Category Archives: Positive Attitude

Staying Strong as the Seasons Change

Well, so much for committing to blog more regularly. Of all the things to happen, the hinge on my laptop is broken and I had to take it in to get repaired. It’s going to be a week or so before I get it back. In the meantime, I found another computer to log into and will try to keep up as life continues to throw curve balls at me, just like anyone else.

I attended the first class of my HR certification course. I forgot what it was like to read and study. It makes me feel young again. I have all of this experience to apply it to so I I’m retaining more than I would have if I took the course sooner than now.

No job prospects this week. I’ve applied to some and no response…

I reached out to a past manager of mine to see if he wants to have lunch – not to beg for my old job back, but to catch up and see if there are any possible opportunities that he might be able to influence. I left on good terms (this wasn’t the company where I was laid off from). Other than him being disappointed that I chose to leave, I don’t think I made an major faux pas during my departure from that company (other than the departure itself). I figure it’s worth a shot. I won’t know if I don’t try. I’m waiting to hear back from him on what date works for him to meet. It’s been a few days now, so I hope he’s not ghosting me.

I’m in the 3rd season of my unemployment. When I drove out of my past employer’s parking lot with tears in my eyes and relief in my heart, the bright sun was deceptively shining through the freezing cold mid-morning air. I enthusiastically began networking, applied for unemployment benefits, and optimistically jumped into job searching. I quickly answered phone calls from unknown numbers and honestly thought I would have a job in no time. It was still winter at the beginning of this journey. When I saw that my benefits would expire in September, I did not fathom that it would ever take me so long to get a job. I figured I would have this all “figured out” by early summer at the latest.

Spring and warm weather were a relief. It was great to go outside and not just be indoors all day. I did not give up hope that I would definitely snag a new job opportunity in no time. I had phone interviews and call-backs to show for it. Progress was being made. I was putting in the effort and have a great resume. Surely some lucky employer would give me an offer. I just needed to get some live interviews. That was the key, right?

Spring turned into summer. It was getting hot. I was still talking to different companies about opportunities almost weekly and I finally secured some in-person interviews. That was it, that’s all I needed. People like me, and I have the experience and professional stories to back up what I know I can do.

Rejection after rejection after rejection. Or no response at all. The cowards do not dare reject formally. They simply do not respond.

Then the reality become clear that I’m not who I used to be and my personal life has taken more of a toll on me than I ever realized. No matter what efforts I’ve tried to ensure that my professional and personal life stay separate – I am one person and they are major parts of who I am. I think employers see right through my facade of being able to keep it all together. As I casually answer interview questions in the best way I know how, I’m giving off the vibe of a shell of a person that has nothing left. I’ve not been a whole confident person this entire year, so why would you want to hire someone like that?

Starting my new certification course has been eye-opening. I need to keep learning professionally without interruption until I retire and beyond. Um, my blog is all about learning new things each day, am I blind or what? But seriously, I’ve been in Learning & Development for so long that it’s almost like I was too focused on learning for others and neglected my own interests. I would then race home to tend to the needs of my family and that left no time for my own development.

Now that I’m reading and learning again, I feel like a hungry animal that has come out of hibernation after far too long. I LIKE it. Where did I go for so many years?

So now summer is ending, and the leaves are turning colors, and fall is a week away. I’ve learned so much this year, including that I cannot stop learning in any area of my life. I can’t neglect the things that make me whole. I can’t neglect myself.

I recently had another disturbing dream. I went to visit my past employer – the one that laid me off. I entered the building and some people were glad to see me and others were new and had no idea who I was. Someone whispered that I must leave quickly and without anyone seeing me because a senior leader had implemented guards with rifles. I got out of the building and ran into the parking lot. It was raining hard and there were puddles everywhere. I jumped through a giant puddle to get to my car and was quickly swept away by a flash flood. I wasn’t drowning, I was swimming hard, so very hard. I almost gave up, but told myself if I could just ride out a wave of flood that was coming, I could make it and it would drop me off on the pavement ahead. And that was what happened. I made it to my car, the water receded, and I woke up.

I can’t give up, that is not an option. I’ve come so close and I can feel the right opportunity right around the corner. Here’s to continuing to be hopeful and positive while doing the things that keep me strong.

Stifle Me Not

 

 

 

Preparing for the Great Unknown

Today appeared to be a normal day of errands, but it was not. It was a preparation day for future days of a new life.

In one week my life will change forever. My kids and I are moving back to my childhood city (which is about one hour south of my current home). Today I drove down there and registered them at their new schools. My daughter will be going to a school that I once went to. I felt like I entered some weird time warp when we walked into the school. We turned in her registration paperwork and she got a tour from the dean. She looked so relieved after the tour. She could see that it wasn’t so scary after all.

After registering her, I registered my son for his first year of preschool. He didn’t care. He whined the whole time about how he wanted to go out to the playground. I’m glad he won’t remember most of this life transition since he’s only three.

Somehow, after six months of trying my ass off, I still do not have a job. Let me be clear that I have come so close. I have made it to all but being the final pick. And almost weekly I have prospects. Right now I am juggling 3. So as much as I feel like an unemployed loser, I know I’m trying. Sometimes I feel like I’m not trying hard enough, but that’s my life story. I always feel like I’m not doing enough, and then I wind up exhausted. I’m trying to balance “trying hard” vs. “beating myself up”.

So after next Saturday, my home will be mostly empty. I will stare at the empty rooms and try not to cry that my first home ended like this. I’m not moving to a newer, bigger home in the suburbs with my husband and kids. I’m moving in with my parents and my kids, without my soon-to-be-ex-husband, so that I can reset and recharge and rediscover who I used to be and who I still can be. I’m going to be surrounded by my support system of family and not feel alone like I have been for the past 10 months. I’m going to ask for help when I need it and know that I’m loved unconditionally by them.

My husband and I didn’t work out, and it’s now transitioning 4 human lives and 2 dog lives. This is hard. This is very hard.

My soon-to-be-ex-husband is buying a new house. I have mixed feelings about this. I almost feel like I should be in it. How weird is that? I don’t want to be with him, yet I feel abandoned that he’ll have a new house and I have no home. Of course my parents will tell me over and over again that their home is my home. But it isn’t MY home. While I’m sad that we’re moving on like this, he will take our furry pups. My neighbor has graciously offered to care for our dogs in between leaving this current house and until he closes on his house in the fall. I’ll be very worried about my dogs while they are temporarily not with either of us. But I’m happy to know that they’ll have a new forever home. I’m unable to bring them to my parents house. It breaks my heart that I can’t have my dogs, but I have the kids, so I’m over the moon thankful for that.

I feel like this is the first giant step of many to come, but the alternative is to freeze up and stay stranded in a sea of unhappiness and self loathing. That doesn’t sound appealing. So this week I will finish packing and prepping for the great unknown.

They say that when one door closes another one opens. I feel like this is a giant damn door that is taking forever to close. It’s like it has been stuck open and I haven’t been able to fully close it yet. Like strong winds keep blowing it blown open. As motivated as I may be to close it and as hard as I try, it has just been a long time coming. Next weekend I will close that damn door. Although I don’t know what lies behind the next door, I feel like it has to be a whole hell of a lot better than the last 10 months.

Wish me luck.

Stifle Me Not

May 29th Lesson: The Creativity is Coming Back

When I was engaged to be married, I remember being so full of ideas and creative energy. My favorite place to be was the craft store. Pinterest wasn’t even around then, but it didn’t matter because we had MAGAZINES. I clipped out pictures and generated ideas from my own mind for my wedding and my friend’s bridal shower. I found a new love of scrap booking. I made my friend, who was also my roommate all through college, a scrap book as one of her wedding shower gifts. I had an entire room of my house filled with crafty things and scrap booking materials.

After having my daughter, I was going to make a small scrap book dedicated to her. I just found the scrap book and paper, nine years later, in a box that I was cleaning out.

Apparently, my creative energy died somewhere  between getting married and now.

I also used to have another blog, which I started when I was pregnant with my daughter and I kept it going for about four years. I have always loved to write about everything and nothing all at the same time. One day, I just stopped writing. Sometimes I go back and read my old posts and think I was quite funny.

But my motivation for doing anything that took time away from every day routine just sort of went away.

Lately, I want to do stuff. I actually want to write each night after I put my kids to bed. I don’t feel like it’s chore. And tonight I decided that my daughter and I would reuse the empty scrapbook from nine years ago to make a summer scrapbook this year. I got out my big bin of scrap booking supplies and showed her all of the old goodies I had. She loved it. I loved it. It was so much fun. I can’t wait to see how it looks by the end of summer. And there’s other little things that I want to do…

My creativity is slowly returning. After a long hibernation, I can feel new ideas wanting to come out. It’s been so long.

Stifle Me Not

May 23rd Lesson: Quitting is Not an Option

I got another job rejection today. Via email. That was fun. One minute I’m spending some quality time with my son. The next minute I check the one unread email on my phone and my world crumbles. Again.

Luckily my son went out with his dad today, so I had some alone time to recover.

It goes something like this:

What am I doing wrong? Am I doing something wrong? 

How do I not have a job yet? 

Am I too old? 

Am I overqualified? 

Do I say dumb things? 

How is this happening? What can I do to change it? 

[insert ugly crying face and tears here]

I then get a grip and give myself a pep talk. Every. Damn. Time.

Some days I can take a full day to recover. Some days I take a few hours. Today was about an hour and a half. Then I had to pick up my daughter from school. I can’t pick up my kid at school with a tear-stained face and doom and gloom attitude.

Before I knew it, my son was home from time with his dad and it was dinner time. There was no use in moping around.

Tonight I applied to two more jobs.

I’ve applied to 28 jobs since the beginning of March and have maybe talked to two of the employers. I have not had a face-to-face interview with anyone yet. This is discouraging beyond belief. I went from never having time off and making almost six figures to watching the grass grow each day and making more peanut butter & jelly sandwiches than I have ever thought I would in my lifetime.

One things is for certain that I learned today: quitting is not an option. I have to keep trying for my kids. If it was just me that I was worried about, I may have given up by now. But nope, quitting is not an option.

Stifle Me Not

May 21st Lesson: Cleaning the Mess for Myself

I’ve been letting someone else (not) lead my life for entirely too long. If I don’t do it, who in the hell is going to do it?

Yep. It has become more an more apparent that I thought my not-yet-ex-husband was supposed to do this, that, or the other thing. In the meantime, I could have very well taken the lead, and didn’t. And now here I am, cleaning up what I should have picked up long ago. Learning to do things I should’ve learned long ago.

Today I cleaned out the garage. Do you know how many times I’ve cleaned out the garage in the 10 years that I’ve lived here?

Never. Nope. Not once.

That wasn’t one of my jobs. I just parked in the garage and got annoyed if I didn’t have enough room in the garage. I expected my husband to do it because it was a dirty man job. I worked, and I had my home wife jobs that I did, so why in the hell would I ever clean the garage?

My son was playing in the driveway and I got fed up staring at all the mess and dead leaves in the garage. I  got a lawn bag for leaves, a trash bag for trash, some boxes to categorize things, and got to work. I hung up yard tools, moved the snowblower to the back of the garage (since its May), put all of the toys on one side, cleared off a shelf for gardening items, consolidated things in boxes, and swept out the musty dirt and leaves.

And now I know what crap is in there and what isn’t. I had no idea about half of the stuff that was in the garage. Now it feels like its my garage and not someone else’s.

I also started cleaning up a corner of the basement that is most definitely the mess of my not-yet-ex-husband. It’s where he has dumped his tools and post-project trash for years. It just sits there and collects dust and dog hair and pisses me off every time I pass by it on my way to do laundry. I’m an organized person by nature, but when I know I have nothing to do with a mess, I am hands off and I will let it grow mold before I own it.

The garage cleaning motivated me. I went in the basement to switch a load of clothes and ended up getting a trash bag and some boxes and just started organizing the giant pile of man mess. It’s not done yet, but it’s enough of a start that I have a clear path to finish. Maybe when I’m done the entire basement will feel like it’s mine and not someone else’s.

Today I learned that I can take charge of a mess (even if its not mine) and make it nice for myself. If I don’t do it, who in the hell is going to do it?

Stifle Me Not

May 17th Lesson: Pulling My Thought Weeds and Proud Me

I did yard work from 10 am to 5 pm today. I took a break for lunch and put my son down for a nap, but I was on a mission. I wanted to fully weed the flower beds so I can put flowers in and mulch down tomorrow. Then I mowed the entire yard.

All I could think as I was weeding is that it was like navigating thoughts. If you don’t consistently get rid of the bad weeds, they will take over the flower bed and everything will be a mess. If you consistently pull out the bad weeds, it may be constant work, but its manageable and the flower bed stays maintained.

Okay, I’m over analyzing weeds. I need to get a life.

I’ve been trying to not be negative lately. Sometimes its hard to stay positive, and I don’t think I really have to be all “I’m great!” and be all overly positive. I sort of just want to punch overly positive people in the face. How negative is that? Anyway, I’ve been trying to just not let negativity overtake my mind. Yesterday was rough because I was feeling nothing but rejection from every direction. Today I was overthinking and making weed analogies, but at least I don’t feel like an emotional pile of dog poop.

By the time I was done weeding, it was 4 pm and I was beat. My back was aching from being bent over all day. My quads were on fire since I literally did squats all day. And my hands felt like they were in a permanent state of carpel tunnel. So what did I do next?

I mowed the lawn.

I’ve already mentioned that I’m a lawn mowing newbie. This is only like the fourth time I’ve mowed the lawn on my own. Yes, ever. I was 21 years old when I met my husband. I lived in some sort of apartment and rented throughout most of my 20s. I was 27 years old when we bought the house I live in now. And 11 years later, this is the only house that I’ve ever personally owned, and I just never had to mow the lawn. I have always been the housekeeper and the gardener, but not usually the lawn maintenance person.

I may talk about lawn mowing like 50 more times on my blog, so let’s just prep you for that right now.

I feel like I’m finally starting to get the hang of it. My not-yet-but-soon-to-be-ex-husband took the kids to the park so it was just me and lawn mower. Mr. Lawn Mower started up on the first attempt and I happily trotted around the yard like I finally knew what I was doing. I even knew when the bag was full of grass and emptied it before blasting grass clumps all over my lawn.

As I moved to the backyard, I just couldn’t help but be glad that I’m in decent physical shape. This day kicked my ass, but I could handle it. I was counting my blessings that I have a healthy fit body,. This crap is hard work. I will say that I have a newfound respect for all the work my husband has been doing on the yard all these years, but he’s double my weight and has quite a bit more muscle mass, so whatever.

It makes me happy when I’m able to get something done that I don’t usually do. It makes me even happier when my not-yet-but-soon-to-be-ex-husband brought the kids home and told me the yard looked nice (with a look on his face like damn, she’s actually is doing it). I really don’t care if he gives me compliments anymore. I don’t trust anything he says. But I still know what he’s thinking. I know what the look on his face was when he gazed out the back door at the nicely mowed lawn.

So, after six long hard hours of yard work, I learned that today I’m proud of myself with my new lawn mowing capability. I know I’m not the first woman on the face of the earth to mow a lawn because her shitty almost ex-husband no longer lives there, but it’s my own little proud moment, so I’ll let that little light shine.

Stifle Me Not

May 16th Lesson: The Rejection is Taking its Toll

It has been 6 months since I discovered my husband’s secrets. That was a big rejection for me. For my own well-being, I had to reject him.

It’s been almost 3 months since I was laid off, being rejected from my own place of employment (that I didn’t care for overall, but needed the paycheck).

It is a regular basis that I get automated emails telling me that I’m rejected (in so many words) from yet another potential place of employment.

It is May. It is nice weather. This is the month every year when I start running, but I’m not feeling well. My body is tired, my sinuses are clogged, my head hurts. My body is rejecting me.

You would think that clearing all of this negative energy from my life would help lift me up, and some days it does, but I am learning that all the rejection is taking its toll on my body, mind, and spirit.

“I will get through it,” says my stubborn brain to all of this rejection.

Stifle Me Not

May 14th Lesson: The Magical Oil that Brought Peace of Mind

I have been combing through my daughter’s hair for exactly one month now since discovering Head Bug Epidemic 2.0. As of tonight’s combing session, I’m confident that she is bug and nit-free. I was fairly sure all was fine about a week ago, but those creepy little bugs (and the mess they leave behind) instill the utmost paranoia and anxiety in me. So I overdue the number of weeks of combing.

They seriously make me crazy and make me cry. I’m pretty sure I cried the first full week. The actual bug itself is creepy, but I don’t usually cry over bugs alone. It is the amount of work it takes with combing and preventing re-infestation that really makes me cry.

This time I discovered a new natural oil, Neem oil. It repels them AND it kills them. It is a such a stinky oil, but I swear it works. I read about it online and ordered some on Amazon. Peace of mind is everything.  The Neem oil really helped with that – and my gosh the smell alone was a reminder that it was working to repel anything that may want to live on our heads. It really does smell awful.

I could go into the whole story about Head Bug Epidemic 2.0, but I really just want to leave it in the past right now. I do have some tips for dealing with it that I’ll share in a later post. For now, I just want to give my daughter big hugs and continue to repel any unwanted head visitors going forward.

What’s my biggest lesson of the day (and the entire month)? Use Neem oil regularly to keep that crap away from our hair. We had some stinky hair, but it sure was soft! I will always keep a stash of that oil in our house.

Stifle Me Not

May 11th Lesson: I’ve Got This

Today I mowed the yard again. It was easier this time. The mower started right away and never stalled once. That was nice. It’s been a week since the last time I mowed, which was frustrating as all hell.

Are you all sick of me talking about yard work yet? It’s damn metaphor for my life right now. I can’t help it.

I was never one of those women that was all “I don’t mow the lawn” just because I couldn’t mow the lawn. It was because my husband always just did it. There was no big discussion where I announced that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do it, and he never said that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it. He never cleaned the bathroom, and I never mowed the lawn. There were just some tasks that we each owned and didn’t share. I certainly wouldn’t have been sad if he cleaned a toilet as I’m sure he’d be quite happy if I mowed the lawn (correctly, his way).

So here I was today, confidently strolling through the yard with my non-stalling lawnmower. I didn’t even mow over anything dumb, like a bunch of rocks. Before I knew it, I was done. I gave myself some positive self-talk before I started and that may have helped.

I know that the next time I mow, it may not go as smoothly. There may be some challenge. But for now, I’ve got this. I can do this. Today I learned that I’ve got this.

Stifle Me Not

May 10th Lesson: Timing is Everything

Today I was in a big funk. I didn’t do anything particularly productive.

Wait, I did fold three loads of laundry. And I did apply to two jobs.

I spent entirely too much time on the cover letter for one. It drained me. Cover letter writing shouldn’t drain me, but it does. When I’ve been a hiring manager in the past, I hate reading the cover letter and go straight to the resume. I was trying to make it not suck. Trying not to suck is tiring. Like “Hey, I don’t suck, here are my skills and experience, but I’m not boring, wait, I have a personality, but not too much that I seem desperate, and oh I like your company, and I’ll fit into your culture, and do you like me enough to call me yet?”

So after doing a whole lot of nothing this morning, 3 loads of laundry, and two job applications, I was just a little over being stuck in this no-job rut. I’ve been trying to make the most of my time “off” by spending quality time with my kids, doing some much-needed yard work, cleaning out weird shit in the house that is long overdue (like the freezer was disgusting, ew).

After I put my son down for his nap, I cried pity party tears of frustration and was overwhelmed by my own unknown future. I just like to just get things done. Too much thinking gets me to over thinking which gets me into trouble. I let myself have my pity party, and then went back to checking various social media sites entirely too much. And in the midst of my despair I saw a new email from a company that I had talked to at the end of April. It was just a phone screen interview with the recruiter, so I knew the next step was either a rejection or a phone call with the hiring manager.

Before opening the email, I braced myself because the first sentence started out with “Sorry…”, but it was the beginning of a quick apology for them taking so long to get back to me. It was a positive email from the recruiter asking about my availability next week for a second phone interview with the hiring manager.

My tears of self-pity instantly vanished and I had a little ray of hope again. I can do this, I just need to hold on a little bit longer. And this is one of the jobs I actually liked and hoped for a call back.

The funny thing about this position is that a similar situation happened in April. I had just gotten a rejection email from another company, I went into pity party mode, and the next thing I knew I was reading an email from this current company asking for a first phone interview.

Today I learned that sometimes timing is everything and you just have to wait. It may not work out, but then again it might. Let’s stay positive for this one. I want this one.

Stifle Me Not