Tumultuous Seas

Its been almost 4 months since I’ve been laid off.  It’s been almost a year since I got the feeling that it was coming.  After a year of not really living, but rather surviving, I’m proud to say…”I’m still here!”

The emotional roller coaster is hard to put into words, but roller coaster is the best description.  The intensity of feelings that bombarded me at all times of day was exhausting to say the least.

FEAR of the unknown, of what was happening, of when it would happen, whatever “it” was.  Fear of how I would provide for our family, as I was the main bread winner (at the time).

ANGRY that a company I loved with all my heart could do this.  I gave so many countless hours of my life.  I worked so hard and up to that point had no blemishes.  Angry at myself for not leaving years ago, when I should’ve or further diversified my resume before now.

SELF DOUBT that I was worth anything.  Maybe I have a skewed view of who I am and what I have to offer.  Maybe I just suck.  What if I don’t find another job, what if this isn’t the career for me?

PERSEVERANCE to push forward and prove that I have what it takes, that I’m too strong of an asset to lose.

EAGER to learn more in my industry and the world around me I began listening to podcasts and reading blogs….check back for a future post on some of my recommendations.

DESIRE to build a new plan, a new future.  What do I want in life?  Where do I want to be when I’m 50?  70?  How do I want to get there?

CALM when it didn’t seem possible, usually 8-6 (in the office) and in front of my girls.

HYPERVENTILATING SORROW that would burst when least expected and takeover me.  Lot’s of pulling over the car….too much time to think while commuting.  Usually a good thing, but at these times, not so much.

roller coaster

Was there a silver lining in that big, heavy cloud that loomed over me?

Yes, a blessing in disguise.  I’ve opened my mind to new ideas in several areas of finance, home management, online marketing, self realization and entrepreneurship  among others through podcasts and blogs.  It forced me to stop and rethink.  We originally moved to North Carolina with the intent of living here for only 3-5 years while hubby went to grad school.  15 years later, we’re still here.  Time to reassess.  Time to build a real road map for the future and connect it to the present.  Time to start making things happen.  Life moves fast and if you don’t take time to stop and really reflect, you’ll have nothing to show for it.  Don’t let life lead you, you need to define it.  Know what you want and how to get it, then do it.  Do it.  Really, do it.  It’s overwhelming, but focus on the first step and start moving.

From June through January, I didn’t really live.  I focused additional time/energy on my work, trying to prove to them and to myself that I’m worth it.  Unfortunately, this meant the girls didn’t have any extra curricular activities aside from what they did in after school care.  We didn’t take a vacation last year, aside from a funeral during spring break and a long weekend in October.  I didn’t get that involved in the PTA, as I had hoped.  No time for volunteering.

The first month of not working was surreal.  The first 2 weeks, I woke up as usual and drove an hour to “work” to network.  It was all I knew.  I wasn’t comfortable in my skin, I wasn’t comfortable in my home.  I needed my peeps.  I didn’t go everyday, but a handful of times the first few weeks.  I had networking to do, I needed to find a new job, it seemed like the easiest transition would be to find something with the same company, in a different department.  Then I settled down and spent a few weeks at home, cranking out job applications.  Writing cover letters and customizing resumes like crazy…I’d try to average 3-5 a day!  I logged them all on a spreadsheet, because that’s what I do.  Can you hear the desperation in my writing?   Because my heart is racing and my breathing has quickened right here and now I as I type this post.  I was panicked, I needed to find a job!  I needed to make sure my babies had what they needed.

Then spring break came.  My wonderful in-laws came to visit for a week.  I let go a bit during their visit, kind of chilled out for the first time.  The night after they left, my hubby turned and said….”what if you stay home and home school the girls?”

“What?  Me?  I don’t think we can make that work.”

Well, that next week, I built a what if budget scenario…

Stay tuned for the next part of the story…..

How Adventurous Are You?

We’re fairly adventurous folks over here.  How about you?

Let’s start with how we met.  We met on an old school chat room through a mutual friend.  I’m talking Unix, not Windows.    ICB, to be specific.  Our mutual friend wanted to set us up and neither of us was interested, so we compromised and exchanged screen names through this friend and promised to strike up conversation if we saw each other.  A week later….well, here we are  21 years later.

My family lived in one state and his in another, so we decided a destination wedding was in order…Las Vegas here we come!  We didn’t elope, we planned a real wedding at a Las Vegas hotel and had about 60 guests.  It was perfect in every way.  Unconventional?   Well, guess we should’ve seen it coming.  But wait, there’s more!

We’re in college, living on the cheap and we love the outdoors, so a road trip honeymoon is in order.  We ultimately spent a week car camping on Vancouver Island, BC.  Our first night, we met a group of older, retired gentlemen that were on their annual camping trip.  That first night we ate a fish fillet, whole fish and a Dungeness crab for dinner, all provided by our new friends.  We had picked up some libations on the duty free boat, so we brought that to the campfire and all enjoyed.  Later, during the week I learned how to fly fish!

When we finished college and decided it was time for a change in scenery.  Hubby looked for grad school options….Syracuse?   Denver?  Austin?  Winston Salem?   Well, North Carolina won and we packed up a U-Haul with all our belongings (including two cats) and drove across the country to our new, temporary home.   We didn’t have a place to live, we didn’t have jobs, we had never even visited before hand.  Just packed and went.  An adventure of a lifetime that I’d recommend of any young person, but I don’t plan to do it again….or do we?  Our plan was 3-5 years, its been 14+ years now.

After our first little one was born, or maybe more like 18 months later, we were ready for a vacation.   So, we decided to take a road trip, part camping and part hoteling.  I suggested Niagara Falls, Matt didn’t think our little one could make it.  We decided we’d meander around Ohio Amish country instead.   But, no real plans.

So we drove north and then decided we needed to stop at Cabela’s in West Virginia.  Then after dinner I said, we’re not far from Pittsburgh, how but we drive out there?   So we did.  Then we got turned around as we were trying to make it up to the great lakes and every hotel was booked.  Eventually we got up to Erie to check out a campground we saw on the map…..no go.  It was super crowded and the sites were on top of each other.  So we headed into New York, Brocton area and found a gorgeous state park, Lake Erie State Park….highly recommend it.

After a couple days we headed back towards Ohio…or at least, we intendeIMG_0118d to, but we ended up on a toll road going towards, non other…Niagara Falls.  It was fate!!!  After a day there, we meandered south through the middle of NY and Pennsylvania, stopped in Hershey along the way.

All of these trips were pre cell phones and pre GPS….good old fashion map reading, which often means you have to have patience and a level of comfort making U-turns.  These events in our lives are some of the most memorable, partly because they were the more spontaneous ones.  Life is short, embrace it, love it, live it!   What you need is pretty minimal in the long run.