23 April, 2008

Life is Good

Back in February when I had two wonderful jobs drop in my lap (followed quickly by a month-long flu), I didn't get the chance to share some thoughts I had on the subject.

First of all, looking back I can see I felt rather Moses-like these last two years--wandering in the wilderness of unemployment, semi-employment, shattered confidence, and a job that fit me about as well as the latest skimpy beach fashion on a 300-pounder.

Yes, watching me try to make it work was just as attractive. As my mother commented recently, "You're a lot more fun to be around these days."

Relatedly, I've found the need to thank the friends who put up with me these last two years. As one said on more than one occasion after listening to me whine and moan, "Well, after listening to you I might as well go kill myself now." Or then there's the tight-knit email list in which the extent of my contributions have been brief congratulations on about half the good events shared, and a quick hug during the bad times. I think also of people who made the mistake of inviting me into their homes only to find out how little fun I can be, haha.

There are darker thoughts too, of words better left unsaid, of time wasted in moping, of letting down others due to simply not having the wherewithall and strength to meet obligations.

But past is passed, I am reminded, and unchangeable. I owe so much to so many people--dear friends who sustained me financially, emotionally, and professionally when I had nothing to offer them in return. I once wrote to one about how much I hated being beholden, how much I wished to reciprocate or at least help someone else down the line (I still do, but at least I am now in a position to pay it forward a little bit--and even more in the future as things continue to straighten themselves out).

But I'm beholden in more than financial ways--I didn't just have a cheering section; people actually held me up, strengthened me, and ultimately changed me. On a day last summer that it all pressed down with crushing force and I could no longer bear up, I reached out in desperation to the last person on my list for those circumstances and found nothing but empathy and encouragement. When I was feeling sorry for myself and wanted to just lay down and die, the gentle order always came from another corner: "Ruck up and keep moving." So I kept moving. When I was again unemployed and struggling to market myself, somebody else gave me the exact tools I needed to not only learn how to showcase my abilities, but to discover in the process how much I really had to offer--which not only changed my profession, but changed my outlook, too. And through it all I had the example of people not only surviving, but thriving under the most unimaginable challenges...

Life is by no means what I want it to be right now, but it's an indescribable heck of a lot better than it was. I suspect this last winter/spring will be one of those points of life I look back on as a pivot someday... and I'll know who made it that.

Thanks, guys.

P.S. Okay, enough navel-gazing. Back to naval-gazing and more substance. Those of you who feel the need to fortify yourselves after such warm fuzziness should probably head over to John's collection or something. :P