Can we talk about where are you in the world? One of you is in the Philippines, which I find amazing/awesome. (Hi!)
I am presently in the not-so-amazing and not-so-awesome world of scrolling and saving and scrolling some more, while I look for a job on the opposite side of the country. A job that I am not likely to find on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. X, x, x. Focus!
Focusing — this is Phase One. Moving to where we think we’d like to be — that is Phase Two. (We’re getting there!)
Phase Three — Phase Three is less fun and exciting. Phase Three is the serious stuff. It involves resume tweaking, cover letter writing, and starchy shirt ironing. You know the drill, don’t you? I like to cap mine off by talking to my mirror, applying copious amounts of deodorant, and hope-hope-hoping.
There’s something else I like to do too. Before, during, and after all of that.
Drink pretty coffee! (With small spoon.) Shocker, I know. I really need some new material.
I kind of do have new material, actually. This time around, I have a different way of approaching unemployment. Unemployment, the feeling. This is not to say that I no longer have moments of complete despair, in which I bang my head down against the dining room table and moan, Mom, I am never going to find anything. Rest assured.
But here is the thing — the first thing. The idea that I could actually know what I’d like to do with the rest of my life, at age twenty-three, is 1). illogical and 2). unreasonable. It would be far more valuable for me to figure out what we’re having for lunch. That, I think, is both logical and reasonable. I tend to think more clearly on a full stomach.
Second, now that the Crock-Pot has that covered: I no longer need a job to validate the fact that I am a person. A Real Person. I am a writer (hey, that wasn’t so hard!), and regardless of whether I am able to touch one or two or three [THOUSAND — dream big!] people, on any given day, I feel very good about what I’m doing here.
Third: I want to be someone who can confidently say she likes her work, but her work isn’t what her life is about.
Yes, I am aware that a goal of this nature probably means that I failed New York. Because I left New York thinking that being a workaholic is not a virtue. It is a disease. Curable only by lots of time languishing in large bodies of water and soaking up long slow afternoons.
I left New York with a roar in my ears. Good gracious, you must live your life. We must all live lives. And while a career can be good and interesting and stimulating and rewarding, it cannot be everything. It cannot.
Fourth: It’s taken me the better part of two years, but I’m finally ready to let go of the life I thought I was going to have. This life involved softer-than-soft sheets from West Elm, pretty patterned plates from Anthropologie, and drawers jammed with jeans in the neighborhood of $200. And up.
I am also ready to give up the dream of a Wall Street banker by day, gnocchi-making boyfriend by night. Because who needs gnocchi? I’m pretty sure boxed pasta will do. We can add some oil and some herbs — it’ll be good.
Fifth: If you resist the urge to apologize for who you’re turning out to be, you will be much less unhappy. Resist, resist, resist! I try to resist using the hashtag #sorrynotsorry, too, but that’s just me. Let’s go be wildly excited about fresh figs.
Sixth: Happiness is tops. Honestly. You are going to get a job and I am going to get a job and then a scary-large portion of our days will be about getting up, going to work, and getting it done. We are each responsible for making that part of our lives as painless as possible, and for reserving the rest of it for enjoying EVERYTHING WE CAN.
It must be said: keeping yourself enthused is a full-time job. Trust me — I’d know. What do you mean, unemployed?!
The point is…happiness is important. It’s the day-to-day — yours and mine. It’s most of what there is. If we hold out for the big things, the grand gestures (a promotion, and an impromptu trip to Paris, and possibly a little velvet box?!) — we are probably not going to feel very satisfied, very often.
I’ve said this before, and I’m saying it again: It’s important that we bring in enough money to cover our share of living expenses. Obviously. (STILL — WHY SO MANY.) But we don’t all need to have really great (read: lucrative) jobs. What do you think about that? I think that when you’re me, those jobs tend to gobble up the enjoy, enjoy, enjoy portion of the day. And that’s the piece of the day I like best. That’s the piece of the pie that I want.
I understand that there might not be very much leftover, after that. In terms of dollars and cents, I mean. I feel much more okay about that. If I knew I’d always have enough to go buy a miniscule jug of real maple syrup and a laughably lopsided acorn squash, I’d even feel good about it.
And I think I’d feel pretty wonderful about it all, if I had someone to split my squash with, at the end of the day. If I had someone to help me hack it in half, when we got home. And if that someone wanted to sprinkle on some salt (more), spoon over some syrup (MORE, HANNAH), and pin me up against the stove we forgot to ever turn on? Well, I think I’d just be on cloud nine, if I could have that too.
“You don’t have to get a job that makes others feel comfortable about what they perceive as your success. You don’t have to explain what you plan to do with your life. You don’t have to justify your education by demonstrating its financial rewards. You don’t have to maintain an impeccable credit score. Anyone who expects you to do any of those things has no sense of history or economics or science or the arts. You have to pay your electric bill. You have to be kind. You have to give it all you got. You have to find people who love you truly and love them back with the same truth. But that’s all.” -Cheryl Strayed