Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grief Stages

I just read yesterday somewhere (it was apparently the Wall Street Journal - what have I become?) that grief processing takes 2 years, no less but possibly more, no matter what. I did the math, and yep, that seems about right.

You see, in 2009 it all blew apart. The job I thought I would be able to leverage forever was "eliminated" by my big box employer. I smashed my camera, stared at the sky, accepted underemployment, and got cancer. Just last summer, I stopped shaking my fist at the building every time I drove by. Now I realize, I feel at home in the vicinity again, instead of like some unworthy interloper who had been cast out of the temple and was about to get caught bringing flower offerings to the vengeful idols.

But, out of the rubble we built new structures. I sure wouldn't wish it on anyone else (well, I do still have ONE revenge fantasy, but let's not focus on that right now) but it turned out okay. Maybe even better than okay. I no longer wish it had never happened. It's completely neutral.

That being said, I do find it interesting that losing my job was more traumatic for me than cancer. Granted, I had "easy" cancer (in fact, I read somewhere else today that it might have been advisable to have used the watchful waiting approach instead of the removal of my little thyroid gland, but now I have nuclear melt-down super powers, right?). But my image of myself as a productive member of society with a respectable job was more important to me than (the image of) my own health. Ridiculous.

So what is it about our "careers" that we are so attached to? Is it because we feel that we have built something, that all of our success is entirely due to our efforts and skills and personality? I can see that, but there's this other evidence that it's dumb luck and timing and privilege and we don't really control it much at all.

I like money. I mean, who doesn't? But I'm starting to discover the edges of what is and is not important to me. When I see those "in power" unable to see the lies they live and enforce, it makes me a little nervous. How am I participating in their delusions? Do I go through the motions, or I do perform real service?

So, I guess this is the internal ramblings of my work existential crisis. What does it all mean? Did we just show up to collect some checks? Or are we going to DO something? How can I willfully offer my whole heart and intellect, knowing that it can be thrown away on a whim?

But that's what I have to do. I have to give it my all, always. I guess the good news is, it will only take 2 years to recover.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Big Talker

How's the media diet going, Liz? Well, just so you know, I think I've crushed more candy than ever since I declared war on mindless entertainment. I then rambled on and on about it at a house show, instead of paying close attention to the band like a real music fan would have and asked friends IN PERSON if I could send them stupid game requests. So basically, whatever I proclaim, you can assume I'm struggling with it in the other corner of the room.

(I have avoided those darn housewives, which allowed me to sound somewhat knowledgeable in a Sunday discussion about movies. I'm proud of myself. Pat me.)

So, sometimes I fail. As long as I continue to struggle, I have to consider it progress, or else I may quit trying. I don't want to fight the riptide either, but rest assured my natural laziness makes it more like floating on pool noodles and doggie paddling to the ladder when drinks need refills.

Or, as Martha Beck says, play until rest, rest until you feel like playing again.

This is resting. 
(Which reminds me to point out, I do read other bloggers. My two favorites right now are the Propaganda Professor and You Are Not So Smart. Although I'm pretty sure this just points to more confirmation bias, I just thought you should know it's not all woo woo in between my ears. )

So, I've re-stated my July resolutions, and wasted another evening. Knitting. Made a frittata out of the veggies. Blogged. Tried to reserve a hotel (unsuccessfully, I might add) for this long weekend's vacation. I listened to Speedy Ortiz on NPR (???) because they're playing at the house show I can't go to (and probably wouldn't have anyway - it turns out, hot, packed basements with only one rickety and blocked exit make my heart race and not for the excitement of seeing awesome bands, so enough with that brief flirtation with youth recaptured). Why do I have to remind myself this is okay? What did I want to accomplish with this piece of time?

I think I did as much as I could with the level of energy I had been given. I'm hugging myself.