Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thoughts on a Summer's Day

Having passed the 6 month point of my journey through unemployment, it seems to be natural to reflect. I don't know why, but it seems natural. Natural as in without pesticides, hormones, or added sugar. Anyway, my time has been laden with gorgeous weather. My tan has a deeper coloring, the best results I've had in decades. Really, though, there's more. With my respects to Jerry Garcia, this has been a strange trip.

First, and best, has been the deeening connection with my family and friends. Several of us who were let go the same day have forged a great bond. The challenge now is, as we start to return to the workforce, to keep that link. It will change, as things always do. Yet, I'm certain that we've forged something strong. This has been a difficult time, more for some than others, and sharing those journeys always results in something strong.

I am most grateful for time with my family. This cannot be replicated and will be cherished decades from now. This time, to be able to make every parent meeting, conference and party for the last half of kindergarten, was truly glorious. To be present during several of my son's successes is priceless. As I have started interviewing with more regularity, I am confident that I will land something soon. Thus, I refuse to take these sorts of things for granted.

This journey has provided a much needed chance to reflect. Looking over my priorities, and the choices I've made, I see some disconnect. I need to keep my eyes better focused on what is truly important: family, friends, the quality pieces of life. Those things that no amount of wealth can compensate for. A rich jerk is just as much a loser as a poor one. This journey has resulted in a desire to live a slower life. I really enjoy shopping at farmer's markets, even more than before. I'm finding myself drawn even further away from a consumerist life. As hard as that is to imagine.

One great thing, though, comes with the above. This occasional madness, a discontent with my income and station, has been calmed. Income and wealth, though still having value, are not such a driving force as before. Now, I'll happily sacrifice income for time at home, time with friends and family.

Time for cleaning and organizing; truly wonderful. Slowly I am getting this place organized. Addtionally, I have thought about cooking more. There's been some progress in that regard, but not much. So, some room for improvement, eh? As part of this, I wonder about the garbage I eat. So much of what's served in restaurants is pure junk, poor quality in both terms of nutrition and flavor. Don't get me started on frozen meals. One thing I've wanted to do (for years) has been to focus on quality food. Both in flavor and nutrition. Since I have the time to cook, to shop with care, to prepare and be thoughtful, this is the time to make this change.

My committment to social justice has certainly deepened. Besides being better able to understand the external forces that push people to poverty, I also understand the frustration of powerlessness. As someone with a voice more likely to be heard, I have a responsibility to speak up for those whose voices don't carry as far.

Though I have the best tan in years, my results are far deeper. I may still be unemployed, but I have not been idle. This has been one of the most powerful moments in my life. My reflections have truly changed me. My values shine better before me, and my resolve to keep them in better focus stronger. Most likely I will soon return to the ranks of the employed. Though I'm excited by this, there are some pieces I will miss. However, I used this time to the best advantage I could. I am pleased.

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