Strange Days

It’s been a strange 38 days. I haven’t had that many days to myself, with no work or school obligations, since I was old enough to get a job. That was fifteen years ago. The first couple of weeks held some freelance work, but ever since then I’ve been pretty footloose and fancy free. Even in the summers in high school and college I didn’t sit at home idle, so I have barely known what to do with myself from day to day.

My unemployment thankfully seems to be drawing to a close, but despite my stress over finding a new job and the possibility that it might take a long time, the break has been kind of nice. I almost hate to admit it, but it’s true. I wish I could say I’ve been super productive and cleaned my house from top to bottom, made amazing meals every day, and written an entire novel, but I can’t. I have let myself relax and do as I please. I’ve spent time with friends and family, read books, watched a lot of TV, applied for a lot of jobs, gone on interviews, written, slept, and generally remembered what it is like to not be a ball of stress who dreads going into the office. Like I said before, I think it was a blessing in disguise that I was laid off, because I really wasn’t happy. It opened me up for the amazing opportunity ahead of me that I feel will really utilize my talents and help me to grow.

I’ve been lucky to have amazing family and friends surrounding me and supporting me through it all. They’ve made it so much easier on me. 38 days isn’t so bad, considering that the average unemployment length is about as many WEEKS. It hasn’t been a cakewalk, but I am glad in a way that I had time to clear my palate, so to speak. I feel refreshed and energized. I’m ready to pick back up on all our plans…moving, decorating, enjoying Christmas and New Year’s and my birthday. I’m ready to move on.

Muddling Through

It’s been a crazy month. There are some days where I feel excited about what the future holds, there are others that I feel stricken with despair and worry.

I lost my job at the very end of last month. That’s never happened to me before. I wasn’t fired, and I wasn’t exactly laid off either…the official line is that “my position was eliminated.” It wasn’t because I did a bad job, or because they didn’t like me, but that was cold comfort. I truly enjoyed my job and the people I worked with, and it was hard to say goodbye. They tried to find a place for me elsewhere in the company, but nothing materialized. It wasn’t meant to be.

I’ve been very blessed in the meantime by a nice influx of freelance work that will keep us going through at least the end of the year. That has been a great comfort in my mind, knowing that we will be okay for a little while after my severance runs out. It gives me extra wiggle room to find a new job. I would love to do freelance full-time, but that is the plan for a few years out when we have a nice chunk of savings built up and Mr. Velo is out of school. Right now, freelance is just too uncertain to count on.

I have applied for a number of jobs so far and had one interview. It would be an amazing job at an amazing place that I have long admired. It was a great experience that I hope bears some fruit. I’m applying for new jobs every day. I’m trying to keep my search parameters within what I truly want to do rather than all the things I’m capable of and good at doing. I’ve come to realize over the past five or six years that while I am good at a lot of things, only a few things make me truly happy and fulfilled in the workplace. If it comes down to it, I will take a job that isn’t The Right Job to make sure that I take care of our family, but until that time comes I am determined not to settle.

November is typically a month of extreme creativity for me, because I participate in National Novel Writing Month. I love the project I am working on and have been trying to write it in different incarnations for about six years, but my heart and mind have not been in my writing. I have so much to think about, so much to worry about, and quite a bit of freelance on my plate. I am not going to stop writing it, but I don’t think I’m going to “win” National Novel Writing Month this year, and that makes me sad.

I am also bummed out about Christmas. It is my favorite time of year because I love getting presents and I love giving them even more. All our extra cash is going to have to be saved in the event that I don’t find a new job soon, which means that we may not be able to buy gifts for our families or for each other. Part of the joy of the season for me is buying just the right thing for someone and seeing their face light up when they open the gift. I am hoping that we’ll at least be able to do some handmade things to give people in the event that I’m still unemployed. I was also looking forward to a nice, leisurely vacation around Christmas and the new year. I guess I’m on vacation earlier than planned, though it’s anything but nice and leisurely.

Our move is going to be pushed out by probably a month, which isn’t a big deal. We’ll be there in February instead of January. That will give us time to help make the estate sale happen, clean the house thoroughly, do some painting, and hopefully have the money to pay movers. With my back problems and general clumsiness, I really don’t want to try to move large pieces of furniture down stairs ourselves.

It sounds like I’m pretty upset about all this, and the truth is that I am, but I’m not. Some days are great, some days are awful. In general, I’m looking at everything that is happening as an opportunity for even better things in my life. I genuinely feel that things happen for a reason, and that things will turn out just as they are meant to. But it’s hard sometimes to keep up a positive attitude. I am lucky to have an amazingly supportive husband, family, and friends who are keeping me afloat. I’m muddling through, and I’m going to be okay. I just hope it’s soon.