At a time when people are losing their jobs (nearly 600,000 people lost their job in January 2009, according to the Employment Situation Summary released February 6 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) or having their hours cut back, I say look for an opportunity.
Now before you start throwing virtual tomatoes at me, hear (or read) me out. Five years ago I was laid off from my magazine job and it was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me. And here’s why: It made me re-evaluate what I wanted to do as a career. I went to journalism school because I wanted to seek out stories and write for magazines. Working at a magazine wasn’t the initial goal, but I did it and the experience has been invaluable. (There are even times when I want to be on staff again, but that’s another post.) The result was that I started my writing and editing business.
I don’t think that I would have taken the leap into the freelance world unless I was pushed out into it. And boy, was it scary; especially not getting paid every two weeks or on a regular basis. But I adapted and sacrificed—just as anyone would do.
I’m not the only one who went through this reinvention when she found herself jobless. My friend, M. examined her professional life when she was let go last December. She discovered a niche in her industry that wasn’t being addressed and teamed up with someone to target it. She’s happier, less stressed (I can hear it in her voice when I talk to her) and doing something she really enjoys. If she hadn’t lost her job, she may have never realized her business idea and how enjoyable her life could be.
Yes, losing a job is horrible and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone, especially in this climate. However, if you’re faced with this reality, don’t be afraid. It may take you on the best ride of your life.
Grass. Dark green grass. As a kid, I was repelled by it—thousands of tiny blades that made my legs itch. Today I was drawn to it. The neat lush squares of grass lying at the bottom of small waterfalls in Scottsdale’s Canal District were beckoning me.
Baby boy and I sat on the grass, felt it between our fingers and our toes, and inhaled its scent. I forgot how fresh it smells, how smooth each blade feels and how it infuses the air with moisture. Among the concrete and the arid desert, we were sitting on a small patch of another world. This perfect rectangle of lush grass transported us to a place of wonder and peace, where only the two of us existed.
As we walked back to the car, I felt fresh and renewed. Thanks to a little patch of grass.
It’s 4:30 AM and I’m petting my attention starved (and hungry) cat Lil’ Moo. I love the early morning when the world is still quiet. There isn’t a more productive time of day—no baby boy, no husband, no email pings, no phone calls. Just me doing whatever I want. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, even sleep.
I might trade it for a pill that allows you to exist without any sleep. This was the plot of a recent “American Dad” episode, the lead character Stan gets a pill from the CIA lab (where he works) that allows him to exist without sleep. So while his family snoozes away, he catches up on movies, reads “The Hunt for Red October,” a book he has been trying to finish for years (After one page, he normally falls asleep. I can relate.) and plays video games. His wife, Francine, also starts taking the pill. She takes up marine biology and spends her time tracking down an elusive squid. My husband and I both secretly wish it was on the market, just so we can get everything we want done—whether it’s going to the gym (ours is open 24 hours), reading a book, working or just petting the cat.
But until that happens, I’ll continue to rise before the sun.
My son has a fascination with toes. He sucks on his. He giggles at mine. As well as he should, at six months he doesn’t realize that mommy’s long toes are not nearly as cute as his.
One day as we were laying on the floor looking up at my toes, I realized that mine (especially my feet) have been the source of much fulfillment in my life. As a kid, I packed them into toe shoes to dance for many hours, days on end. And as an adult, they’ve propelled me across numerous half-marathon finish lines.
I once thought I had ugly toes (the toe shoes didn’t help that cause) but, when they’re dressed in OPI Lincoln Park After Dark polish, I actually think that they’re not so bad. Especially now when they make my baby boy laugh; it melts my heart each time. I believe my relationship with toes has changed.
After being an avid news watcher, I decided to turn off the television because it was too depressing. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to face the reality of people losing their jobs and their homes. The weight of the situation was affecting me; I became listless and sad and I had to do something about it.
While I can’t come up with a stimulus package, hire anyone, or take someone in, I knew I could do two things to change my mood. The first was to stop watching the news. (I still get headlines from WSJ, Los Angeles Times and the AP, but they don’t affect me as much.) The second was to be grateful for the things that I have in life—some simple, others complex. Being a writer, I figured that blogging was the best way to spread the gratitude and get the creative juices flowing each day.
So, welcome to Thank You Everything. My hope is that each post makes you happy about the world around you.