I’ve been on unemployment for 10 months now – since February. I thought, “being forced into a kind ofsemi-retirement” how would I fill all that empty time and space? As it turned out, it has been an amazingly fulfilling and busy time. How did I ever have time for work?
The reality of the hotel industry (my life-long passion) is that, though I have 35+ successful years of management experience in operations and sales/marketing, in today’s recession economy, it proved to not be enough. I “beat myself up” for a while, felt like a failure for not being able to accomplish what ownership wanted – and then decided (partly because I am on unemployment) that after working fulltime, non-stop since July of 1968, it was OK.
It was O-K-A-Y to take a BREAK and think about what I want to do with the rest of my life. Reality is that no one is going to hire a 61 year old director of sales … or even a sales manager because hotel sales is mostly young, cutsie women and men … I know, I hired them. Reality is that I don’t WANT to do the 60 -70 hour weeks the job requires. Reality is that I am tired in my soul of trying to meet “corporate’s” expectations.
So I decided, with a dose of reality, that it was OKAY to find a direction that I want to go in for a change.
I am slowly building an independent meeting planning business – one client at a time .. and maybe someday I’ll actually earn some money at it! It takes a year or so to build any new business, and mine is no different. I enjoy helping “J” with his business – and it helps cover my share of expenses in living with him (he is such an angel to be so generous while I continue paying lease rent on my daughter & my apartment until we can get her moved into a one-bedroom in spring). I enjoy my volunteer time with my Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America. I enjoy spending time with my grandsons every other week after school and school vacations while my daughter is at work.
I enjoy the ability to interact more closely with my children and the company of my dear and precious friends.
I enjoy the time I spend with “J” and look forward to us getting married in a few weeks. I am enjoying helping him change his house from a barren, bland bachelor apartment into a home filled with life and color and his making “his home” “our home”. I enjoy his embracing of my family and his family. I watch him grow in trust and vulnerability and love (though he is still afraid to call it that very often).
I could not enjoy these wondrous and joyful things if I was working for someone else those 60-70 hours a week. That is my reality.
My life is not easy (not that it ever has particularly been) – I live unemployment check to unemployment check – I am in the middle of a bankruptcy filing – but my life improves daily because I have someone to walk with me – not to bail me out but to walk with me through the trying times.
It is like watching the seasons changing – watching the trees shapeshifting from summer to fall to winter. In my life, my summer was spent doing nothing more than working – missing my children grow up, missing spending time with my grandchildren, not having the time to tend to my relationships. My fall is now a time to letting go and shedding the “leaves” of a life I lived for 40 years. My coming winter is my season of rest and growth and beginning again.
I am contented.