Friday, September 25, 2009

a year without a job

Thanks to my mother-in-law and lots of wise words from incredible, generous, caring friends… I guess I can finally admit to myself that my creative block has everything in the world to do with feeling stuck in life.

can we ever go back 

My husband was laid off his job over a year ago. It actually became known to us about a month before the financial crisis hit the world in Sept of 2008. His company had acquired a new CEO a few months prior and he changed the entire future plan for the company. In the ensuing reorganization quite a few people were laid off, their jobs absorbed by those who remained.

We weren’t worried at first. He got a great severance package and we saw it as our final push to move from Southern California to Seattle, where we’d always dreamt of living. During a trip to Seattle, to check out neighborhoods and reaffirm our desire to relocate, the bailout talk on the news began. Still we weren’t nervous. Well, we were probably nervous but we weren’t allowing ourselves to worry. My husband has never had a hard time finding work in the software field. He has a PhD. He is very smart and very easy going. People like him.

We moved to Seattle in Feb 2009 and while he’d begun really searching for a job months before that, we still weren’t worried. When summer came, we were surprised. He’d been on interviews, sent out hundreds of resumes (even some out of state). But nothing came of them. The pool of perspective employees was so rich and saturated that employers were able to be very picky about who they hired. That’s the only thing that makes sense to us, by way of explanation.


Having come full circle now, after one whole year without a job, we’ve faired much better than many many other’s have. We are financially stable still. We’ve adjusted our living style to a much more frugal one. We go to the library instead of buying books. We teach our son to play with the stones we find on the shore, instead of buying him lots of new toys (this has been an excellent lesson in creativity and imagination for us all – a lucky side effect). We go to the park and walk for entertainment. We’ve simplified, hunkered down, waited and searched for opportunities for things to go back to normal.

In light of how lucky we have been, how lucky others have not been,I have found it difficult to allow myself to really complain or feel the impact that all of this has had on me. I felt I didn’t have the right. If you’re lying next to an amputee in a hospital, you don’t moan about a broken wrist. You put on a brave face and thank the stars you have all your limbs (I did that). But, when the doctor comes around to ask how you are doing, you don’t delve so far into humility as to render yourself incapable of reporting your own pain, your own experience or needs (I did that too).

What has begun to hit my husband and I, having passed that one year mark, is that things may never be “normal” again. Waiting for that may be like waiting to be young again – pointless.

RIP bird

Things may change so much as we look for new ways to fund this family of ours, that it won’t resemble anything we had in the past. It might be a better, fuller, happier life. It might not. But standing still, while helping us endure, hasn’t moved us toward anything. And not moving is not good. In waiting, in standing still, I’ve lost whatever mojo, passion, zest I had for photography (temporarily). In loosing that, I lost my way to myself, my ability to renew, my balast. Without those things, everyone around me suffers.

So, no more. Moving. Going. Doing. Planning. Dreaming. Scheming, if necessary. These will replace waiting, hoping, and enduring. I will be bold. I will take risks with my work. I will move with purpose and awaken myself from this hibernation.


The Giraffe Head Tree said...

Rachel, you post moved me so much this morning. We've experienced similar and understand. Check out Robert Genn and sign up for his free newsletter - I love it. He is so inspirational. Read Julia Cameron's Artist's Way Journey series. Moving to Seattle was a good choice; walking the beaches and continuing your art is excellent; I, too, now frequent libraries. Simplification is good for all of us on so many levels. Gets you closer to yourself, to your maker and weeds out the unnecessary. Hang in there - we're here for you with large, ample shoulders.

RedorGrayArt said...

Rachel, I have no words of wisdom that I am sure you have not already heard...your post really showed me two things...your photography is so beautiful and your wring so honest and true, thank you for reaching out thru this medium and i look forward to your exciting future ~ elk

V said...

Rachel, in my short - long life, I had few very depressive periods and few unexpected events changed completely my life. But it always got better. That's how it is. Sometimes it takes longer, sometimes less but it will get better. All things happen for reason and take it from positive side, this situation showed you a lot of new things and you approached life from different side...your body and soul probably just need break and when the time is ready everything will be great again. By the way your photos are beautiful. very much....