Day 5 – Friday: Is it just me?

Today, I let myself sleep in and decided not push myself. I needed to do laundry and I wanted to go through something – some box or bag – to get rid of some things. In and of itself, going through stuff doesn’t necessarily feel scary. But that’s the tricky part – I don’t always know what will trigger fear or simply lead to my feeling overwhelmed by life again. Sometimes the clearing out of some box becomes exhilarating. It’s a toss up and I’m never certain which side of the coin will be face up once I throw it in the air.

This evening, I found myself wrestling with fear again (and not necessarily winning). I did a bit of throwing things out earlier in the day, once again enjoying tossing some things I used to think I needed to hold onto. Once I was done with the one small plastic tub, though, I didn’t quite know what to do. I’ve been thinking more about the need to again start looking for employment opportunities, but couldn’t quite seem to get there. My uncle’s frequent presence in his office (did I mention he’s 91?) inhibits the freedom I have in hopping online to see what’s out there. It can be a convenient excuse. I vaguely thought of rewriting my recent cover letter – the one that didn’t get me an interview – to see how I might improve it, as practice for future letters. I just couldn’t seem to get there.

When I was later enjoying a long phone conversation with one of my best friends, something about looking for work came up. I was soon in tears, feeling completely overwhelmed by the whole process. Was it really so simple to look for work back in 1998 when I landed my last full-time job? Is it actually harder now? Or is it just me?

I keep hearing that things truly are different, that with the economy the way it is there are simply more people looking for work and employers are overloaded by the sheer volume of applications. If your application isn’t dazzling, it quickly gets tossed in the reject pile. Yet even in hard economic times there are people finding work and people making money.  There are opportunities out there.

So, how do I stay afloat, buoying up my courage and confidence (make that developing the confidence) to learn the things I need to learn to find the work I need to find to be able to provide myself with such mundane things as a roof over my head?

My friend tells me I’m doing a lot of hard work right now. She means the deep inner work I’m doing. Sometimes it feels like I am; sometimes it feels like I’m just avoiding doing what seems like the “hard” stuff – like looking for work. I’m not a “pavement pounder” and the thought of “knocking on doors” to see if people are hiring scares the peewaddlin’ out of me. I don’t see that happening anytime soon, if ever. But I can put one foot in front of the other. I can take tiny, baby steps in that direction. The tiny steps feel manageable, especially when I don’t think too far ahead.

Maybe the real work is to resist the temptation to turn tail and run when I feel scared and overwhelmed and completely intimidated by the daunting task of stepping into unfamiliar territory, learning to “network” and “present” myself well in an interview (should I be fortunate enough to reach this stage of the hiring process). It’s much easier to go through a box and dwindle its contents down to the things I truly want to keep than to think about looking for work. Of course, I’ll have to remind myself of that the next time going through the “stuff” feels overwhelming. Then again, it usually feels overwhelming because it’s all connected – the too-much stuff, the skinny finances, the stepping out into the “job search” arena, and so on. I’m not sure, but I think it’s called “life.”

So when and why did life become so dang scary?

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