Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Day in the Life of the Funemployed

6:45 a.m.: Hit snooze. Because duh.

7:35 a.m.: Kyle leaves for work. Reset alarm for 8:00 a.m.

8:00 a.m.: Hit snooze.

8:15 a.m.: Wake up, for real. Scroll through Instagram and Bloglovin'. Fight urge to watch The Magic School Bus on Netflix.  

8:45 a.m.: Get out of bed, for real. Swear to get up earlier tomorrow. Really.

8:47 a.m.: Wake up Henson. Make bed. Put on running clothes. Debate going back to bed.

9:03 a.m.: Take Henson for a walk around the block. Vow to start writing my personal statement for my grad school application today. 

9:22 a.m.: Put on "Super Bass." Start running. Boom badoom boom

9:35 a.m.: Mentally congratulate myself for being less out of breath than usual. Run harder because BOOM BADOOM BOOM. 

9:54 a.m.: Return from run. Take "Super Bass" off repeat. Swear to run faster/longer/"Super Bass"-less tomorrow.

10:02 a.m.: Lift weights and do sit-ups. Pretend that I held a plank for longer than 30 20 15 seconds. 

10:26 a.m.: Turn on the coffee. Take a shower. Hum "Super Bass." Silently curse Nicki Minaj and her catchy tune.

10:51 a.m.: Pour myself a cup of coffee. Turn on computer. Open blank Word document and start personal statement.

10:52 a.m.: Stare at blank Word document. Type a few words.

11:09 a.m.: Start job searching. Apply to appropriate jobs. Occasionally scroll through Instagram. Wonder why people post pictures of what they're eating for lunch. Wonder why I care. 

12:27 p.m.: Eat an apple for lunch. Don't Instagram it.

12:32 p.m.: Fight the urge to turn on an episode of Cheers.

12:33 p.m.: Turn on Cheers. Refuse to admit to myself how much I'm totally into this whole Sam and Diane thing.

12:34 p.m.: Admit to myself how much I'm totally into this whole Sam and Diane thing! 

12:59 p.m.: Turn off Cheers. Consider that maybe my true calling is opening a bar in Boston. 

1:03 p.m.: Decide that I couldn't move to Boston because I don't want to feel pressure to be a Red Sox fan. See also, no bartending experience.

1:05 p.m.: Go back to searching for legitimate jobs. Apply for a few more. Wonder if Murphy Brown is still hiring secretaries.

1:06 p.m.: Contemplate why everything in my life goes back to an '80s/'90s television reference. Yada, yada, yada. Decide it's probably best to not analyze it too much. (DAMN IT.)

1:09 p.m.: Draw a total blank for personal statement. Type a few more words. Wonder why talking about myself is so difficult when I do it all the time in real life. Wonder if I'm too narcissistic. 

1:24 p.m.: Tell Henson he needs a haircut.

1:25 p.m.: Make the very adult decision to close out of all things Internet and not return until personal statement is complete.

1:32 p.m.: Go online, because duh.

1:40 p.m.: Type a few more words on personal statement.

2:04 p.m.: Take a selfie with this Muppet. (He's not amused.) Resist urge to Instagram. Wonder why I look 14 in said selfie.

2:10 p.m.: Really buckle down and get to work on personal statement. Inspiration! 

2:43 p.m.: Realize that I'm a flibbertigibbet. Consider eschewing the whole grad school thing and wonder if Grand Rapids is in the market for a professional hot air balloon service. 

2:44 p.m.: Remember that I don't know how to fly hot air balloons. Decide that maybe grad school is the best option after all. Return to personal statement.

3:52 p.m.: Write and finish personal statement. That wasn't so bad!

3:55 p.m.: Actually read personal statement. Realize that I sound like a crazy person. Consider scrapping the whole thing and talking about my experience conquering alcoholism at Betty Ford. Remember that was the plot of the Murphy Brown pilot and that it didn't actually happen to me. 

4:17 p.m.: Send personal statement to a friend for editing suggestions. Try not to panic. Decide that painting my nails is mission critical.

4:23 p.m.: Paint nails.

4:33 p.m.: Chip nails.

4:34 p.m.: Paint nails.

4:44 p.m.: Chip nails.

4:45 p.m.: Give up on nails and go wash dishes. 

4:47 p.m.: Wash dishes and listen to "Super Bass." Boom badoom boom.

5:00 p.m.: Wonder what I should fix for dinner. Fight urge to get take-out sushi. 

5:05 p.m.: Stare at contents of cupboards. Continue to fight sushi craving.

5:08 p.m.: Decide on pasta, because I guess. Continue to fantasize about sushi.

5:09 p.m.: Realize it's too early to fix dinner. Watch Cheers.

5:19 p.m.: Revisit the idea of opening a bar in Boston. 

5:20 p.m.: Remember that I'd already decided against that. 

5:34 p.m.: Call my mom. Ask her if she would be interested in moving to Boston and opening a bar with me. 

5:58 p.m.: After a lengthy discussion, decide that my mom is right and bars in Boston are overdone. Determine that my true calling is as Murphy Brown's secretary.

6:04 p.m.: Start dinner. Boil water for noodles. Make sauce. Consider opening an Italian restaurant?

6:25 p.m.: Kyle is home! Human contact! 

6:31 p.m.: Discuss with Kyle my plethora of career plans over our spaghetti. 

6:42 p.m.: Mutually decide that applying for jobs outside of the '80s/'90s sitcom universe might be in my best interest. 

7:16 p.m.: Settle in for an evening of playing Speed and trying to convince Kyle to watch Cheers. 

11:04 p.m.: Go to bed. Take a deep breath. Be grateful for the time and freedom to explore my passions and determine what I really want to do with my life. Vow to never take this journey of discovery and growth for granted. Take a deep breath. Close my eyes. Lay my head on Kyle's chest. Find peace. 


3:36 a.m.: Wake up. Write "open bar in Boston" in dream journal. Go back to sleep. DAMN. IT.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Mt. Roberts
Juneau, AK

There have been some big changes in my life recently, and it all started with Alaska.

While I was in Alaska, I felt more alive than I had in years. I woke up every morning excited for what the day held, ready for adventure. I wanted to get out of bed, a big deal for me lately. It was beyond just the feeling of happiness associated with being on vacation and escaping the daily grind. I felt content and secure with myself. I felt like I could breathe. I wanted to bottle these feelings and carry Alaska with me always.

But I noticed that I had to keep my mind almost constantly occupied. If I had a quiet moment without Kyle, a book, or a new experience holding my attention, I would inevitably find myself stressing out about work. Even with over 3,000 miles of separation on the vacation of my dreams, I was still experiencing strong anxiety related to my job. The closer our return to Michigan, the closer the tension rose to the surface. 

I had been unhappy with my career for a very long time. In theory, it was (almost) everything I could have ever wanted in a job: local nonprofit, managing an office, serving Michigan residents with disabilities and their families. But even from my first day, my gut told me that it just wasn't a good fit. I'm still not sure why. I just know that the harder I tried to be a square peg in a round hole, the unhappier I became.

When we returned from Alaska, things started going downhill. Fast. The anxiety, depression, and panic I had felt for the past two years had escalated. My usual coping skills (hydrating, running, playing the violin) weren't even remotely helpful. I felt like it had begun to take over all areas of my life. I was extremely unhealthy, emotionally and physically. Rationally I knew that I had to resign, but I was afraid. Afraid of being a failure. Afraid of not being able to find another job. Afraid of not having enough money. Afraid of what my life would look like if I quit. Afraid of what it would look like if I didn't. 

With the unwavering support of Kyle and other very wonderful people in my life, I was able to take the leap. A month after our return from Alaska, I put in my notice. It wasn't easy. At all. But I know in my heart that it was the right decision. I feel like a weight has been lifted. I feel like an entirely different person. I feel like I can breathe again. 

Although I'm scared, I'm also incredibly excited for this new chapter in my life. I feel so alive, so free. I feel like I can do anything. I'm looking for jobs, volunteering, and contemplating going back to school. I'm running more than ever, writing nearly every day, and beginning to recharge. Navigating this journey of discovery (and recovery) is scariest thing I've ever done, but also the most exhilarating.

Standing at the top of Mt. Roberts in Juneau on a cold and rainy July afternoon, I felt alive to the point of tears. Today, typing this at my kitchen table, I feel  much the same way. It's been a long time coming, but I feel a peace in my heart and mind once again. I know the road ahead isn't an easy one, but I know that a brighter future, my proverbial Alaska, awaits at the end of it. And I couldn't be more thrilled to take the leap. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On 9/11

To those who haven't forgotten because they can't remember:

It's difficult for me to comprehend that there is an entire generation that either wasn't born or is too young to remember the events of September 11, 2001. Like so many, my memories of that day are associated with a classroom. My classmates and I were shaken and confused, but we carried on. It was not until the days, weeks, and months that followed that we truly understood the impact and lasting effects. 

I won't question what you do and do not remember, or the influence that it has made on your life because I will never understand. I remember a definitive before. Like what the Kennedy assassination is to our parents' generation, this a defining moment in the lives of so many. A before and an after. Every generation has them, but I think the moments that happen when you are young stay with you the strongest. I don't believe that 9/11 is the defining moment of our generation, just one of many that have created the fabric of our country and added pages to our history books. However, it seems that it has been used to frame every defining moment since.  

It is my hope that in the future these inevitable defining moments will not be associated disasters, but rather with hope. That it won't take extreme upheaval and tragedy to bring people together. It is my hope that for generations to come, the good in the world will outweigh the evil and their defining moments will reflect that. It is my hope that someday, hope and peace will be the norm. And we all have the ability to come together and create that for ourselves, and for the generations to come. It all matters. 

Don't just say, "never forget." Say "never again." And vow to make this world a better place. Don't give in to hate and apathy, but to love and acceptance. So we'll carry on, together, from this day forward and incite change for the better. Carry on with hope. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The truth.

Excuse me while I nerdgasm for a moment, but today is the 20th anniversary of The X-Files and I couldn't let the day pass without marking it in some way. The pilot episode aired on September 10, 1993, thus ushering in an ongoing era of government conspiracy theories, searching for the truth, and shipping Mulder and Scully like it was your job. (Or maybe that last one is just me.) 

I could go on forever about my unnatural love for this show, but instead I'll just leave you with one of my favorite Dana Scully quotes. It may not be the funniest or profoundest or the most well-known. However, it has come to mean a lot to me at this point in my life. There have been some big changes; something that I'm not quite ready to discuss yet. However, I will say that I've felt as though I have been constantly searching, not for aliens, but for truth and meaning within my own life. I'm slowly starting to find it, and this little piece of wisdom from my favorite FBI agent has brought me some insight:

"You will learn that the truth is not found in science or on some unseen plane, but by looking into your own heart." 

And as I continue on this journey of self-discovery, I will remember to remain true to myself, above all else. Thank you, X-Files. For being an escape in these crazy times. For encouraging me to believe. And for being a constant reminder that the truth is out there, whatever that truth may be.

Maybe there's hope.