Just a Little Bit Stronger

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I’m blue. I’ve never really used that word to describe the way that I feel, but it seems to fit perfectly. It doesn’t sound as harsh as “depressed,” and it has more impact than “sad.”

Five months ago, I lost my job as an Executive Director for my local chapter of a national organization. The organization had been restructuring for awhile, and budget constraints led to the consolidation of several chapters within my region-leaving twenty or more people without jobs. I had been with the organization as a volunteer-turned-staff member since 2005, serving in three different states.

The job loss came as a surprise to me, even though I had known changes were coming. But who really assumes that they will be the one to go? I had been in with this chapter for just a year, having moved from Kentucky to North Carolina to take the job following a retirement.

My husband is currently finishing up graduate school, which makes things even more interesting. Money is tight and quite frankly, I’m bored. He is either in class or focused on homework, which leaves us little time to do things together. I have found no shortage of jobs to apply for; however landing one of them is still just a dream. I’ve had phone interviews and face to face interviews, but still find myself falling short. I have been very discouraged, especially lately. I have found several good jobs that I am perfectly qualified for, but on occasion, don’t even get called for the interview.

I’m feeling restless, since I have never been one for just sitting around the house constantly. I’ve traveled some, mostly to visit my parents who have been battling health issues. I’ve made dozens upon dozens of beaded necklaces, but I can’t decide whether I should wear them or sell them. I’ve tried painting, but I don’t like my results. I refuse to turn on the TV during the daytime. I have been adamant that I will not become someone who spends all her free time watching television. This may be the biggest perk to my situation-my house is cleaner than it’s ever been, and I’ve been working out and cooking better, which has resulted in a five pound weight loss, so far.

Still, I think the biggest issue that I have is that I’m lonely. I miss the chatter and lighthearted banter of an office. I miss the communal coffee pot and the stories that we would swap while getting charged for the day. I miss feeling useful-as a nonprofit organization, our first priority was serving others.

I hope to see something come my way soon. As a backup plan, I’ve applied to go back to school myself-for a Ph.D. The thought is exhilarating and daunting. I can’t decide which to hope for-landing a job or getting into school. If I get in to school, my husband and I will be able to move closer to family, which would be nice. In a way, I am glad that I made the decision to apply, no matter what happens. It gives me something concrete to hope for, a path to look forward to. I know that I will be ok in the long run-we are not starving, we have a roof over our heads. It would be nice to be able to treat ourselves to dinner or a movie, and would be even better to have health insurance again, and to be stable enough to start a family. But I hope that when this is over, I will be able to look back on this experience and say, “Not only did I survive, but I am stronger for doing so.”

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