Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What I Didn't Write About in 2013

Happy new year!! Happy cosmic reset-button day!!

I love beginnings, I love January, I love that 2013 is over. It was a good year, that ended well (with a job I love and a draft of a novel), but it was definitely one of the harder ones.

My Year of Writing became my Year of Writing and Then Eight Months of (often demoralizing) Job Search (while also writing). The latter phrase works less well in a keyword search. I didn't blog about the job search while in it because much like the fact it's no fun to date someone who complains about how awful dating is, it just doesn't work in your favor to complain about hunting for work while hunting for work, especially in an era where all of your public persona is game in evaluating whether you seem employable. But it was hard: there's nothing quite like hunting for work in a slowly recovering recession to make you feel really bad about yourself, often. I certainly don't aspire to have all of my worth tied up in work, but when you feel like there aren't opportunities to use your talents, it's easy to start feeling like you don't have any.

I oh-so naively expected that I'd find something quickly. It's often good to not know how hard things will be really, how much you will need to draw on reserves of resilience and then some. Had I known at the beginning of the Year of Writing that I'd end up spending down my savings to college-student-levels, I'd have been much too freaked out to have started.

It was not all hard, of course. It was a beautiful thing to have time to read, write, go for walks during the day, think deeper about what I wanted out of life, and out of work specifically. But to gloss over it would be a disservice to anyone still in the midst of searching for work.

Being unemployed is hard on your friends and loved ones too. It puts people in an awkward position of good intentions coupled with worry for you that sometimes leads to saying things that are actually hurtful, or not saying anything at all, which sometimes makes you feel like you should be silent too. It's hard to strike the right balance of being supportive, especially when things drag out longer than expected. It's easy from the outside of things to think "if they just did this, or that" then everything would work out--this is true as well for dating and other life choices. Money stuff puts a strain on everything in your social life, and the subtle negotiations of generosity vs. independence make my stomach hurt.

I'm so grateful to have found a job at the end of the painful journey, and to have found one I really, really like. I'm grateful the hunt didn't have to last longer than it did, and that I had the support networks and people that I had. My heart goes out to those still looking, and feeling discouraged by the process. May 2014 be the year the hunt ends, and may you have kind people on your side throughout the journey and great warehouses of strength to get you through. To hopeful beginnings.

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