The Green Eyed Monster

I’ve mentioned a few times that I have a friend who is in a similar situation employment-wise but today that changed.  One of my closest friends who until a few hours ago was unhappily employed has finally landed a position with a great company. She’s moved a step forward on her journey of happiness.

I’m happy for her………

but there’s also a side of me that wants to cry because it reminds me of my lack of progress.  I haven’t been on a single interview.  I’ve been applying to jobs for months.  I’ve learned the hiring process takes time but it’s still challenging.

I was already not having the greatest day so when I received her text I was immediately happy for her but then the anxiety, doubt, and jealousy arrived in my mind.  I began to question my choices, question what I was going to do next, question why she found a job and I was left alone in my struggles.  My initial reaction was a bit over-dramatic so I had to regroup before I worked myself up into some crazy anxious frenzy.

On the bright side her text arrived just when I was getting ready to give up on my job search for the day.  After my initial reaction I decided to channel my anxious jealous energy into my job search thus turning my negative energy into positive energy.  I chose to look at her success not as my failure but as proof that things can work out, that all the applications can eventually turn into a job, that all the stress and doubt can eventually morph into happiness.

I decided to be hopeful.  If she found something then I will too.  She was applying for jobs before I even started looking so she had a few months on me so I’ve still got time.  I’m going to keep applying to jobs and trust in the process.

I’m not gonna lie and say those initial feelings are completely gone….I am human and not some super optimistic robot.  There’s still a small part of me throwing an internal tantrum screaming “When’s it gonna be my turn?!?” but for the most part I’m hopeful.  When she calls tonight I’m going to congratulate her, wish her all the luck in the world with her new job, and ignore the green eyed monster lurking in my mind.   I know my time is coming soon……

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The Uncertain Future

I try to keep myself busy because if I have too many days like yesterday I will slowly drive myself insane sitting around thinking.  I try to distract myself from dwelling too much on the uncertainty in my life because that is what will make me crazy.

My line of thought actually goes something like this:

“I’m tired.  Maybe I should take a short nap”
“You have so many things you should be doing right now.  Don’t take a nap.”
“You were going to pick out pictures to print for a portfolio. You need to print out the portfolio to go visit the gallery”
“Do you really want to show your pictures in a gallery? What if they say no?”
“Being a photographer is uncertain and challenging. Is that what I really want to pursue?”
“But am I pursuing the right career? Maybe I should check for new job postings”
“The application and hiring process takes so long. I’ll never find anything and be stuck here forever”
“Where am I going to be in a year?”
“Will I be happy?”
“What will I be doing?”
“Where is my life going?”

It’s funny how my mind can drift from taking a nap to wondering what I’m going to be doing with the rest of my life.  I often mention unemployment is more challenging than I imagined it to be when I was working.  When you’re working and feeling secure in your job the word unemployment actually sounds similar to the word vacation.

It also sounds like something that can’t happen to you and if it does you’ll just find another job.

It’s not that hard.  Jobs are everywhere.  I could find a job in a few weeks with no problem.  At least that’s what I thought when I was securely employed.  Now that I’m unemployed my perspective is vastly different, although I do think I could find a retail job if it comes to it but I’m not ready to give up on my pursuit of a new career that I might actually love.

The problem with unemployment is I’m constantly aware that I’m unemployed and always think I should be doing more.  It’s tough sometimes to turn my brain off which is why I work to find distractions.

I never thought I would be unemployed and certainly not for this long but I am and it’s been a long time.  I think some part of me will look back on this time and question some of my decisions, especially not applying for jobs earlier but I think that’s just part of life.  I think another larger part will recognize all the positive changes I made in my life, working out, eating healthy, getting active, volunteering, and truly getting to know myself.

Even though I’m scared of the uncertainty in my future I’m actually more scared when I think of what I might be doing if the store hadn’t closed.  I’d been stuck in my rut for so long and convinced myself I was going to make changes “someday” but never really changed anything because I was comfortable.  I lied and said “One more year.”  Despite the fact that I was miserable and stressed all the time I would have stayed with the job.

I wouldn’t have made all the changes I’ve made with my health, both physical and mental.  I also never would have started this blog and right now this is one of the things I’m certain about in my life.  I’m also certain things will work out eventually so even though my optimism waivers it’s still here.  I just have to be patient, remind myself that uncertainty is not the worst, and just keep working toward my happiness.

Refocusing on My Life

I’m refocusing on my meal plans and refocusing on my workouts.  (I’m going to use the word refocus quite a few times) I have to write about my fears and doubts every so often and this post is really meant to refocus me in some sort of direction instead of simply floating around in this void I seem to be stuck in right now.

Somewhere in the last month I allowed myself to lose focus on what I’m doing, which also gave wider openings for fear and doubt to creep back into my life.

When I first started job hunting I was printing out positions I was interested in, making notes, writing cover letters, checking different sites, basically I was eager and excited.  I was packing boxes and cleaning out my apartment.  I was keeping my apartment clean but lately it’s been a disaster.  My desk is covered in papers, receipts, and who knows what else.

As time ticks by, weeks into months, with no interviews or immediate prospects it’s easy to begin to doubt yourself and what you’re doing with your life.  It might sound strange but in my mind I haven’t given up but it’s like (not to be too dramatic) part of my spirit is broken from the rejection and the time spent waiting.

I do everything I can to stay positive and keep forward momentum but it’s tough to not have moments where you ask, “What’s the point?”

I had one of those moments yesterday when I was looking at jobs.  I began to think, “This job is just like another job you applied for and you didn’t get that job, so what’s the point?”  I closed my laptop and walked away.  This morning I woke up with renewed energy and decided to set some goals for the week to help reduce my aimlessly drifting through the week.  I realized I need to refocus on accomplishing certain tasks during the week.

I created a to-do list for the week:

Apply for at least 5 jobs
Interview prep 1 hour each day
Create a portfolio of photos
Pick a hike for this week
Visit gallery
Red Cross training at least 1 hour each day
Gym 5 days a week

Along with my weekly goals I’m also reevaluating my long-term goals because like I mention above I think I lost my focus somewhere along the way and am now allowing myself to mindlessly amble through life on the delusion that I’m happy.

Okay, it’s not a total delusion because I am happy about 80% of the time.  I’m getting healthy.  I’m more confident in myself.  I’m trying new things.  I’m exploring creative endeavors.  I’m trying to be more open to adventure.

The other 20% I’m a ball of anxiety, fear, and depression because I’m worried I’ve lost some of my ambition to keep moving forward in my life.  I also start to feel it from my friends and family……the pressure.  “What are you doing?”  “What jobs have you applied to?”  “When are you going to move?”  “Did you apply for this job or that job?”  Unfortunately sometimes the pressure just makes me want to shut down like the other day when my mom asked if I picked up a newspaper while I was in Seattle.

“People still post jobs in the paper”

I snapped back at her, “Yes, I know but I can’t go back and get a paper at this point”

Then I felt like crying because I should have picked up a paper and also because I was being a brat.

I know people in my life wouldn’t ask me questions or suggest things if they didn’t care so I do appreciate my friends and family but some days I want to scream at the top of my lungs “I DON’T KNOW!!!!”  because it describes how I feel most of the time.  I feel like I’m living in this world of uncertainty and I’m muddling through everything to figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life.

It’s not easy but I know I’ll figure it out.  In the meantime I’m back to taking things one week at a time because this is when I was doing best.  I’m going to reevaluate both my short and long-term goals and refocus on clearing out the clutter (starting with my desk).phone pics 200