Pessimistically optimistic at the seashore…

I’m in Florida this week with my family minus my two big girls, enjoying a resort with a pool, a bay side view, and a nice white, sandy beach. “Life is good” says my T-shirt, and it is. Thanks to a generous gift from my father-in-law, we can enjoy this time together while the kids have school break.

All would be blissful if everything had fallen into place on the Friday before we left. I had expected a call back about a job – one that I’d interviewed for on Wednesday and had a call back on Thursday for a second interview. The job, a 30 hr/week position which barely paid a living wage, was exciting and challenging, and would evoke all of my creative talents. I was optimistic that it seemed I was the only person called back for a second interview, as the director was headed out-of-town right after our 8am meeting. I was feeling good, thought we had a great rapport, and was eager to get going on the job. All I thought she had to do was to check my references, which I was confident would be superb. Friday came and went and still, knowing that she hadn’t reached them all, I was disappointed to not hear over the weekend, but excused that fact and then again for the Monday holiday. By Wednesday, I finally got a call and was shocked to hear that she had given it to someone else.

I could have gone spiraling into a downward mope of depression and self-pity, and even though I did feel sorry for myself for a moment, it just wouldn’t  last. What I felt predominantly, was anger- at myself(again)for letting any job get into my psyche that much before I got it! I think that I’m going to get it, and I know that if I don’t stay positive, it could affect my interview, and if I say to myself, “you probably won’t get it anyway,” or “that interview really sucked” for various reasons,” or if I keep telling myself  “if you get it, it’s a bonus!” then I am casting self-doubt. That will never get me a job. Either I’ll get it or I won’t. In one case, I’ll be happy(I think), and in the other case, I’ll be upset, sad, and depressed. How long will and can I stay that way? We’ll see.

Being a very visual person can be a curse, you see, because I can see myself projected into a role easily, complete with my work attire, organized desk area, daily routines, and even the lunch I’ll pack. When I ‘m called for an interview, I diligently research the job, finding out about everyone involved in the organization, policies, staff, website, publications, history, business trends, innovations in the industry-you name it, I know it! So when I don’t get a job, it’s like a nice dream I just awoke from and discovered it didn’t really exist. It’s a major let-down and hangs with me for days or weeks, during which time I also rationalize every possible reason I might have not succeeded: “Too old”, “over-qualified, will probably leave for a better job,” “too gay,” “too strong and self-assured,” “really wants to take my job,” “won’t fit in with our style,” and the list goes on.

Am I pessimistically optimistic or optimistically pessimistic? I used to believe that I was a perpetual optimist. I could find the good in anything and always believed that things would work out for the best. “Whatever will be, will be,” is my motto, and I truly believe in the will of my higher power, but lately, I’ve got this she-devil sitting on my shoulder, saying “I told you not to get excited over that job.” “No one wants to hire you,” “you’re a threat to them,” “you’re too eager and want it too much!”

So here I am, at the beach, knowing that instead of jumping feet first into a new, exciting job on Monday, I’m still searching, sending off resumes to jobs that I mostly don’t want at places I can’t imagine working. That rare special job has eluded me again and I just need to believe that a better one is waiting for me. It just needs to come soon!

I went out for a walk on the beach alone today, heading out for some exercise and thinking time. While I could have collected shells, admired the surging waves and water fowl, I kept to my intentions and tried to just keep up a good stride and think about my feelings. I thought about one of my favorite books, Gift from the Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and the beauty and life lessons she extracted from the nature around her. I won’t pretend to have found anything as profound as that, but I did come to cherish the importance of my time here with my family and the memories that we’re creating. I picked out a few shells on my way back, snapped some interesting photos, and now am sharing them with you. Everything happens for a reason!

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