I can bring the memory to the forefront of my mind so easily. New Years 2013. I felt elated, almost giddy with possibility and excitement. I had felt the stirrings of inevitability at the beginning of other years too. But this was different. I just knew to the very denseness of my bones that J and I were embarking on the greatest time of our lives, both separate and in our relationship. Little did I know that this year would be different. And it would bring change. Just not in any way I could have expected and truth be told? Not in any way I would have accepted back then.
I'm not ready to tell the full story yet. So forgive me for being brief about some of the story. It might sound like I don't care but let me assure you, I care too much. And my heart still has too many puzzle pieces floating around to be able to put the true story into words. So I'll say it quick. Beginning February 2013, the earth my life was grounded on shifted. My father passed away due to suicide, a few months later my beloved cat Diva passed away due to natural causes, albeit very quickly and unexpectedly and then I was fired from the job I had held for 6 years. And now it's June. The month I turn 35 and head back down the hill towards an age I can't even fathom yet.
It's strange. The first two major events have been more painful than anything I could have imagined. Really, more painful than anything I've ever read about or seen on TV. And the hits never stop. Some days they just graze off my cheek but most days, I'm down for the count. And can't imagine I'll get up again. I guess no matter how hard we try, there is no way to prepare our fellow human beings for loss. Not the kind you see coming nor the kind that picks you up and body slams you to the ground with no warning.
After I received the phone call that took my income stream out from under us, I have to admit the feelings bubbling to the surface in that moment were different. Still a little sorrow, I had been there longer than any other job I've ever held. It was a point of pride although it seems the owners didn't know that. And there was definitely hurt. That they hadn't respected me or thought I was great enough to deal with some of the consequences from my losses. I will admit I may not have been the best employee for a few months. But the overwhelming emotions ringing through my soul were relief and excitement. I had been talking about leaving for well over a year. The company environment was caustic. Nothing but gossip, pettiness and constant fighting to keep your clients and your money. And my position in sales really did nothing for me or my brain. I loved the customer service and project management aspect of it. I still do. I will give that job credit for one thing. I found at least some semblance of purpose. Some sense of what I am really really good at. But back to the point. The place was sucking me dry of everything I hold dear and I had been complaining for way too long without actually being the change I needed. So that day the world shifted for the third time this year? I felt elated at the possibility that things were going to be different this year. That it was time to makeover my life in the ways my heart had been crying for for a very long time. As J put it. Let this be the last domino the falls. And now it's time to pick them all back up again and set them up to fall differently, maybe a little bit better next time. Or not at all.
I speak the most about this for two reasons. I've already mentioned the first; I'm not ready yet to dive into the deep end of the pool and tell the other stories. But I also tell it because that feeling has shifted a bit and I need to get the new feelings out. They are somewhat eating me up right now and I don't want them to take over the joy in chances I found.
So, I'm frustrated and a bit scared. J and I are okay at the moment. He has a full-time position, we have a bit in savings and I am collecting unemployment but I do need to find something sooner rather than later. And there's the rub. It's been a month and I am having a very difficult and soul-crushing time of it. Some days there is nothing out there. Some days I send out 10 resumes and never hear anything back. Other days I get a call for an interview for a part-time position that would do more harm to our finances than good. And other days, I can't figure out where I fit and what I want to do with my life. I know I don't have to find a job I'll stay with forever. But I don't want to work just to work anymore. I've done that since I was 15. After everything this year has grabbed, I want to grab a new path forward. One that entails loving what I do and knowing that there is a world of possibility in it.
Another source of frustration is this new world of technology and social media we live in. Who knew that so long ago, sitting in front of AOL chat and taking HTML courses at college, feeling elated that I was going to be on top of this new frontier, that so many years later I would end up feeling like my grandparents did? That it's gotten out of my control and I have no clue what to do. I find myself overwhelmed most days. I'm on Facebook and I'm on LinkedIn. I've learned how to do a few things to network but so far, it isn't working to my advantage.
There have been a few moments. A few neighbors out walking their dog who stop to chat and ask me to send them my resume. Nothing from it yet but the offer each time makes me feel the world is in my corner. So I'll keep trekking. I can only move forward right? And when the worry, frustration and confusion comes to knock on my door, I'll write a blog. Or call a friend/family member. Or just walk away from the computer for a bit to do something creative and refocus my energy. It's all in God's hands after all. This is His journey for me. My hands are in the air and I have to ride this roller coaster until it's very end.
So I leave all of you with this. Some day I'll tell my Dad's story. When I feel he has given me the permission and the right words to open up our wounds and our hearts. But know that in all that God has taken from me this year, I know that there is a purpose. And He loves me and wants me to find that purpose. May just not be on my time table. And there may be more loss, pain and sorrow before it becomes clear. But I'll keep my hands up in the air and enjoy the ride as best as someone with my big ole' heart can. And take the hits when they come. They may leave a few bruises, cuts and scrapes but they won't kill me.
And keep getting on Craigslist, Simply Hired, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, blah blah blah.
God doesn't want me to give up. Dad doesn't want me to give up. And I don't want to give up.
I want to have my eyes wide open when my place in my journey becomes hard to ignore or escape.
Thanks for listening.