Anne Notations

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm trying

At the end of May, what was to have been a year-long freelance contract job ended abruptly after only three months. The news came to me not during a meeting or by telephone, but in a formal letter delivered by the USPS to our house. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. To say I was personally hurt would, alas, be true.

In addition to a monthly paycheck and the allure of the book project itself, a casualty of my second job loss in less than a year was a related ten-day trip to Russia planned for last month. I have the brand-new passport to prove it. That's me: all rubber-stamped (albeit looking like a grim Russian mobstress) and nowhere to go.

Setbacks hit me harder these days. I seem to lack the resilience I took for granted when I was younger. The job losses have been more than humbling; they have stolen my confidence and professional self-image. A nasty critic in my brain now sneers, "You're worthless! You're a fraud. A loser. No one will hire you. No one should hire you!" My heart, faltering, responds, "I know. I'm too tired for this crap."

Worse, to me, has been my increasing tendency to respond to people, to life, with undisguised cynicism. To be sarcastic and snarky.

I don't want to be that sour woman! I'm making an effort to ditch her. In the last two days I've apologized to both of our at-home kids for specific moments of verbal unkindness. I am determined to be mindful of the power of words and tone, to respect and cherish the people I love in my deeds as I do in my thoughts.

Mother Nature has done her best to help me out from under my gloomy cloud. Over the past several weeks we have had a string of near-perfect June and July summer days. My gardens have erupted with flowers, tomatoes, herbs, and shrubbery. For weeks in June the aroma of wild roses and honeysuckle drifted our way from the vacant fields across the road; I inhaled huge gulps, high on the sweetness. Small sailboats dance on Greenwich Bay, sometimes with bright spinnakers bellying before them. Yogi and I have been swimming in the bay just a short stroll down the dead-end road; he loves to fetch anything I throw for him, plowing through the small waves. After the sun sets, the evening breeze is like silk on my bare, tanned arms.

People have stepped forward, too. In the past month I've heard from some old friends, and I mean 40-years-ago old. Through our shared memories I've recalled my younger, eager self. At first the contrast with "now" was sobering, but I ended up finding hope in that earlier me.

Meanwhile, an upside of being home so much is that I've become friendlier with several of our neighbors, older women with spunk and wisdom who lift me out of my funks on a regular basis with their wit and generosity. Not least, about a month ago when I thought I was (literally) losing my mind, friends at a distance stepped up by phone and email to listen and to sympathize. Bless the goodness of people. I am lucky in my friends, including those whom I've never met but who have shared their lives with me via Internet for many, many years.

Caroline has been over several times, most recently to spend the night on July 1 when Warwick held its annual fireworks display on our beach. She is five now, a "graduate" of preschool and headed to kindergarten in the fall. Her passions are bugs, dinosaurs, and dresses – and our two dogs. When she said to me the next morning, "Nana, I love your house. I love the dogs. I love you", I felt my heart melt.

Caroline and Yogi at our beach in June.

To follow up on my last post: I'm still keeping up with the kitchen sink. Between cleaning it every night before I go to bed, and getting the kids in the habit of putting stuff in the dishwasher daily, the room looks better. Which helps me feel better.

Heavy "traffic" on our street, 4th of July weekend.

I've been networking and applying for jobs. No interviews (and one kiss-off) to date, but seeking employment is a process rather than an event. Right now I'm freelancing a bit – small projects. It's a way to use my skills and remind myself that they have value in the marketplace.



  • As usual, this was lovely and beautifully rendered. You haven't lost your ability to move and inspire your readers, even if your confidence has taken a short hiatus. This, too, shall pass. Thanks for sharing.

    By Blogger Katherine Hinds, at Tue Jul 12, 06:31:00 AM EDT  

  • As Katherine said, this was beautifully rendered.

    I think that any of us who have suffered loss of employment in (oh, dare I say it) middle-age, share some of the same feelings and experiences. I know it was true for me when I spent 5 months "between positions."

    Even with support systems, it is not easy on the psyche. The one thing I heard in this that you learned (and that I did also), is that there are more people than you think who care about and are rooting for your success.

    Hang in there. As the saying currently goes about a different situation: It gets better.

    On a final note remember: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

    By Blogger Michael A. Golrick, at Wed Jul 13, 03:50:00 PM EDT  

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