I had an internal goal of getting a job offer by my birthday and having a salary coming in by the time my husband finished this leg of his business trip. He has two weeks to go. I start February 13.
I am not the same person I was on August 23, 2016. I look at work and life differently now. In most ways, it's a good thing and change that needed to happen. I was 22 when I got my first real job, so I'm just starting the second trimester of my career now. If I want to demolish the metaphor, perhaps the queasiness and uncertainty will abate now so I can focus on what I know I can do and what I hope to learn next.
Yesterday I bagged up about one-third of my wardrobe for donation. I've worked from home for seven years and so most of my clothes were procured through clothing swaps and Goodwill in good neighborhoods. I didn't buy or get as gifts as much as I bagged up, but the luxury of office-worthy clothes in my closet feels quite indulgent. I hope I never forget what that feels like, the gratitude for the chance to fulfill a road I once thought a master's degree would let me take for granted.
This world is not that world. We all feel it.
More and more I read that world, the one our parents had after WWII, wasn't actually real, either, but an anomaly in human history. Regardless, right now is the time to be thankful for a job and focus on the abundance that can be found in human relationships regardless of everything else. Dappled light through trees. The smell of living things.
My daughter had asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I got it. All I wanted was a job, the ability to provide for my family and move forward into the next chapter. I got that, and I wish I could tell my 22-year-old self how important the ability to work would become later in life. How low and yet high my expectations would become. How good health would seem like the ultimate prize after losing access to a prescription for months, causing my body to stop absorbing vitamin D. How much easier it would be to get out of bed when the right medicine came back.
How awful true fatigue feels.
How much of a gift "normal" really is.
For my 43 birthday, I wanted to feel normal.