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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Thank you Alec Baldwin!

I haven’t met Alec Baldwin or talked to him or even seen him on the street, but he’s been a big part of my life’s “work” or should I say “play,” in the last month. Since I was laid off from my job on December 13th, the behavior for which he got thrown off an airplane has now transformed most hours of my waking life into a less-boring non-job, playing “Words with Friends!”

I’ve always been a competitive scrabble player, but this really brings the game into my everyday life instead of a “friendly” game now or then with certain friends. I now know that there are 16 two-letter words that start with “A,” and was surprised to discover there are no 2-letter words at all with a “C,” “V,” or “Z” in them. There are also many more words with a “Q” and no “U” than I ever imagined, and I don’t pretend to know or use more than a few of them. Exciting life, right?

Mainly, what I’ve learned from becoming unemployed again, is that unless I have something to do, a job or a daily to-do list (that I’m getting compensated for), I get little to nothing done with my day besides a bit of brain stimulation!

Yesterday, I got outside to exercise after being cooped up for at least 3 weeks (only by my own lack of motivation to be out in the cold). I scuffed along and slipped over the black ice on the sidewalks, alternating between the crusty snow, the sides of the road near traffic, just to “enjoy” the frigid yet invigorating fresh air. I had managed to survive more than half of my trek without falling, even playing a few rounds of WWF, until “boom!” I went down with barely a nanosecond to recover, landing me on my butt and slightly injuring my wrist. For years I’ve been saying, to no one in particular, that “after 50, we’re just a fall and a hip-break away from losing all independence.”

My wife doesn’t want me to talk about our house because we hope to move someday soon, and having been a Realtor, she knows that any (even imagined) negative review of a property will hinder its sale. I trust that y’all either aren’t in the market for my house nor will you squeal. The problem is, we live on a hill. It’s not the worst hill ever, and since we have a neighbor uphill from us, we know he has it worse, but it’s steep enough that a thin layer of ice will prohibit our vehicles from reaching the top of the drive, causing us to have to slide back down, as we pray that we can move the car out of the way enough to not block other vehicles from reaching the neighbor’s house. We then must cautiously attempt to walk up the dangerous terrain!

Why did we ever buy such a property, you ask? Because, in our excitement to have the many other “good” qualities of this property, we erroneously(or stupidly) believed that owning a snowplow already for our then business would uniquely qualify us to be able to care for our own plowing needs. Five winters, (the first one In which I quickly abandoned all hope in the truck we owned), and four snow plowers later, we’re no better off. We’re either waiting for the plow guy, waiting for a thaw, or throwing caution to the wind and sliding sideways down our drive in an attempt to get our kids to school on time. Yes, and winter has barely even arrived yet!

So back to Alec Baldwin, (who I also love in his character on 30 ROCK), and my love for Words with Friends… I truly am thankful. I may be an addict, and I may be a bit over the top when I try to maintain 7 or 8 games with various people simultaneously, but I’m keeping my mind active, warding off Alzheimer’s, even if it’s only imaginary, and I’ve got virtual company to pass my boring days while I search for a job. It could be worse, I could be addicted to something stupid like The Sims! Please, I have enough drama around me in real life!

So, with a month between my last post and this, I can tell you that I’ve learned that in the Yuan Dynasty, surrounded by my cortege, I might savor tea from quays but probably not from a padouk while I ponder the grok of life and may measure it in okas and pay for it in jias to a yenta while I learn to skate a triple lutz! What have you learned this month?


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