Category Archives: Self-Awareness

Trusting Thyself

Right now I have “What’s next?” on my brain. Evaluating current state and thinking about my next move. Thinking about my future.

I haven’t been future-focused since I graduated from college. That was 20 years ago. And that is probably the last time possibilities were endless for me. I experienced each day with the future in mind. Hopes and dreams were alive.

Once I got married and had kids, everyday turned into survival mode. I was lucky to get the kids stuffed in the car for drop off, and make it to work on time. I lived to pay bills and possibly plan a vacation or do some big home project. Vacations never happened. Home projects were rare. I’m not blaming marriage for my life woes, but acknowledging that I let myself get in a rut and never got out of it until I was forced to.

After my divorce, losing my job, and being forced to sell my house quickly (only to live with my parents for the next year and a half), I found myself in the bottomless pit of survival. It was a challenge to feed my kids and wash my hair. I saw other people with their families out in public, talking about their jobs or plans. And I couldn’t fathom planning anything past the end of each day. I didn’t have a job, didn’t have cohesive family, didn’t have my own home, and didn’t have a purpose other than to survive for my kids.

After about 10 years of constant challenge, I have risen up considerably despite my weaknesses. I have achieved the unthinkable for me since just a few years ago: Stability.

This is my danger zone.

There are no big problems in my life right now (knock on wood). I’m caring for my kids, doing work in a career and company I like, making money, and happily keeping busy with daily life stuff. Minor challenges are merely temporary annoyances these days.

I felt like I was drowning for so many years, so this is a new territory for me. I’ve come up for a very long, much-needed breathe of fresh air. Everything is, dare I say it, Good?

It’s all very good. BUT, I’ve been conditioned to prepare for the worst – and I’m trying to shake that habit. Adjusting my mindset for the next great thing, not the next bad thing.

I say this is my danger zone because I’m capable of doing just about anything when I want to do something. That can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I can execute to make things happen, but it doesn’t mean what I choose is the best way forward. I stopped listening to others. Started listening to myself. My biggest threats include dating toxic med, career boredom, spending too much money, and quite simply not trusting my gut.

Right now I’m calm and quiet. Wide awake, but quiet. There are no loud voices in my head leading me in one direction or another. No noise. I’ve worked so hard to clear out all of the noise and distractions. All is quiet. Almost too quiet.

My mind keeps spinning with these words: Whatever you do next, choose carefully. Choose very carefully. This is what freedom looks like. I am free to do whatever I like, but choosing wisely is key to avoid losing my hard-earned stability and freedom.

Right now there is nothing to choose except to trust myself when the time comes to take the next step forward.

Stifle Me Not

Energy Reset

I underestimated the amount of time it takes to recover energy back from someone else absorbing it.

It took me years to want to date after getting divorced. I was fully depleted of any energy to do more than basic life things — eat, sleep, work, take care of my children. Even exercise was not part of my equation for a long time. I’ve slowly integrated that back into my routine in the last year or so. After getting divorced, it made sense that it would take years to actually want to date.

When I dated a guy earlier this year for about 3 months, it took me about 2 months to want to date again after that. The guy I most recently dated only lasted about 3 weeks, and it has taken me about 2 weeks to get through that post-dating slump. And it’s not like I’m this emotional crying wreck that is sad and desperately missing the guy. I don’t mope around, I’m just energetically drained and lack motivation after a break-up. I’m crystal clear that I don’t want anything more to do with these guys, yet somehow it exhausts spirit. I need to reset my energy every single time.

I’ve been trying to figure out why I wanted to date in the first place if I don’t even regularly hang out with friends? There are the obvious reasons of course (like the initial rush of attraction, etc.), but why do I truly want to spend my precious time and energy finding another person that I don’t know so that they may or may not work out?

I don’t want to be so negative, but the recovery period after dating someone is so exhausting. It knocks the wind out of me. And I don’t go into each relationship thinking it’s doomed or is going to last forever. I feel like I’m pretty realistic about being flexible with my expectations.

I don’t think dating is very good for me. I think it’s bad for me.

I’m not sure it’s worth it. I think people often date “just to have fun” or “as a distraction until meeting the one”… but aren’t they so tired? And I’m not sure there is a “the ONE”. I think there are lots of people you could be compatible if you crossed paths. If someone is going to exhaust me, stay off of my path please.

I’m focusing on my peace.

Stifle Me Not

Forever Thankful

Today was a typical Thanksgiving in my family. My stepmom and my dad buy all the food, do all the meal prep, and cook everything. I stay on stand-by to help where I can, chopping up vegetables for the veggie tray, setting the table, and getting last minute things done before visitors arrive. In between, I try to distract my 4 year old with toys and cartoons and fend off the attitude of the 10 year old.

The parents like to do the cooking, and so they do. I could do it. I have done it in the past. But for now, I will just relish the fact that they are here and healthy and doing what they love to do, even if it wears them out. This is how they show their love. I just clean as many dishes as I can at the end of the day.

Last weekend, a close family friend passed away. She was in her mid-50s, had cancer, and is one of the most memorable people I’ve encountered in my life. She was very real, and very giving. I know my parents are hurting. She is the 4th person close to this family to have passed away in the past year since I’ve been living here. I feel like it’s been an ongoing grief train around here. It’s all so sad, yet it makes you stop and think, and appreciate life much more. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

And with that, I look at my life and I’m proud of how far I’ve come. I’m proud that I’ve advanced my career so much this year, and I’m doing well with raising my kids, and I’m healthy. Tonight, I was looking at some past photos I had posted online from about 6 years ago. Originally, I just wanted to see how much my little girl has grown and wanted to soak in the memories of when she was little, but a flood of anxiety washed over me with each photo I encountered with my ex-husband in them. We “looked” so happy, and he “looked” sincere, and I was there and feel like it was an out of body experience that I was ever in that space at that time trusting that man. Knowing what I know now and the timeline of his infidelity, I became disgusted by each smiling photo of us. Of course I didn’t know then. But I did. Deep down I knew something wasn’t right, and even when I spoke up, I backed down in doubt of myself if the conflict I faced from him was too great. He didn’t beat me, he didn’t even directly verbally abuse me, he just manipulated each opportunity he had to ensure I doubted myself in his favor. And it worked.

I am thankful today that I have faced my self-doubt and anxiety over the years, and I’ve stopped giving my power away. With all the death that has happened this year, the best death of all was that of my self-doubt. Death makes you appreciate life; however, in life many fear death. I am forever thankful for this life and intend to live it using the gifts and talents that I know I have. The woman that passed away last week, she used to enter a room like a bright ray of sunshine. She owned who she was and she positively influenced others around her. I can still feel her energy and hear her voice – she was so sincere.

I want to raise my kids to know this lesson I’ve learned as a basic life truth. Self-doubt is destructive to the life we want. It is a silent killer of the sweetness of life.

I’ve slowly become my own ray of sunshine. It has taken weeks, months, years, but I’m living in my own best interest these days and it feels good. I’m forever thankful that I’m in a better place this November than last year. I can’t wait to see what next year brings.

Stifle Me Not

Retraining My Brain to Think About Me

Sooooo. I’m bored.

When I get bored, I think too much. When I think too much, I make decisions that I probably wouldn’t make when I’m not bored.

I’m trying to stop the insanity before it starts by trying a simpler approach: Let change roll in rather than pull it in.

I’m a change driver. I always have been. I know how to make things happen. It’s when I force things that it gets complicated.

I’m not saying I’m going go the lazy route and do nothing in my life. It’s the big life decisions I’m talking about. For those changes, I’m choosing to remain on the prowl and pounce during the right timing rather than roam out in the wild trying to make something happen, spinning my wheels, when it would be easier if I just waited it out in the first place.

I’m realizing too, that I’m bored because I’ve finally simplified my life. My ex added “excitement” (see: complications) to every aspect – from how I rushed to and from work, to what was for dinner, to how he judged my reactions to just about anything, to keeping me up late at night when he was out “hanging with the guys”. My life is simpler now, with less worries. I didn’t realize how “full (of shit)” my life was before; therefore, I was never bored with anything. There was always something for me to worry about.

Now I’m like “now what?” There is no urgency to please him, or anyone else. I didn’t realize before how  every response he had to something I did or didn’t do “shaped” (see: forced) all of my decisions. My ex kept me so busy with his shit that now I’m confused on how to live for myself. I suppose recognizing this fact is a first substantial step forward.

Wow, how relieving and bewildering all at the same time.

I realized my life would be simplified when I made the decision to split from him 2 years ago. But it’s 2 years later that I’m actually living my own life for me and not him. It’s 2 years later and I’m “bored” (see: not overwhelmed). I’m constantly having to adjust my perspective so I don’t force unwanted change that’s bad for me.

This lack of overwhelming complications in my life  feels like I’m waiting around for life to happen, but I have to remind myself that I’m really just adjusting my mindset to make the right decisions FOR ME without someone inflicting their agenda on my life.

It’s been difficult for me to make the smallest decisions lately – like my brain is fogged up and doesn’t know how to think for itself. I feel like a dog trained to do things a certain way for someone else, and now I’m on my own and I’m not quite sure how to navigate without watching for his response queues to guide me.

As I was typing this, my 10-year old came up behind me and gave me a hug from the back of me. I flinched. I seriously had a negative “get away” response to a very loving gesture. In my old life, I was so used a hug from behind (from my ex) being a sign of I need to stop what I’m doing and focus on him. If I didn’t comply, he would be be angry and the day would be lost to my simple desire to finish what I was doing – I could be typing an email, putting on make up, trying to pay a bill — anything he had no interest in was not to be confused with “priorities” in life (see: him). I was the selfish one, I was the rude one, I was the one that should look in the mirror and figure myself out for being so “unkind” (see: wanting to finish whatever task I was doing).

Whenever I get caught up in a decision-making cycle, I just have to ask myself: What do I want? 

Gosh, it shouldn’t be this hard. What a simple question that shouldn’t be so confusing. I guess it took me 18 years in a relationship to get this way, so 2 years being out of the relationship isn’t going to be an automatic fix.

So while I wait in boredom for the house of my dreams to surface in this horrible buyer’s market (see: wonderful seller’s market), and continue “not to date” (see: hide) in the process, I will keep retraining my brain.

I know I’ll get there. I’m a work in process for sure. My new life has already begun, I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

Stifle Me Not

 

Gifts Coming Full Circle

This week I talked to a mortgage broker and we made a plan for when it realistically makes sense for me to get pre-approved to buy a home. I could do it now, but I have a few more things to clean up before I go that route. The daily life of living at my parents’ house has not been unbearable. I have the patience and the will power to hold out a bit longer. I have a feeling the payoff will be rewarding. That feeling usually serves me well.

In the meantime, I refinanced my car this week. I asked the mortgage broker to refer me to someone that does car loans. He referred me to a friend of his at a local bank to refinance my car at a good rate. I had to get my ex’s name off of my car loan. When I scheduled the meeting to go sign the closing paperwork, I found out that my first payment isn’t until mid-November (more money to save for a house!) and I got a YETI cooler as a gift. I had no idea about these perks, but it was a welcome surprise.

Now, I’m not here being paid to endorse YETI, but as an owner of this brand’s coffee cup, I will say that I am a fan. I love keeping my hot drinks hot and my cold drinks cold. This brand figured it out and makes quality products in my opinion.

But this situation with the YETI cooler is a bit ironic.

Let me explain.

After being together for 18 years, and married for 11, I found myself becoming increasingly stressed when it came to birthdays, Father’s day, and Christmas gifts for my ex. I have a problem with giving, and over-giving. I give too much of myself and never expect  anything in return. Even if I do expect it, I don’t express my disappointment if I don’t get it. I make excuses for others and go about my business secretly unhappy. My ex knew that. I just figured it out in the last few years. Smart manipulating guy. Naive me (I was too busy thinking of others)… but not anymore.

So one of the last time’s I was stressing about getting him a gift (I think it was his birthday in 2017), I considered getting him the exact YETI cooler (that I just received as a gift for my car loan). Giving big nice gifts had become my thing. I felt like every year I was trying to outdo the last gift that I gave. But each time I would surprise myself and think of something even grander that he would love. And he did, he loved all of it. Well that year I looked into buying him a YETI cooler, and I was about to buy it. I had it picked out and was about to buy it online. But I didn’t. Something was off. I just thought  I shouldn’t spend so much money that year for some reason. Again, a little later I was at a sporting goods store and had the YETI right in front of me and almost bought it. Again, something was off. I don’t remember what gift I ended up getting him, but it wasn’t that. And I wasn’t excited by his reaction when he opened whatever it was that I bought, but I didn’t care for some reason.

I remember thinking later that I’d wished I had gotten the cooler because I wanted it. But whatever, I figured I’d just saved some money and moved on with life.

So now here I am in present day, and I’m relieved that I didn’t buy that damn cooler and listened to my gut. That small little whisper that says “hey, you, what are you doing?”… that little nagging thought that is surrounded by question marks and a weird feeling in your belly…

I recently listened to it again when that asshole was trying to talk me out of buying a home where I’m presently looking. And instead of giving into my frets about him trying to sway my decisions, I called a mortgage broker, which led me to the place where I refinanced my car, which led to my own free YETI cooler and more money for me to save toward my future home.

I’m going to buy a great home, and I’m going to throw a house-warming party with lots of ice and drinks in my YETI cooler.

I’d say this wasn’t just some coincidence. I see you God and your universe angels, quietly looking out for me. My eyes are wide open.

Thank for these gifts that promise cold drinks and peace of mind.

Stifle Me Not

Confident

I’m proud of myself lately. I don’t know who I’ve become, but I’m way better off than in previous years.

2 years ago, something seemed off, but I wasn’t sure what it was. Little did I know that I was going to have a “Life Overhaul” within the next six months.

1.5 years ago, I was literally in despair and consumed in a world of confusion and chaos.

1 year ago, I was about to sell my house and dive into the great unknown. No job, no relationship, no home as I knew it – no clarity whatsoever.

6 months ago, I was working a part-time job without benefits and just barely making ends meet.

Today, the possibilities seem endless. I’ve come a long way.

Lately, if I think it, I make it come true.

I’m not afraid to make things happen. If I want it, I go get it. I was never like this before.

Example: I’ve been at my job for a month now. I was told by my boss, when I first started, that I there would be an out of town meeting that I would have to go to. It was very early in the morning, meaning I’d have to go out of town the evening before, and stay at a hotel to be there in time. I knew full well that it was a good idea to go and begin forming relationships with people that I’ll be constantly working with.

I silently fretted about this because of my kids, but quickly made child care arrangements so that I could go.

So this week rolls around and my boss informs me that I don’t have to go for the full meeting. Just about 2 hours of it. What? He was trying to be nice. He was trying to be considerate that I have kids and not make me drive down the night before. I was disappointed because I wanted to meet these new people I’ll be working with. And I was annoyed because I already went to great lengths to adjust my schedule.

Old me would’ve been mad and just listened to my boss and only gone for the 2 hours I was told. All while silently resenting the fact that I should be there the whole time.

New me waited a day, voiced her opinion that it would probably better for the long term if I went for the full meeting. As it turns out, the boss was happy to get me a hotel room and have me come for the whole meeting.

This may not sound like a big deal, but in old me vs. new me land, it is. I used to let people and situations intimidate me. It would wear me out. And then I would wonder why I was so unhappy.

I just don’t feel so afraid of, well, life, anymore.

I hear myself talking to family, friends, co-workers.. and I sound confident.

Confident.

I’m happy with my job. I’m happy with my kids. I’m happy that I’m me. I’m so thankful for this feeling. It is amazing.

The possibilities are endless.

Stifle Me Not

An Uplifting Ending

Today was the day. The day I’ve been waiting for since I walked into my lawyer’s office on October 30, 2017.

Divorce Day.

Okay, it was Dissolution Day. Not as dramatic, but still a milestone in my book.

My mom accompanied me on my little journey up north. It was an hour drive. I dropped my son off at daycare, then flew home to put chicken in the crock pot (because that’s apparently what you do on Divorce Day – you worry about dinner and putting chicken in the crock pot). By 7:30 AM, my mom was outside waiting in the car, and I was hugging my daughter goodbye, pawning her off on grandma for the day.

My mom and I started out toward a Starbucks’s drive-thru, only to find out that it was closed because the parking lot was getting repaved. All I wanted was coffee and a smooth ride to the courthouse. I made my way toward the highway with the vision of a Dunkin’ Donuts shop on the corner. There was a drive thru line, but it was steadily moving. I sucked up the 5-minute anxious wait in line to get each of us a coffee and finally moved toward the highway. I was feeling a little behind, but we left early on purpose, so we were actually right on time.

The drive was fine. When we got off the highway up north in the busy part of the city, my mom got anxious in the passenger’s seat. I finally made it to a nearby parking garage where we drove around for eternity looking for a spot, and almost was driven into head on by a careless man in a sports car. I pointed at him and scolded him to slow down as he mouthed “I’m sorry” from his driver’s seat. Idiot. All I could think was that this dissolution must be meant to be for us to not have hit each other.

I dragged my mom to the correct court building, made our way through the security line, and up to the 3rd floor. I located the correct court room and spotted my soon to be ex husband at the same time. He was sitting there with his lawyer. I walked up to him and said that my lawyer was picking up some file and on her way. I was relieved to have made it on time, still anxious from the parking garage, and numb to the fact that I was about to get divorced. He pointed out that I should go check in with the bailiff, and so I did. I then sat with my mom on a nearby bench as she chattered at me about her dogs and other things that didn’t register fully. I was slightly annoyed that my lawyer was late (even though she really wasn’t). I just wanted it all to be over.

I finally saw my lawyer happily strolling down the hall toward me. This was only the second time I’d met with her in person. The first time was October 30, 2017. The second time now on June 4, 2019. She had the required paperwork with her, her and my ex’s lawyer conversed, and she had me review and sign a few papers.

Then we waited some more. I’m now an expert at waiting after the past year and a half.

Finally we were called into the courtroom. My lawyer and I sat together on a bench behind my ex and his lawyer. We basically watched as two other couple’s got their dissolution before us. It was weird.

And then it was our turn. Our turn to terminate our marriage. It was fairly quick. Maybe 5 minutes. We each had to answer a series of questions. I went first. Then I held my breath as he was asked the same questions. I almost thought he was going to protest something, but he didn’t. He didn’t. He hasn’t. He never once in the whole year and a half try to save any of it. And so that was why I was there — because he didn’t try.

At the end, the judge told us something that surprised me. She said we should be proud of ourselves for getting a dissolution and not putting our kids through a divorce. And I was proud. It was a long crappy road, but I think we did do a great thing for our kids.

Before I knew it, we were ushered out of the court room and on our way to get certified copies of divorce decrees. We waited there, together, with our lawyers and my mom. It was awkward. Nothing like waiting around in a records office with your ex and some divorce lawyers. My lawyer chattered about a bird she had saved a few days ago. How were we talking about a bird?

Once I walked out of the court house and into the sunshine, I felt a weight lift. I felt very free. The drive home was smooth. My mom and I chit chatted the whole way. I wished I had taken the day off, but since I just started my new job, I didn’t want to miss a whole day already. I dropped my mom off at her car, got some lunch, and headed into work. No one in the office knew where I had been, but I felt good and just wanted to get some work done.

Leading up to this day I kept thinking that I’d feel bad somehow. I kept thinking this would be a negative experience. The whole process sucked, but this ending is not bad. It is good. It is me being honest with myself and living a life that isn’t suppressing my spirit.

Today was an uplifting ending to the start of what could not be if today never was.

Stifle Me Not

 

Appreciating My New Little World

I started my new job last week. I like it. There’s a lot to learn, but I don’t care, I’ll get there. I know it takes a good 6 months to get comfortable in a new job. I’ve done this before, I’ll do it again. What’s most refreshing is the atmosphere. The people are nice. It seems like they just want to get their jobs done – imagine that. They seem to be craving the stability of a long term Human Resources professional, just like I’m craving the stability of, well, anything in life. We’re a match right now. I’m happy to be the one they picked. I appreciate this job.

On Friday my kids went with their dad for a couple of days. And I went shopping. It was fabulous. No one to follow me around whining, and no one impatiently waiting for me at home. I wasn’t on anyone’s timeline except my own. I shopped my ass off. And apparently the clothes were waiting for me, because the majority of what I tried on just fit. I was long overdue to buy a few things that fit and make me feel good.

Last night I went to see a stand up comic with my sister and her girlfriend. It was so nice to slow down, go out to eat, and go to see some entertainment. I even wore a cute dress. My sister bought the tickets as an early birthday present for me (even though my birthday isn’t until July), but I was the third wheel straight girl.  I couldn’t help but watch all the couples. It was fascinating. They didn’t all look that happy. They looked comfortable. The girls looked dressed up for their guys, and the guys looked compliant to their girls. I felt like I was watching a pre-show before the show.

For once I had dressed up for myself and not my ex or anyone else. I’m so over getting ready for someone else. I wasn’t too fancy – it was just a comfortable black racer back t-shirt dress with flip flops, but since my hair wasn’t a mess and I had on make up and earrings, I could’ve gone to the beach or a nightclub. My goal for the night was comfort (for myself) and confidence, not “hey, look at me, I’m single, take me home now.” I chose the cute flip flops, whereas my ex would’ve begged me to wear the uncomfortable wedges. No, just no. I can’t walk in them and it looks like I’m wobbling on stilts every time I get up from a chair.

And so, I watched as different couples interacted and the girls struggled in their pretty shoes and snug dresses. Then the show started and it was hilarious. Laughter was just what a I needed. I love literally laughing out loud uncontrollably – it’s one of my favorite things. We had front row tickets and I was a little star struck being that close. It was just an all around fun time.

My original plan for the night was to go to my sister’s house and pre-drink, take an Uber out to eat and drink with dinner, then take an Uber to the show and have some drinks, and then who knows where the night would take us…

Well, apparently we (I) don’t do that anymore. The drinks didn’t flow. No pre-drinking because there wasn’t enough time. One drink with dinner, and one drink before the show. After the show, we were all yawning as we waited for the Uber to go home. That was it, and I didn’t mind one bit.

I was grateful for the lack of drinks and to be able to drive home to my comfortable bed (rather than sleeping on my sister’s couch with her cats staring at me all night).

I was grateful for no hangover this morning when I woke up.

I was grateful for not doing anything to accommodate someone else.

I discovered quite a while ago that binge drinking wasn’t fun anymore, but my ex wouldn’t let it go. He loves being out and is a social butterfly – he’s an attention whore. The only way to connect with him was to keep up with him. Now that I don’t have to do that anymore, I feel nothing but relief.

Big sigh of relief.

I like the new calm little world I’ve created for myself. I’m not living life for anyone else right now and it feels good.

New job in progress. Successful shopping trip. Comedy show with some much needed laughter. I’ve had a good weekend so far. I think I’ll keep this goodness going.

Stifle Me Not

 

 

A Day of Endings

In the last 24 hours I:

  • Resigned from my current job
  • Found out my dissolution court date
  • Went to a funeral

It’s been a day of very final endings. Changes are happening very quickly. It’s funny how when you’re waiting for something, it can seem like an eternity. But in an instant, everything can change – for better or worse.

In my case, the first two are for the better. I’ve resigned from my current job to move onto the next chapter of my career. I’m very excited for this; however, in the moments leading up to when I actually verbalized that I’d accepted another employment offer, I felt like an anxious mess. That’s when I realized that I’m  not a quitter. I hate quitting things – even if it isn’t something that isn’t best for me, I always try my hardest. Quitting isn’t in my nature, and so I suffer a little when I’m the one that brings the end to something.

I don’t like to quit on people and disappoint anyone, but I’ve lived up to that a little too much. I’ve forgotten that I’m harming myself when I put too much effort in for others. After quitting my job, I felt great. Renewed. I can now move on.

Soon after quitting my job, I got a text from my ex about our court date. Funny how my lawyer is so slow that I haven’t heard it from her yet, but whatever, at least I know. I swear every time I quit or surrender or just plain stop beating my damn head against the wall, I finally get some good news.

I give up, here you go.

I quit, here you go.

I”m not trying anymore, it’s alllll yours. 

Life is so weird.

Over the weekend I found out that a distant cousin of mine passed away. Today was the funeral. He was my age. We weren’t close, but I know he was kind. And he was struggling. I’m not sure how his life ended, but I know his death impacted many. No matter what happened, his death was a reminder that life is precious and it can be gone in an instant. His time was up without warning.

I’m enjoying all of my new endings that will lead to new beginnings, but I’m well aware that any of it and anyone can be taken from me at any time.

It’s time to move on, and savor each moment. I plan to enjoy what I can and deal with whatever isn’t so enjoyable.

Stifle Me Not

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