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Earlier today,  a 9/11 tribute came on the radio and had me in tears.  Like most around the world, I remember that day all too well.

I remember walking into my high school English class, seeing the lights out and a TV on.  First I thought we were watching a movie in class, but sadly, nothing I was about to watch was fiction.   A room of stunned 14 year olds sat in silence as we watched the towers collapse.  We’d heard stories of Pearl Harbor but had never encountered tragedy on that scale.  In that small North Carolina classroom we watched the world and our way of looking at it change forever.

I remember frantic calls to my dad, who worked in New York City at the time.  It was dinnertime before I got a reassuring call from my stepmom that he had gotten on the last train out of the city and was on his way home.   My stepdad’s twin brother was in the process of moving into a new office in the second tower.  We didn’t learn until the next day that by some stroke of grace he had gone  to his old office that morning.  One of my uncle’s best friends wasn’t so lucky.  Neither was one of my mom’s good friend’s husband.

Eight years later, it’s still hard to fathom.  I now understand both more and less about what I witnessed on a small TV that September morning.  I think it speaks volumes to our government and national security that we have not had to endure anything like it since then.

This somber anniversary also helps me to put things like losing my job in perspective.   Like I wrote yesterday, I’m alive and I’m free.  And proud – today and everyday – to be an American.

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“I got no money in my pocket, I got a hole in my jeans, I had a job and I lost it…”

This Keith Urban song came on the radio as I was driving home from work tonight.  Fittingly, since I got laid off today.  It sucks but  surprisingly, I’m not as upset as I thought I would be.

Losing this job feels kinda like breaking up with someone you didn’t ever want to marry.  Unpleasant, but I knew it would happen eventually.   The “it isn’t you, it’s [the company]” speech still made me slightly nauseous.  But as much as I will miss some of my coworkers and my paychecks, I didn’t LOVE this job.   Ultimately, I know I could be a lot happier somewhere else, doing something I’m really passionate about.  The hardest part is the process of getting back out there,  into the dark, scary singles job market, hoping that something great will come along and that I won’t have to settle again.  (Just like dating – ha!)

I know that I’m fortunate.  Unlike many in the ranks of the unemployed that I’m joining, I don’t have a family to support or a mortgage to pay.  I can remain on my parents’ health insurance plan for almost two more years.  I trusted my gut and didn’t sign a year apartment lease, but managed a short-term one just though December.  So I’ve got some time to get my life in order before moving on in 2010.

This will be a year of big changes – I can just feel it, and this is just the beginning.

“…but it won’t get to me… I’m alive and I’m free, who wouldn’t wanna be me?”

Never have I ever been so relieved to have a bed of my own, and a roof over my head that I paid for.  (Er, I paid for with the help of my parents.)

Not that being “homeless” was so bad, thanks to true-blue friends that offered extra beds and couches without hesitation and made me feel at home for the 2 weeks-ish that I was desperately searching for one of my own.

Thankfully, I found a woman leasing a room in a townhouse right next to campus.  Although it’s a far cry from my former arrangement of living in an apartment with two of my best friends, it will do just fine for now.

As much as I wish I were still living with my friends, suppliers of endless conversation, laughter, and fashion accessories because “really, you’re going out without a necklace/earrings?? Here – wear this – much better!” (What will I do without them?)  I also know deep down that being detached from those distractions for a little while will be good for me.

I’m settling into a new lifestyle until I get my degree.   More work, less play.   This phase is about deffered enjoyment.  Buckling down and focusing now to ensure that there will be things to celebrate in the future.  And when this phase is over? Celebrate I will.

“The world may never know the truth about your life; that’s because they don’t care to. But when you find the ones who want to know every detail of it, they’re the ones to keep. They’re the ones who keep you alive."
September 2009
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