Merry Christmas, I’m Great.

Basic RGBHappy holidays! A season of presents, parties, and social grilling on how you are/who you’re dating/where you’re working….and now is not exactly the best time for me to be answering those questions! In a nutshell…eh/no one/no where. So festive! Where’s the eggnog???

It’s amazing how unmoored you feel without a job to give you a purpose in life and at holiday parties! Despite whatever personal shortcomings I may have experienced in the past, my job was always something that elicited an impressed nod and the assurance that I was doing ok. Now I’m in the position of explaining to church ladies, my parents’ friends, old coworkers, successful friends of my successful friends, and my grandmother, that yes, leaving my job was my choice and yes, I’m actually happy about it! But no matter how I phrase it, the response is always the same: “Well, you’ll find something in the New Year! …I’m going to talk to someone who is more successful now, byeeeeeeee!”

But I survived the holiday season boyfriendless, jobless, and with most of my dignity in tact, so I only have the low-stress, no-expectation holiday of New Year’s Eve to get through….Should be a cake walk! Maybe I should just start toasting now….

What’s My Age: Thankfully, old enough to drink!

RIP, My Room

PrintWhen I left to start my new job, I decided to sublet my apartment to make some extra money. But with a few weeks more of the sublet and a few weeks less of employment, I’m spending the in-between time at home in New Jersey. The last time I lived at home was a certifiable disaster, but it’s amazing how much better the experience has been when a.) there’s no commute involved b.) there’s a definite end-date and c.) I’m more emotionally stable. (Well….that’s still debatable…..)

Ahem, anyway….I expected to come home to my room the way I left it, with its hot pink walls and rainbow rug. I may or may not have had a Backstreet Boys poster still taped to the back of my bedroom door…for nostalgia’s sake! And while I may have tried to “reinvent” my style when it came to decorating my own apartment, I hold my bedroom at home to be a sacred space! Many a high school afternoon was spent listening to Sarah McLaughlin and cutting photos out of magazines to make “mood boards”….activities I was planning on resurrecting now that I’m home again!

Well, apparently my parents had other ideas, because I came home to a room bathed in earth tones–from the gold walls to the hotel bedspread to the beige carpet that was once covered in a beautiful Ikea rug I spent three summer’s worth of babysitting money on! My room, that I never want to live in permanently again, has been turned into, dare I say, A GUEST ROOM. It’s the end of an era at the homestead….and now I’ve spent the last several days tracking down my high school relics. So far I’ve found my marching band scrapbooks, my framed school newspaper articles, and that Sarah McLaughlin CD. Still missing–my signed Dashboard Confessional poster and any sort of sign that I am currently 26 years old.

What’s My Age: 16, a melodramatic band geek obsessed with decoupage. …So much has changed…

And Your Future Is…..

PrintIt’s been a pretty challenging few months. This job was not what I thought it was going to be, and despite my best efforts and a few nice people I’ve met here, the bad is definitely out-weighing the good! I feel like once again, I’ve found myself in a situation where I’m running into a brick wall! How I wouldn’t love just a 5-second peek into my future ten years from now just to see that things are ok!

Of course, that would be “too easy.” But what is the point of making things so hard? There comes a point in your life when you realize how exhausting it is to constantly try to make things work. I did that with my last job, and then leapt right into this one, only to find myself in the same tired scenario. The frenzied search for the perfect job/career/life that I have so single-handedly been focused on for the last few years seems to be leading me in circles!  So the time has come to make some “major life decisions”… To stay or not to stay? To leap into the unknown or dig my heels in the sand….it’s been a sleepless few weeks of decision-making, advice seeking, and contemplative walking while listening to Joni Mitchell. So deep!

But for once, I am throwing caution to the wind and cutting the legs off this thing! I’ve thought it through a million different ways and a scenario where I’m still working here and living this life doesn’t ever end well. So I’m headed home for a few weeks to regroup, make baked goods, and get some fresh air. And then it will be back to the city to start the job hunt all over again!

Did I think I would be ending 2014 unemployed, and moving back in with my parents? Uh….no. But for once I’m not going to harp on what I should be doing and why I’m not at a certain place in my life. Instead, I’m going to make a gingerbread house. Time to simplify!

What’s My Age: 26, realizing that age is just a number that doesn’t mean anything or make any sense. WHERE IS THE MANUAL??

Tick-Tock

PrintOne of my biggest complaints at my last job was managing the downtime that often came after an especially busy period. Feast-or-famine was the name of the game, and I was always losing! After almost four years there, I never got used to, or even enjoyed, the days and sometimes weeks of little to do.

Well…this job has taken the word “downtime” to an entirely new level of lethargy. I could probably clock the amount of wasted time I spent at my old job throughout the entire time I was there, and it would maybe fill a single week of what I’m experiencing now! Perhaps I’m exaggerating….but not by much! Day after day, I sit and wait for something to happen. And day after day, nothing does. I’m simply a body in a chair, trained to spring to action but never put to the test. Sure, it’s the nature of the job, but that doesn’t mean I was mentally prepared for it! I brought an 800-page book with me that I figured I would barely touch, and I finished it within the first few days I was here!

Sigh…there aren’t enough Buzzfeed lists/New York Times articles/Candy Crush levels/Solitaire games/life-goal lists/day dreams/sheep counting/clock staring/shoe-lace contemplating to fill even one day of this job, and I’m doing this six days a week for 10-12 hours at a time! Idle minds are the devil’s playground, and I’m currently in hell’s Disneyland!

What’s My Age: 50, forced into an early retirement and bored out of my mind. 

Pen Pals

Pen PalsI’ve always relished in a good correspondence–I just love sending letters and postcards and carrying on huge strings of emails. I may be chatty in real life, but I’m even chattier when it comes to the written word!

And now that I’m away from my circle of friends and family, I’ve stepped it up in an attempt to keep in touch with everyone! A postcard here, a fake newsletter there, blog posts, emails, text chains….everyone knows what’s going on! But usually after a few back-and-forths, my pen pals drop off like flies! I don’t know if it’s my superior pen pal skills that seem too daunting, or a general disinterest in communicating beyond a text, but my long soliloquies often only inspire a meager few lines in reply! I’m starved for info here people! Step it up!

I just happen to have lots of time on my hands to spend crafting emails throughout the day, and I’m going to continue to do so whether you respond or not! So take this as fair warning if you receive an email from me at any time over the next few weeks. I expect a cool 1,000 words in return! Let’s revive the storied past-time of correspondence! I’ll be sending out my carrier pigeons in the morning.

What’s My Age: 88, reminiscing over war-time correspondence. 

Cheers to That!

Basic RGBWhen I started this job, the thing I was most looking forward to was the clean slate. I didn’t leave my last job on bad terms and don’t have baggage to leave behind, but there were things that I wanted to change about my work attitude and outlook–namely that I stop complaining about my job all the time.

It’s such an easy thing to fall back on–everyone has work woes, and when you spend the majority of your day there, you have lots of material to cull from! But I was determined to have a sunny attitude about the whole thing….which lasted approximately 1 week. See, when you work with people for a short time and are aching for common ground, you can spend the time struggling to discuss your love of kayaking or your obsession with Korean food, OR you can instantly bond through the cathartic American past time of bitching about your boss/the job/the hours/the people/the side-eye you think you saw in the meeting/the “tone” of the email you perceived as “disrespectful” etc, etc, etc….

So needless to say, my naive intention that I would love this job and expunge all negativity from my life was quickly smashed over drinks with coworkers, where we spent 4 hours trading barbs over all the injustices of our employer. Then we took the party back home and moaned some more, toasting to how “over it” we were. Then, tipsy and tired, we ended the night with the depressing realization that we had just spent what amounted to a full day of work just complaining about it! And with that sorry fact, I went to bed so I could get up and head back in. We’re all slaves to the system!!

What’s My Age: 64–a grizzled factory worker, toasting to one more year left of my miserable career until retirement. 

Roomies! Part 2.

Basic RGBWhen I arrived to start this job, I found out while sitting at the airport that I was going to have a roommate. I then spent the flight mentally preparing myself for that situation. So imagine my surprise when I arrived at my new apartment and actually found two–the girl I was supposed to be living with, and then another girl who would be sleeping on the couch “temporarily” after having slept in my room in the weeks before I arrived! Surprisingly, it wasn’t that awkward, save for a few passive-aggressive moments, but it helped that I was working nights and they were working days. It’s easy to get along with people when you never actually get to know them at all!

And then one day, my original roommate moved out and the couch-sleeper moved into her room! So we got our couch back, but my original roommate took every item that she presumed as “hers”–and we’re not talking about her clothes or the ‘Harvest Time’ Yankee candle that made our apartment smell like the inside of a Starbucks. She took the half empty bottle of dish soap, all the cleaning supplies and garbage bags from under the sink, even the toilet paper roll from the bathroom holder! It was like that scene from “The Grinch,” where the mouse goes to pick up a crumb before it’s snatched from under his little nose!

Sure, she had bought these things, and I guess a half-roll of toilet paper in the group bathroom qualifies as hers. But living with roommates makes us all selfish little children. That’s MINE! No, that’s MINE! Mine, mine, MINE! Now If my friends came over, went into the fridge and poured themselves a glass of milk, or went into the bathroom and used all toilet paper, or ate some snacks, would I be annoyed? No. But if I lived with them?? You bet! So I guess I understand why my former roommate took all her things….but it doesn’t make it less annoying, especially because I have dishes to do! Just mine, of course…

What’s My Age: 4, learning “sharing” at preschool.