In Seattle there are a good many Canada geese in the city. They’re tame, with a deep sense of entitlement that leads them to take ownership of your dock, your lawn, and your dog’s food. It’s goose paradise, with no predators, plenty to eat, and a temperate climate that doesn’t force them south in the winter. Lake Union can host major conventions of them at one time.
Geese, however, are migratory waterfowl. Their hardwiring runs contrary to this static form of comfort they’ve stumbled onto. And so you see them several times a day, gathering, honking, taking to the sky, circling the lake a few times and then… landing in the same place they were.
Sometimes, as I proceed with a new career or new area of interest, it seems I’m an Urban Goose, moving with some exertion and competence, taking flight, and landing pretty much in the same place I started. Humans often go through the same domesticated patterns, as the days and years and lives go by. I really didn’t want this to be me. You hit a certain point in life, you know? There go the geese, bon voyage, have fun in Alaska… what? You’re not going to Alaska? Aren’t you getting bored here in the park eating the food that people toss you from the Ivar’s fish bar dock? You’re all packed. Why are you still here?
I’ve gotten myself a career coach and am halfway through the nine sessions, in order to figure out reasons to be aloft and how to leave the urban lake and free french fries behind. Can purpose be discovered, uncovered, flying just high enough above the safety to catch a tantalizing view of the edge of one’s future? Is it already there, or is it invented? Do we make meaning up, to feel significant? Can we serve humanity and also wheel around the lake in a flock in a show of unfulfilled potential? Is comfort the enemy? Is a planned exit better than Pulling a Chuck?
I’ll get back to you on all that.