Monday, December 27, 2010

December 24: Everything's OK

I'm participating in #reverb10, a month-long challenge to blog every day of December based on prompts provided here.

What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead (Author: Kate Inglis)

Somewhere around this time last year, I had to convince myself that everything would be all right even though I wasn’t sure it would be.

I was so stressed out by looking for a job. All I did when I wasn’t working in a t-shirt warehouse or writing articles for pathetic paychecks was look for jobs, write cover letters and network with people who might be able to help me out. It was so demoralizing, especially because I had left a good thing in Paris to come back to absolutely nothing. I had been at it for a couple months.

I had a panic attack or something. One day, as I was writing a cover letter, my chest tightened up, I had trouble catching my breath, and I had to lie down. I made myself NOT do anything job-related for the rest of the day. It was hard to sit on the couch and watch TV, but I realized that for an afternoon, I needed to not think about this one thing.

And that’s kind of when I realized I needed to start telling myself more often that everything would be all right. That finding a job wasn’t everything. Well, it was. But I needed to think about other things, because concentrating 156 percent on something so hopeless and so out of my control was making it difficult to breathe.

I decided I would not be defined by the job I didn’t have. I began volunteering. I started writing for Chicagoist. I started training for a half marathon (well I pretended to). I made new friends at all my odd jobs. I went to listen to literary readings.

It wasn’t until four months later that I was offered job. And that whole time, everything was really okay. I became better at interviews and writing kick-ass cover letters. I got to know Chicago better. Sure, I didn’t eat out or go shopping for new clothes. But I changed my attitude and actions and acted as if everything was all right, then realized it was.

How will I incorporate this discovery into 2011? I will remember that focusing on the present is just as important as focusing on the future. I will remember that things out of my control aren’t worth as much stress as I put into them.

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