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My Fabulous Unemployment Checklist

Now, kittens.

Y’all know that I recently bid a glittery farewell to my Pit-O-Despair job.

(And y’all, they’re still trying to figure out who bestowed that shimmery fabulousness on their horrible office carpet.)

But now, I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’m unemployed–floating, like a polar bear on a glacier in the open sea, wondering where in the hell that Wilson volleyball came from.

Too much?

Maybe.

Still, I’m appreciating the way my mind is compartmentalizing things–letting itself adjust to the reality of my situation, like it experienced some sort of trauma.

And, slowly, I’m making peace with the fact that (1) I’m approaching 30, and have only a haphazard collection of jobs to show for it; (2) I have some ideal notion of what I’d like my life to be, but I’m terrified that I’m going to fall flat on my face and become some sad cliche; (3) There’s no certainty in anything, especially in this economy.

So to help pull myself out of this unemployment-induced mental funk, I made a very short list of random things that have helped to make the whole process of starting over a little easier.

(1) Hoodies. While a box is preferred, it’s by no means required. These are basically the best things ever. As long as you don’t end up like cat lady Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her.

Box-o-hoodies=box-o-love.

(2) Plants. Feel completely useless? Water a plant. You may have just saved its life. (Especially if you’ve neglected it for weeks. Not that I’d know anything about that.)

You know who doesn't care that you're unemployed? Skeeter Plant don't care.

(3) Tea. Tea time is completely underrated. I didn’t really get into tea that much until Andy and I started having tea after dinner. It’s surprisingly calming. (And gives you a reason to buy more Fiestaware–kidding! Not.)

Tea time=mental relaxation.

(4) Books. Want to escape from updating your LinkedIn profile or Indeed.com? Pick up a book and catapult yourself to a small French town where you can grow a garden and remember that you’re an award-winning New York Times reporter who can spend two months in a small French town growing a garden. (Not that I’m bitter.)

A necessary, papery escape.

(5) Memories. We all have little boxes of keepsakes–movie stubs, old notes, XX-rated Polaroids. So what better time than now to smile and laugh and do something great with them? Make a little album. It’ll make you feel good. (Especially those photos.)

Memories help you make a better future.

Now, it doesn’t take a genius to realize that no single one of these things is going to bring employers knocking.

But they can re-center your mind.

And that’s the first step of starting over: re-tooling your mental frame to bring into focus those details of yourself that have long been blurred around the periphery. Those things that you’ve always loved to do but, until now, didn’t have time to fully explore.

So, take some time to remember those things during the quiet, retrospective moments. Then try and figure out a few ways to make a living doing something you love.

What a concept, right?

But so many of us have been trapped by what pays the bills, and have let the rest rot away. Or at least gather too much dust.

And, hey.

If it doesn’t work out, at least you dusted off those skills. Gave them another go.

And, who knows?

Maybe they’ll help give you another go, too.

2 thoughts on “My Fabulous Unemployment Checklist

  1. The good thing about becoming cat lady Goldie Hawn from Death Becomes Her is that you get to eat frosting right out of the container.

    Directly from the container.

    So there’s a plus side to everything. 😉

    (P.S. If you notice a melancholy starting to take over, just stop before you get to this point, I beg you: http://www.domestiphobia.net/2010/12/13/hard-to-admit/ It will get better.)

  2. It occurs to me that event planning might be in your line of thinking. Hmmm? Or catering? You have so many talents and now is a good time to look at all of them and think about what you really enjoy and can turn into a career you want.

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