pick up 35 kids and bring them to the US for medical care. It was exhausting. There were 3 unaccompanied kids under the age of four, one of whom had plastic wrist braces that he used to hit me with. That was fine. I'm used to pain, and if he was hitting me then he wasn't running away from me or causing a scene in Immigration.

But there was a girl named Marileidy. She cried when we took her from her mother. Then she went catatonic on the plane, and finally fell asleep. Her head kept hitting the raised arm wrest, so I rearranged her little body so her head rested on my thigh. She was quiet the whole ride to the church where she'd meet her host family. She didn't make eye contact and held tight to her backpack. I carried her off the bus, and she tolerated it.

But when I found her host family and set the child on the host mother's knee, she started screaming crying again, reaching and pulling at me and not wanting to let me go. I tried to explain that this family would take care of her, that this family would look after her and love her, and I couldn't, but she only spoke Spanish and wouldn't understand anyway. Somehow we had bonded during that walk off the bus. Somehow we needed to unbond.

It was hard. It was really hard. But I walked away from this child that was sobbing for me to stay. I lost myself in the crowd so she couldn't see me. And I started to cry.

My brother was there. He's tall, and he was wearing a sweatshirt. I hugged him, like hugging a wall that absorbed tears. "Aw, did you let yourself get attached?"

It's been days. Marileidy's probably forgotten me. But I'll never forget her or the look in her eyes as I left her with strangers, good strangers, or how I suddenly felt a sliver of the pain her mother must have felt, walking away from this crying child.

I'll never forget.

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