Tag Archives: career

What do you do when an avian cacophony is keeping you awake?

This.

Or, at least, I do this.

After being a lazy blogger as of late–an incredibly procrastinatorial (not a word at all…but shouldn’t it be?), computer-phobic, sorry excuse for a writer–I am finally attacking the keys because I woke up 45 minutes ago for a drink of water, and now I cannot for the life of me fall back asleep. What with the sun creeping its way over the horizon and the apparently 100,000 birds chirping, twittering, and confabulating outside my window, I had no choice but to give in, open my computer and come to this site to compose a long overdue post.

Resistance is futile.

For the last, oh, two weeks, I have experienced all the symptoms of adult ADHD without the perks of, you know, the drugs: an inability to commit to a task for very long, racing thoughts and the inability to relax, sudden uncharacteristic impulsiveness, a plethora of ideas but no patience or clarity-of-mind to take the time to write them down, etc. On more occasions than I can count, I had great ideas for posts on this here blog, even had 90% of it written in my head…and then I didn’t do squat about it. I had a simply brilliant conversation with my father (rare, but they happen) about regret and catharsis and believing in your own choices, and though in the moment I thought “I am going to go write about this the second he stops talking,” the moment I walked away I couldn’t remember half of what was said or what I even felt. I’ve been meaning to document my trip to Chicago because, frankly, it was so much more than I could have hoped for, but now it’s been a few weeks and the details are growing fuzzy and I no longer can find the words to say how great it was to get the fuck out of Michigan. And for the few people who take inspiration or insight from my struggles with weight loss, well, I’ve truly failed them. I just could not bring myself to dedicate even a moment of my time to say…something. Anything. And I feel very, very bad about that.

But here I am. I’m writing. It’s not an epic poem or a poignant little ditty, it hardly qualifies as coherent, but I am making an effort. I don’t have to time to really do an amazing job here, but I thought I’d just touch base briefly, and update ya’ll on where I am these days, both literally and metaphorically.

I am sick for the first time in months: It seems that, while exceptionally invigorating and fun, travel and I aren’t friends. My little jaunt over to Illinois was so enjoyable and so chock-full of good stuff that I totally forgot to take care of myself for a few days–by, you know, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, eating at all–and it was a huge blow to my immune system. It’s been two weeks and I still have a very sore throat and a stuffy nose. The last time I can remember having a cold was, what, February? And now I feel like crap and I only have myself to blame. But, what I don’t understand it, why is it taking so goddamn long for my body to get back on track? I’m back to drinking 88oz of water per day, eating quite healthfully, exercising…shouldn’t I be on the mend by now? Grr, immune system, grr to you and yours.

I have applied to take the GRE…again: After allowing a relationship (and a less-than-fulfilling one at that) to derail my life for the last year and a half, I am back on track with the goals I once held near and dear to my optimistic little heart: grad school, career as a professor and/or editor, moving away from Michigan and to a city where people like me can actually breathe. So, for the next two months, I will be studying my ass off so that come the day I sit down at that loathsome computer and attempt to prove that I am a valid candidate for furthering my education, this time, my verbal score won’t totally blow. I have never been all that good at studying, and have rarely needed to in the past, but it’s something I have attempted and succeeded at in times of trouble, so I’m hoping the fact that I’m more than a little rusty with the whole academic process won’t completely sap me of the ability to achieve a stellar score. Maybe I’m two years late, but I want to go back to school so badly, and I hope that I don’t end up standing in my own way.

I have admitted to myself that I condemned myself to limbo: As above-mentioned, for a few shameful years, I acted like a stupid girl and let my love for a boy distract me from all the things I wanted to achieve. I stayed in MI and didn’t apply for schools or out-of-state jobs because I was scared of what would happen (re: breaking up) if I left. This is not at all his doing: he never asked me to shy away from graduate school; he never asked me to abandon my dreams for a life of housewifery and loneliness. That was me…all me. And it’s hard to fess us to that, but, I think, knowing that I’m capable of being my own worst enemy isn’t the worst thing. I know what I’m capable of, and might be able to prevent a future derailment of my life. I also think I can forgive myself for losing sight of…everything…because, maybe, I had to lose myself to find myself. Maybe I had to make those mistakes to finally see that I was right all along (or at least up until I was wrong). Maybe, just maybe, I had to take my sweet old time to see what everyone else seemed to see–that we were a doomed couple and I was a fool–because in the process of fucking up my life, I learned an awful lot about life.

There is no place like home: My parents might make me crazy, and they might have made some questionable parenting choices in the past, but I owe them so much these days. Not only am I saving bank by living for free under their roof, but I’m finding a little respite in this bedroom I slept in as a child. All my friends who know I’ve never had a good relationship with my dad are shocked to hear that, hey, life here isn’t so bad. I’m, dare I say it, happy to be home. It’s still a messy messy house and my dad is still an alcoholic and my mom is still overly religion–dependent, but those things don’t bother me so much right now. I am actually happy to come home every day…and I honestly NEVER thought I’d be happy in this place ever again.

I won’t be a nanny much longer: I had better find writing-related work come fall, because whether I am ready or not, the babies won’t be under my care come September. It turns out preschool is effing pricey, and my employers can’t afford me at my current rate AND school for their daughter at the same time…so the end is near. This is both sad and very, very exciting. I love those children, I love them so much…but I’m ready to be done. I’m ready to work in a place where I have grown-ups to talk to. I’m ready to get the fuck out of limbo. Although…

We are all in limbo: No one–not business owners, not priests, not my parents, not even retired billionaires with everything they could ever ask for–is where they are hoping to be. Once you achieve one goal or all of your goals, you only set yourself new ones. It’s when we stop having goals that we stop living. There is always something to aim for, something to hope for, something to look ahead towards and think, “yeah…that’s where I’m headed.” And it’s not like when you make it there you’ll just…be there. There is no final destination, there are just stops along the way. So, maybe, I can stop saying I want to get out of limbo…because I never will be. And that’s alright.

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The View from Purgatory

A very talented and brilliant friend of mine recently pointed out to me that “writing is always the answer.” And so, as I sit here in the bedroom where I slept as a child, under the roof owned by my parents, feeling a creeping of déjà vu and the beginnings of displeasure at my new (old) living situation, all I can think to do is write.

But the problem seems to be, I have nothing of great use to say.

A sorry, sorry excuse for a blogger, I am.

Look, here’s the thing: for the past year and a half, as I struggled with living in “limbo”–having no career, no financial safety net, no health care, and no idea how the fuck to change any of that–I told myself repeatedly, “Well, at least you don’t live with your parents. But, lo and behold, here I am, living with my parents. If I was in limbo before, what is this now? Purgatory? (And no, those two things are NOT the same place. Ask the Pope.)

You know, it may have only been a few days, but I can say so far it’s not all bad, mooching off the people who spawned me: I get to hang out with my brother more, which is awesome because he is the coolest person I know; I’m saving loads of money on food and cable (that I barely ever watched anyway); I don’t have to rush home after work to do my “womanly duties” anymore (cooking, cleaning, being pretty, etc.) so I have more time for yoga and running and anything else I damn well please; and Wednesday the Cat is my new buddy. But it’s just the dignity of the thing. I was out! I was free! I would come home drunk without judgement! And now, well, I’m living like I did back in high school, and I fucking hated high school.

So even though there isn’t anything inherently wrong with living here, for as short a time as it may turn out to be, it makes me squirm. There is just a certain amount of anxiety that comes with me simply being in this house. Maybe it’s some of the less than stellar memories, maybe it’s because it is a cluttered mess around these parts, maybe it’s just because I’m not totally in charge anymore, but I instantly feel a little more stress being here. I had a migraine today, and while the weather could definitely be the culprit, I can’t help but wonder if it was parental-unit-induced. I’ve had fewer and fewer headaches since leaving home for college, and now I’m thinking maybe it was simply because I wasn’t freaking here.

But I need to cut myself a little slack. I couldn’t just keep living with my ex–even if it wouldn’t have been the worst thing, it certainly would not have been sane or healthy to do so. And I simply can’t afford to jump right into an apartment lease. Not only monetarily speaking, but also, logically speaking. I’m looking to move out of state. I’m applying for “real jobs” (and allowing myself to have faith that I will land one of them). I’m using this sudden life-change as a jumping off point for even greater and more positive changes. I’m starting to believe that this sudden singleness is a cue for me to get myself out of limbo and into the next phase of my life. If I signed a lease in Southeastern Michigan, I would be condemning myself to at least another year of floating aimlessly, wishing for something more but being held back from achieving it. If I keep 50% of my boxes packed and only think of my stay here as a brief stop on my travels to somewhere not here, then it’s not so bad. I’ll get a little rest, let someone else cook for me for a change, and take a month or two to figure out what the fuck to do next.

Now, I’m going on a brief trip to Chicago in less than two weeks, and I couldn’t possibly be more stoked. It’s my birthday present to myself: two nights in a hotel with a king-sized bed all to myself a la Home Alone 2; two days worth of eating out at restaurants I can’t afford; one concert (actually, many concerts, seeing as it’s an all day festival headlined by none other than my favorite trio…you guessed it, 30 Seconds To Mars. I’m starting to feel like Penny Lane from the movie Almost Famous, except I’m not following the fictional band Stillwater around the country, I’m getting my fill of Jared, Shannon and Tomo); 48 hours of just me, myself, and I spending some quality time together. I’m hoping that over that short span of time I have some sort of epiphany. Maybe I’ll realize that Chicago is where I’m meant to end up and I’ll just up and move there. Maybe I’ll love my solitude so much that I’ll decide to live out of my car. Maybe I’ll realize that I need to go get my PhD in Entomology. WHO KNOWS? I’m just letting myself believe that by treating myself to a little adventure that it will give me some idea of what my next great adventure should be.

Or maybe it will just be a really fun trip and I’ll come back and hang with my parents for another 3 months.

But I’m really hoping it’s the former.

So, yeah, I’m about to go to sleep in a room with walls stenciled with butterflies and daisies (I kid you not). It’s a sort of surreal feeling, but, hey, what’s life without a little surrealism?

Dali is so proud of me right now, I can tell.

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Down the Chute

I realized I’ve never talked about what I do on here. And since this post is going to talk about leaving that job possibly, I probably should go into it briefly.

Call it what you will–nanny, baby-sitter, “in-home child-care provider”–I take care of kids for a living. Two kids, to be precise. Two babies, actually. Today, Graham, the baby, turns one, and I doubt his mother is much more surprised and saddened by how fast time goes by than I am. I started watching Graham and his big sister Eden last July. So, for over 9 months, I have watched these two grow and learn. Edy wasn’t yet two when I started, she spoke in one or two-word sentences and she had a very round squishy face. Graham was still technically a newborn the day I met him: he couldn’t lift his head, he had that flat, googly-eyed-ness that lingers for a while after being squeezed through a tunnel much too small for your cavernous head. Now she talks…a lot…all the time, and her face is more oval than round, and she’s potty-trained, and she says a whole bunch of the snarky things I didn’t even realize I say around her. And he is one today, and he is walking, and he knows some sign language. *gasp*

Nothing makes you take notice of your own aging as watching other humans–particularly tiny humans–change before your very eyes.

Anyway, I’ve been watching them for a while now. And while he is a little tornado with a quest to destroy everything and meddle in everything and slobber on EVERYTHING, and she is two going on 17 with that attitude and hardheadedness of her, I love them more now than ever. (For the record, let me say I love them like an aunt or a big sister or…a nanny. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to keep a certain distance when I took the job and…I have. Huzzah.) But in loving them so much, it’s easy to think about sticking around. But I don’t want to stick around, not for any significant amount of time. Because if I stick around too long, then I’m stuck. And that CANNOT HAPPEN.

So a while back I told myself I’d leave in the fall. Edy will be going to school so she won’t need me so much, and their parents (who, I need to say, are great people) cannot afford both a full-time nanny and preschool, so it’d be a good time to make a clean break. That gives me 4 months to find something else or get into a school or…something. I was totally content to ease into the change.

Until last week.

My dear friend told me about some jobs at a company–that I will not name because I am selfish and do not want you to apply for the jobs, too–that would be perfect for me. And I heard her, I listened to her describe the great environment and the interesting view they have of the world and how that would mesh well with my unique outlook, blah blah blah, but I was still sort of blowing her off. I was all, “But I’m finally content with where I am and I’m not itching to get out, like, tomorrow, so…” Word vomit.  I was just talking. Whatever.

But I looked into the company, and the jobs, and I thought, “Oh! God, I have an awesome friend who I totally blew off. I suck!” because, damn, she was right. So I applied for a couple jobs knowing I’m not technically qualified even if  I’d kick ass at them anyway, and was ready to just start casually looking into new jobs. A good, “No rush, but 4 months will fly by so let’s start now” sorta mindset.

THEN. Oh, but then. Then I read about one job at this still-unnamed-because-you-need-to-stay-the-fuck-away-from-my-dream-gig company, and my world stopped. And suddenly I was ready to say goodbye to the babies and my house and Michigan and get up and go to (I won’t even say the city because I’m that much of a shellfish) to *&^%$#@ and start a new great life at this new great job. I haven’t wanted anything that bad–rather, this bad–in a long time. I just…I knew that I couldn’t just apply for this job. I had to do everything in my power to get it.

The problem with wanting something that bad is, you start taking yourself way too seriously. I wrote all my writing samples up and was very pleased and was ready to send it along with a kiss and a hope but some part of me spoke up and said, “Wait!” So I did. I waited. And I edited, and then I deleted a whole section of writing with no way to turn back and no new idea, and I waited.

Now, this waiting only spans a couple days, but it felt like an eternity. And in the working world, a job can be there on Monday and be gone come Tuesday, so I was really risking just complete doom by waiting that long.

So last night comes, and I’m not working on my application, and the boyfriend is asking me, “Are you going to send in that job app or what?” and I just keep hiding my nose in my book. But then my book grew a hand, which then reached out and slapped me in the face. The book is Bossypants by Tina Fey (go buy it! Tina, I’m plugging your book! You owe me!) and it was some kinda bat-shit cosmic something that made me read this quote mere moments after the boy bugged me.

I read this:

“You have to try to be at the top of your game and improve every joke you can until the last possible second, and then you have to let it go.

You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide, overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.”

It was…spooky. I’ll say this, the job involves humor, so this wasn’t just spooky because of the general message of just do it. No, this was spooky because it was dead on. I blinked at the page a couple times, and then I announced to the boy that I would finish the application and send it tomorrow.

Well tomorrow is actually today, and I sent it. I edited my writing, I wrote a whole new section, it made me chuckle, and I pressed send. And as scary as it was, “letting go” actually made this a much easier process. A day ago, I would have been sitting here, wracking my brain, wondering if I should have said something more, something less, something crazier, something saner, something…else. But I decided to let go. I did the best I could, and I am happy with that. And I actually think that I deserve this job, too. It’s scary, but I’m letting myself think about what it will be like to go to a job where I don’t get bitten, drooled on, screamed at, sat on and generally used as a bean bag chair that can make mac ‘n cheese. (I love those children, I really do, but they sure know how to beat me up.) And now if I don’t get the job, I won’t spaz about it.

OK, I’ll be upset for a while, but it won’t end my world.

Ms. Fey communicated something very important to me: not everyone is going to like what you write (not that I haven’t always known this, it’s just a good refresher). Not everyone is going to find you witty or intelligent or even coherent. So doing your best is important, but in the end, someone is going to think you failed. So as long as you don’t think you’ve failed, just let go. Go down the fucking chute already.

I went down the chute. It was fun.

Thanks Tina.

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