Saturday, April 26, 2014

Being a Grown Up

Today, after completing my first week of my new job, I've been contemplating grown up things.

Retirement funds.
Grocery budgets.
Yard work.
Trimming the cat's toenails.
Writing thank you cards.
Meal planning
(add at least a thousand other things to this list, and you get the idea)

It's actually a very long list of things I've been contemplating, and like my to do lists at work, it's overwhelming and never ending.  I'll never check off all of the boxes, of course.  I'll never catch up, and it'll never be done.  I'm making peace with that, even as I strive to do more, and it makes me feel like a grown up.

How is it that I'm 44 years old and I often don't feel like a grown up?


I think about the Mommy Wars all the time, and I think about what to write about it all the time, and I've started a number of posts and stopped, because ultimately I still don't know what I believe, or what I would recommend to my daughter if/when she had a child.  There are no simple answers for a complicated question such as "Is it better to be a stay at home parent or a working parent?" and anyone who proclaims to have it all figured out is, in my opinion, either light years ahead of me in their evolution, or completely delusional.  There are great arguments on both sides, and I've experienced some of them first hand: a stay at home mom for nearly a decade, I'm a working mom now.  There was a time when I really wanted to be a stay at home mom and loved it; there was a time when I was resentful of it.  Now, as a working parent, I'm delighted to be working and feel like my daughter is getting benefits out of it (and I'm not just talking health insurance and food on the table) and I enjoy it, even as it stresses me out and makes me so tired that it's hard to think.

I won't fan the flames.  I don't have a conclusion to offer you, because I know great women who do a fabulous job at being stay at home moms and they show no signs of having made a foolish choice.  I also know great women who have been working moms all along, and they love it and have happy kids, and now they make a zillion more dollars than I do.  I don't know what the right answer is, and I'm not proposing it here.


In my marriage, unique to me, I think that somehow my tax status of "dependent" made me feel like a child.  I felt like I needed permission to do basic things, and clearly my ex felt like he could do whatever he wanted with "his" money because we certainly didn't agree on how he spent it and he spent it anyway.

My last job, my first full time job since motherhood, made me feel a bit that way too.  I was working for a friend, and it seemed like she was doing me a favor, and I felt dependent.  Her management "style" (and I use the word loosely, because I don't think she thought much about how to be a manager) was erratic, and I was responsive to that, trying to make it right no matter how I felt about it.  It made me feel a bit like a child, trying to please her and not having a full say and feeling powerless to her whims and moods.

And all of that has changed again with this new job.

I was hired on my merits, and I fought hard to get this job.  They are clear that I was their first choice candidate, and that it was unanimous with the board and the executive director that I was their first choice.  They didn't do me a favor: I earned this with a zillion hours of networking (an important skill for a fundraiser) and self education and a solid background doing things they hired me to do.

I knew I'd love the job.  I knew that it is work with a mission that touches my core, and that I'd be proud to work there.  I knew that the organization's reputation was incredibly solid, and that  people would say "ohhhh that is wonderful" when I told them where I worked and what I did.

Last week I went to a two day conference for organizations like mine, and people, one by one, told me how much they admired the work "we" do.  They said, one after another, that my organization is a pioneer, doing amazing work, and that our leadership is the best.

I met super smart people doing amazing work.

In tandem with that, my boss refers to myself, himself, and our COO as "the leadership team" and expresses his appreciation for my input.


It makes me feel like a grown up.  I didn't know how childlike I felt, how powerless, until I got these grown up feelings.

It makes me feel alive again, awake again, as if a part of me had been sleeping for a decade.


I don't know about the mommy wars.  I don't know what I would have done differently in my life: when Katherine was little, I was incredibly compelled to be a stay at home mom and didn't regret it then.

But I love these "new" feelings, the ones that make me feel 30 again.  I feel more powerful, even as I struggle with a too small budget and too little time.


After my first week on the job, I was exhausted coming home on Friday night.  I wrote three grants last week and started a fourth, learned more than I knew could fit in my head (I swear it makes grad school look like a breeze), met a zillion people.  But more than that, I was adjusting to my new life: balancing getting work done with being a great mom, with eating healthy food, and all the rest.

Up before dawn to make lunches for Katherine and I, drinking coffee while she eats her breakfast, checking homework forms, going through her backpack.  Twice a week, making sure that dinner is ready before I leave (leftovers one night, easy to reheat; another night, sandwiches made with leftover Easter ham along with crudité and dip) because the gymnastics schedule means that I barely have time to pick up Katherine after work and get her to the studio on time.


This business of paying the bills, exercising (more on that later, but I have an injury that is delaying my marathon - arghhhhh!), eating healthy food, keeping the household going, staying in touch with friends, being a great mom, helping with charity, working full's not for sissies.  This is hard stuff.  The hardest.

I had one of Katherine's friends over for a sleepover on Friday night, which meant sleepover dinner and breakfast.  We had some appointments for my charity commitment this morning, and we had gymnastics this afternoon (and in between Katherine's events, I read work documents).  After all that, grocery shopping (I aim for 1x/week) and then chores at home (finally brushed the dog, vacuumed, cleaned the bathrooms, etc.), and the hours had slipped away and the day was gone.

It's imperfect.  I have to squeeze in some hiking, some having dinner parties, some museums, some live music and (oh pleasepleaseplease) some travel.  As I type this, Katherine is downstairs watching some awful Disney TV (and loving it) and it's not the high quality interaction I aim for (perhaps we could watch "Cosmos" together instead, if we weren't gallivanting around the world?).

But it's all the right stuff anyway.  And tomorrow we'll do more fun stuff, in addition to a bit of yard work, because we're not so scheduled.  Maybe we'll go explore somewhere; maybe we'll go on an adventure.  Or maybe we'll just curl up and read together, and that would be okay, too.

I haven't got it figured out.  I don't have all of the answers, and my life is so far from perfect that it's laughable.

But steps are being made, and I like where I am.

This week, I feel much more like a grown up.  And, despite the responsibilities and the crinkly lines appearing by my eyes that signify my age if not my grown-up-ness....I'll take it.  I'll go so far to say that it suits me.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A couple of paragraphs in...

...on my latest chapter.

I have officially been working for three days.  I've written three grants and started a fourth, I've learned (and, I think, forgotten) more acronyms and government agencies than I knew existed, and I'm completely overwhelmed.  I can't keep track of my to-do lists because of how fast they grow.

I love it, of course.

I work for a small nonprofit, but it's powerful.  POWERFUL.  I watch it change people's lives, right in front of me.  I sit in my shabby little office (it's not bad, but it's certainly not fancy!) with recycled furniture, pulling up spreadsheets and donor reports and grant applications and trying to sort it all out...and I hear children waiting in the lobby around the corner, waiting with their parents to go through "the line" to pick up food.  Seniors come in so frail.  Women come in with such wide eyes, and men come in with such slumped shoulders.

They're all treated with dignity.  They all get food - real food, too, not just prepackaged junk, but meat, vegetables, eggs, dairy.  They get sustenance, and I think it's from more than the calories.


My child support is drying up, because Bryan lost his job a while back and is really, really struggling right now.  Dear readers, however much I may have complained about him in the past, I'm not angry with him right now, even though I could really use his contributions (and am not quite sure what to do without them, frankly, but I'll manage somehow).  He looks broken: I know he's not managing his depression, and his work history over the past decade is spotty, and he's gained a great deal of weight and lost friends along the way, and looking at him makes me feel sad.  This is my daughter's father, and he's a human being, and I can see that he's really suffering.  Shaking my finger at him and telling him all the ways he's gone wrong and all the things he could have done to do better isn't the answer.  I feel like he needs lovingkindness, and I feel compassionate toward him.  Bryan needs dignity right now, too.

Maybe this is what it feels like to be healed from my divorce.  When I look at Bryan, I no longer see a man who wronged me in so many ways, and I no longer see the man who dashed my dreams, and I no longer see the bright future that I once wished we had, but nor do I feel the darkness of the pain that he caused me.  I just see a man, and he looks sad and lonely, and I feel compassionate towards him.  I really, truly hope that he finds happiness.  I hope that he gets on his feet with a new job, and that somehow his life comes together.  I hope that he finds things that bring him joy.  I hope he reconnects with the world.

I hope these things for Katherine's sake, too, of course.  She needs her dad to be healthy and whole.

But I also hope them just for the man I once loved.

And on another note....back to online dating.

One interesting conversation, but our politics don't mesh.  (sigh)  I really can't imagine being with someone who perceives politics differently than I do.

I believe in love.  I believe that what I want is out there, and he's waiting for me, too, and that maybe one or both of us has work to do first and then we'll find each other.

I'm swamped at work and adjusting to the working parent thing (again!) and so I have no time to date, of course.  But I'm going to keep putting myself out there, because one never knows...

“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-over and over announcing your place in the family of things.”
― ~Mary Oliver, "Wild Geese"

Friday, April 18, 2014


I came home from my week (almost) at the island, and my dogwoods are starting to bloom.

On one side of the yard, the dogwood that reminds me of childhood: beautiful blossoms with geometric petals, creamy white.  On the other side of the (small) yard, the giant pink dogwood is just starting to blossom: a crazy profusion of pinks that vary from cranberry to fuscia to a bright, pure pink that makes me happy just to look at it.  The back yard is half covered in their canopies; below them, bleeding hearts are abundant and cheerful and though they may be hearts dripping something, I just don't think they're bleeding - they're too happy.

And so am I.

This week, I had wonderful times with my friend, her daughter, and Katherine.  We hiked a bit, beachcombed, hot tubbed, cooked and ate food together, laughed a great deal, and talked and talked.  She's a dear friend, another single mom, and we've been through a lot together.  She was a few months ahead of me and coached me through my divorce, and we've complained about finances together, and career paths....and we've shared dating stories and the rest, too.  It was a fantastic week, and the girls were great and we enjoyed every second with them, too.  Magical, really.

And there was a lot of time for me to think, as well.  Time to drink coffee and stare at the light on the water in the early morning, and contemplate all of the things going on in my life.

I have been going through my budget with a fine tooth comb.  It's going to be tight, there is no way around it.  Should I keep my $15/month New York Times online subscription?  Can I trim my utilities bills?  Awful little questions to be asking.  Necessary, of course, but incredibly unpleasant.  I want to go to Paris!  Costa Rica!  Heck, I'd like to get regular pedicures.  But right now, I'm going to have to go back to the tight budget, pay off the little bit of debt that was unemployment's little gift to me, and make progress slowly.

But there are dogwoods.

I came home from my little vacation, and those dogwoods made my heart sing.

Maybe it's spring.  Maybe it's the bursts of color in a sea of gray winter skies.  Maybe it's the freshness that my new job brings - a new start.  Maybe it's the way I'm excited about the reigniting of my career, not just a job.  Maybe it's the burst of energy that is brought on by a relaxing vacation.

But I'm feeling so hopeful, and so appreciative of what I have.

I feel like somehow all of the details are going to work out.

Driving home, parking behind the house and coming in under the dogwoods.... I just suddenly believed that anything was possible.

Tonight Katherine is with her dad.  Tomorrow, I will re-attempt my 20 mile run, delayed last week because of a pulled groin muscle, and hope that this time I can run without pain.  But if I can't?  It will be okay.  All of my training isn't for naught, as I'm in the best shape of my life and I know I can run 18 miles.  I hope to run 26.2 on May 4....but if I don't, I will do it another month.  On Sunday, I'll share Easter with my daughter, and she'll wear the sweet little dress she picked out for the occasion (a treat for me, a far cry from the jeans and t-shirts that are her uniform).  And on Monday, I'll go to work and try to change the world.

Somehow, life is going to be okay.  It's all going to work out.  It's going to be fabulous, and I just feel it.  It won't be easy, but it's going to be good.

The dogwoods said so.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Creating My Life

Over the past few days, my changed circumstances have started settling in to me: I can feel my new life settling down, like it's a new house I'm moving into.  I'm looking at where to place the furniture, assessing any repairs that need to be done, envisioning backyard BBQs and trying to pick out the perfect corner to sit and read, organizing the kitchen.

My new job defines some of the shape of my days to come: certainly, my income creates possibilities and limitations, and my time commitments will shape my days.  This is no different than any other person, and I know it; we all have commitments that shape our lives.

But what I'm trying to do is to approach my life with great intentionality, honoring all of the possibilities and making the most of what I can do with it.

My new income is small.  I think it's going to be enough, but I have just transitioned into nonprofit (yay!) and I do not have the expectation of ever getting rich on this path.  I've been going through my budget spreadsheets, making sure I've planned properly, and then tweaking and retweaking and retweaking.  Should I spend more here, and less here?  Am I overspending in this area?  Am I being reasonable to budget so little in this other area?  Does my spending reflect my values?

But it's not all about money.  The money matters - ask anyone who doesn't have enough, and they'll tell you! - but it's not the only thing that matters.

I'm trying to craft the shape of my days, my years, my life.  Mary Oliver, a beloved poet, says "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" and it's a question I ask myself every single day.  Because I'm at a new phase in life, starting this new job, I'm asking myself the question even more right now.

Some questions are answered.  I want to do work that speaks to my soul, that changes the world.  I want to show up every single day of my life certain that what I'm doing with my life is meaningful.  This new job does that, and I am happier than I can express about that.

And I want an intellectually stimulating career, filled with personal growth.  I want career development, smart colleagues, the possibility of advancement.  I've got that, too.

And that's just getting started.  The rest is the big stuff: time and relationships.

Relationships are everything, once one's belly is full and one is warm and dry.  I want mine to be rich, deep, and meaningful.  I especially want my time with my daughter to be well spent, focused on enjoying one another, on teaching her, on giving her a foundation for a lifetime of happiness.  Mostly, I feel pretty good about that; we do well together and we're in a good spot.  I've got good relationships with friends and family, too, and I am grateful.  Very, very grateful.

So what remains to be determined is time. 

We all have the same number of hours in a day, and this never ceases to amaze me.  How is it that two well fed people (not starving or in poverty) can lead such different lives?  One person finds time to exercise, volunteer, and cure cancer....and someone else is constantly complaining that there is no time to go to the grocery store?

Certainly, I wish to be in that first category.  I struggle with it, but I deeply believe that there is enough time, but that I need to manage that time if I am to have the life I crave.

I will have to get up at the crack of dawn again; there is no other time to exercise.  I am sure of that, and mostly at peace with it.  I feel so much better these days, and not only is my marathon around the corner but I've already signed up for a half marathon in the fall, just to make sure that I don't backslide.

My weekdays will be filled with three things, basically: exercise (early morning), work all day, spend time with Katherine in the evenings.  There is little room for flexibility, and I am trying to reach peace with that.  There is a rhythm to the weekdays where every minute is accounted for, and it's an elaborate dance with many steps.  If I skip a step, I find myself on the wrong side of things and all turned around, and there isn't much time for rest...but I think it's okay.  Packing lunches, making dinner, gymnastics practice: these things must be done.

The trick is to use the few extra minutes wisely, I think.  When there is a half hour to spare, what shall I do?  Will I surf Facebook, watch TV....or do something that means more to me?  I want to be intentional about those 'extra' minutes, because I think that they are the center of a life well lived.  They add up.

And Katherine is growing before my eyes: she is changing minute to minute, and I feel her slipping through my fingers.  She is lovely, and her sense of humor is evolving and growing and I find myself laughing with her so much, enjoying her wit.  She is strong and a great hiking companion or beach comber; she can listen to NPR with me and respond thoughtfully.  It is important to me not to let any of that go unnoticed, or to stop appreciating it, because she becomes more independent by the day, needing so much less of my time than she once did.  I do not wish to squander the time she has left living in my home as a child.

So, I'm working now on crafting a schedule of days that honors who I am, and where I wish to be, and the reality of my finances (both good and bad).  I want to meet my obligations, of course, and with what is left I want to be really, really smart.

I'm 44 years old and my retirement fund is dismal.  Katherine's college fund is lacking.  My savings - oh, my hard earned savings went up in smoke with unemployment.  This is what it is, no sense of crying over it, but it's time to whip it back into shape.  I need to carefully carve out bits of my paycheck and have them auto-deposited into the appropriate accounts, no excuses.  Bit by bit I will rebuild, and I will hope and pray that the power of compounding interest works in my favor.  It won't be easy because my salary is not grand, but denial won't solve my problems either, and I know that even drops of water add up.  This time next year, I hope to be able to report progress, and to feel great pride in getting it done.

And vacations - I just long to travel.  Today I write from a little island north of my fair city, from a generous friend's cabin.  I am blessed to have such a place to visit: it is heaven on earth, and I am appreciative.  (I am wrapped in an old quilt, listening to rain on the roof, drinking hot coffee out of a beautiful mug, staring out at the ocean.  It is bliss.)  But I long to see so much of the world, and I want to carve out time and money for that, too.  When the budget falls apart, this type of vacation is the first thing to be cut, but I want to make space for it.

Weekend time is most precious of all, because it is more in my control.  I have Katherine half of my weekends (sometimes more, a subject for a different time), and those weekends are spent usually with other children and families; my weekends without her are spent in more adult company.  But there are commonalities: time in nature when possible, time with friends, time moving my body, and chores such as grocery shopping and the like.  I'm working out how to fit all that in.

So today, with rain falling on the roof, and my future starting again next week, I am contemplating all of this.  A fresh start at work is a fresh start at life, a chance to be contemplative, a chance to get it right.

I'm working on it.

Something else I'm working on... I signed up for online dating again.  This time, instead of saying "I'm unemployed and freaking out about it" (no thank you) I could say, "I just landed my dream job and I'm so excited for this career transition."  Much better!  I have no idea where I would find the time to date....but I believe in love, so if I can, I'm going to make time for that, too.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Walking on Air

This morning I woke up, and everything was different.

I am not the same person that I was yesterday morning.

This is so much bigger than getting "a job."  The job part - you know, with a paycheck to do things like pay for food - is a big part of it, and an important part, and the difference between living and dying, of course.  I don't have a trust fund, and it was getting scary to think about what my next moves were, and I don't mean to say that doesn't matter.  It matters a great deal.

But it's bigger than that.

This is really my reclaiming of my life, of me owning my identity as a person, and as a woman.

Being a stay at home mom, a cancer patient, and then a divorcee altered my career path in ways I couldn't fully comprehend when I started my maternity leave, unaware of the changes to come in my life.  I can not regret being home with my beautiful daughter, and I refuse to play "coulda woulda shoulda" about it: it is in the past, and my daughter needed me, and I was not married to a man who could pull his share of childcare/housework/cooking in order for me to be a successful working mom, and that is in the past.  I have reached a peace about that: mistakes were made, but I am trying to correct those, and the divorce is a part of that correction.  I should never have agreed to be in the marriage with the "rules" of that marriage, and I have learned from those mistakes.

But coming out of that was no easy task.  Taking a decade out of the work force is not recommended for career growth, that's for sure.  And transitioning fields in one's forties is not for the faint of heart.  And pursuing one's dreams is never easy, with so much risk of failure, and the additional burden that others are quick to judge the feasibility or the desirability of other people's dreams.

My first job after all of this was a godsend, because it enabled me to get divorced.  I would have had to live in my parents' basement (horrors!) if I didn't work, and I was so unsure of myself and what I could handle: I'd never been divorced, I'd never been a single mom, and I'd never been a working mom, so to face all of that head on was terrifying.  It wasn't the "right" job for me, but it served a beautiful purpose, and I remain grateful for the opportunity.  That job set me on a new path, reminded me of what I could do, reignited my sense of self, affirmed my ability to juggle work and motherhood.  For all of those reasons, it was a success.

Even if it didn't interest me.  Even if it wasn't really that good of a fit.  Even if my relationship to my boss, who was also my friend, was dysfunctional.  (That is fuel for another post, another day.  I'm still processing all of it.)

And this second job?  This one isn't something I fell into, this one is something I fought hard to achieve.  This one is filled with intentionality, and it is a reflection of who I am and what I believe.  It draws on my prior professional experiences, but in a whole new way.  This one has a career path (with several branches for me to choose from, all of which offer interesting possibilities), and room for professional development, and a wide network of colleagues to support me in my endeavors and help me to grow.  It comes with a retirement plan, in addition to other benefits.

I worked hard to make myself a good candidate for this job, reading everything I could get my hands on, attending conferences and training sessions (all paid for out of pocket while unemployed - ouch!), and networking like my life depended upon it.  There is nothing accidental about this new job: I was highly selective about where I applied for jobs, because I wanted a job that I believed in fully, and I didn't submit applications anywhere that I wouldn't absolutely love to work.  It was a scary search philosophy, because it limited my choices, but ultimately I am proud of that choice.

Many people go to work every day as part of the daily grind, dissatisfied and uninspired.  I've done that before, and I didn't like it one little bit.  I refuse to spend my life dreading work: we spend a lot of time at work, with our colleagues, and I wanted my work to be meaningful to me.  I have fought hard for that right, and yet I know that there is luck in it, too: my masters degree helps, my network helps, my family support to make the bridge from unemployment to employment helps.  I have the privileges of education and community, and I do not take those things for granted.  Still, I know others with my same opportunities who have thrown their hands up in frustration, believing that the daily drudgery of jobs they hate is just part of being alive.  I don't believe that, and I refuse to believe that, and I'm proud of my insistence of fighting for something more.

For me, getting divorced has been a process of reclaiming my authentic life.  I want to live my best life, giving the best of myself to the world and to myself.  I had managed to stay alive in my awful marriage for years, and in some sense I could have stayed there forever...but not without denying the values that I hold, not without suppressing my authentic self.  I did not fight so hard to reclaim my life, enduring the pain of divorce (and never for one second forgetting the implications it has in Katherine's life), only to yield in other parts of my life.

I'm all in.  I am committed to living this life of mine to the best of my abilities.

Training for a marathon.  Being the best mom I know how to be.  Being the best friend I know how to be.  Being the best me I can be.

And that includes contributing my skills professionally in a way that is meaningful to me.  Checking off that box on my list of goals gives me a thrill: this is a big goal, way bigger than a marathon, and probably harder to achieve.

I am the new Director of Development for a nonprofit that does work I believe in deeply.  When I show up for work every day, the work I do will tangibly change people's lives.

What a joy that is to contemplate!  And what a responsibility.


I have struggled.  I have felt fear, pain, and insecurity so deep in my bones that I thought I would break into a million pieces, shattering into tiny sharp shards.  I have been lost at sea, swimming in the dark, exhausted beyond understanding.  I know what that feels like.

But today, the sun is shining both literally and metaphorically, and I am allowing myself to feel it fully in my bones, filling up those broken places with joy.  What is the point of knowing sorrow, if I can't know joy? 

I know joy.  She is my friend, and more a part of me than all of the negativity I have struggled with.

I will know pain again.  I will meet challenges, I will sometimes fail, I will hurt.  My life isn't perfect, and this new job won't be perfect.  Suffering is inevitable in life.  And yet...

Today is a day for celebration, for joy, for looking success in the face and shouting "I did it!  I really did it!"


If you are struggling now, lost at sea and so tired of swimming, please read my words and see that the shore still exists, that you will not have to swim forever, you just have to go a while longer.

If you are wondering if work is pointless and there's no chance to live your authentic life, the one that makes your soul sing, then please reconsider.  We all deserve to have authentic lives with our souls on fire with joy, and it's worth fighting for.  Please fight for it.

If your life is going well right now, please take a moment to revel in it, to smile ear to ear, to appreciate it fully.  And then take a peaceful moment to radiate that joy out into the world, where many people need to feel its light.


Friday, April 11, 2014

The job!

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement.


This afternoon, shortly after completing interviews with the executive director and members of the board of a nonprofit, I was extended a job offer, which I gladly accepted.  They made it clear that they had many candidates to choose from and they thought I was the best fit; the job posting had a salary range "dependent on experience" and though because this is a career switch for me they could have put me at the bottom of that range.....they offered me the top of the range.

This is an organization that does work that I believe in deeply.  They are rock solid: they are held up as a model for other organizations to follow, and they have great leadership.  They deeply impact the lives of people in their community.

"Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life" the expression says.  Well, I believe that I've chosen a job that won't feel like work, even when it is, and I couldn't be happier about that.


My last job got me on my feet after stay-at-home-mom-cancer-patient-gets-divorced.  It was great for where I was; it reminded me that I still had relevant skills, that I could implement positive change in an organization, and that it was indeed possible for me to juggle motherhood and employment.  It was a gentle transition in that the job wasn't terribly challenging and had a good deal of flexibility.

But this job, this one is a career, and this speaks to who I am as a person.  I can look you in the eye and tell you what I do and who I do it for, and I feel proud of that.

I can not begin to express how happy this makes me.

This is me, earning my life back.  This is me, creating the life I want for myself and my daughter. 

This is me....happy.


I start in a week.  It's Katherine's spring break and we're headed to our favorite island hideaway, to a friend's cabin near the water, and we can't wait.

I have a lot to think about over the next week...but I do it with a glow in my heart.



Thank you to all of you out there in internet land who sent me notes of encouragement throughout this grueling process.  It helped, and your support has buoyed me on the rough days.  You are appreciated.

Now - back to the business of living, instead of trying to resolve the unemployment dilemma 24x7! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


I don't often remember my dreams after I wake up, but in the past few days, there were two.

The first:
The job that looks so promising, the one I've fallen in love with, the one that I think I have a good chance at...well, I got a phone call, and they blew me off, out of the blue.  I said, "Could you tell me why?" and they basically told me that I just wasn't that great.  I woke up feeling devastated.

The second:
I was driving somewhere with a very handsome man.  The dream man looked disconcertingly like a married man I'm acquaintances with; in my defense, one of the things I like about that man in real life is the beautiful way he and his wife interact, and I'd seen them together recently and thought "what a lovely relationship they seem to have".  In any case, in the dream, this wasn't someone else's husband, and it wasn't someone I currently know, and we were on a date.  He looked over at me, and started saying things that showed me that he really, really saw me.  I got nervous and felt vulnerable, so I put up walls and blew him off and said, "Oh come on, you're laying it on a little thick" or something equally non-romantic in response; in the dream I strongly felt the emotion of "don't fall for this or you'll get hurt."  He looked at me, stopped the car, and held my hand as he stared in my face.  "You deserve this," he said.  "You know how I feel about you, and I know we haven't known each other that long yet, but I will not let you push me away because I know you feel the same way..." and I knew he was right, and I felt my defenses melting, at once excited and peaceful, and I woke up feeling hopeful and wonderful.

I am pretty sure that I know that the first dream is a sign of all my insecurities about being unemployed.  Unemployment is a mind bender, and it sucks, and it's not okay and it's getting more frightening.  I had to ask my parents for help - ugh.  I even got the lecture (when asked my monthly expenses) that included something like "You know that your mom, you, and I lived on less than $1000 a month when you were a baby....!"  My father knows that times have changed, that nobody can live on that now, and that I have a mortgage and pay for health insurance (which, as Canadians, he did not).  He was kind and did give me the help I needed, but not without the sting of those words.  But it's not just about the money, that is so painfully tight: it's about the identity of being a working person doing meaningful work in the world.  I want that.  I want it badly.  And I think that this latest opportunity is my best so far, that I could use it not only to re-create my life once again but to really put my heart and soul into it.  The dream was a message reminding me how much I want it, how scared I am, how concerned I am that my dreams will not come true.

I will fight those feelings.  I'm holding on for what I need, and if this job isn't that I'll keep going....but please put in a prayer for this opportunity.  The work would be satisfying, the pay acceptable (I wouldn't get rich but I would be okay), and it would be a game changer...

The dream was about my fears in real life, not a future predictor.  I see that.

But the second dream?  I have no idea where that came from.  I'm not dating, I'm not online, and I barely notice men in my life any more.  I don't want to be someone's rescue project, and so I decided not to date until I had my life back together (one word: employed).  I am content with this decision, believe in it deeply, and don't spend much time thinking about men, dating, romance, love, or even sex (I've blocked it out, no point wanting what I can't have, so I've shelved it all for the moment).

All I can say is that it was really clear, that the moment was so tangible, and that my weak words to describe it sound sillier than the dream felt.  It felt good and true, and reminded me that I DO want those feelings.

But first, I want the job.