Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ups and Downs

This post is ripped off from inspired by my dear friend's beautiful blog post (all her posts are quite beautiful, actually, and you should read her thoughtful blog all the time).

I find myself at an interesting intersection right now, where joy meets sadness, where lightness of spirit meets heaviness of heart, where the sweet is tinged with bitterness. Something has shifted in my life outlook. I feel lighter, more joyful, more appreciative. I had a lively dance party with my daughters the other night. I have been cooking up sweets and meals with great joy. I have smiled more at my children, enjoyed their grins and cuddles more, and lived in the moment more. I have been grateful.

I've been trying to find the source of the joy, and I think it stems from the combination of 1) Sylvia has stopped being so contrary and challenging after about a month of constant, exhaustive boundary-testing, and 2) I have lined up my new job and am very excited about the regular work schedule and interesting tasks. But beyond these concrete reasons, the shift feels more subtle, like the changing of a season. I am exhaling. I am happy.

However, but, and then... There is sadness around me. Two of our dearest friends have decided to separate after about two hard years of struggling. They are pillars in our social life, "aunt" and "uncle" to our children, the type of friends who are family. My heart aches at their heartache. I can't fix it. I can't even help much. So I carry the sadness with me. Another friend, farther away but still very dear, is in the middle of a divorce. She is setting up her new life, trying to move on, but struggling each day with her new reality. Again, I can't help much -- even less from far away -- but I think of her often and mourn at her loss.

Perhaps the happiness I feel is possible because of the sadness. Maybe my spirit is lighter only because it has been weighed down -- is occasionally still -- but knows the importance of breaking free. Being low reminds me to reach high. Feeling pain reminds me to seek joy. This is cheesy and heavy-handed, I realize, but it's true. I will continue to carry my friends' griefs, to try to help them, but I will also rejoice in my blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Open Windows

My previous post was about a door being slammed in my career. Suddenly, I would no longer be a college instructor. After a few days of being upset, followed by a few days of soul-searching about whether or not I wanted to work at all (I do), I decided to go in search of new opportunities. I cleaned up my website, then sent out a few emails to some of my closer contacts from back in my days of working in Washington, D.C. I asked only that they keep me in mind for future editing, writing or PR projects.

And wow, the door may have closed, but many windows have opened. My old colleagues came back with positive support and encouraging ideas, as well as some concrete job offers. It looks like I may be doing social media and communications for a magazine (more on that when it's finalized). I'm also doing a quick editing job on an academic paper, which is another direction I could take locally. Folks, I am so blessed to have a skill set that will allow me to make some money at home, the support of helpful friends, and the ability to start slow, so that I can focus first and foremost on my mothering duties, while still using my brain a few hours a day.

The biggest lesson I'm taking from this is to not only avoid burning bridges when you leave a job, but to keep up with the coworkers you like and respect. You never know who may be able to help you in the future.

Thank you to everyone who offered encouraging words after my last post. I am excited about this new direction in my life.