Friday, February 24, 2012

An Attitude Adjustment

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.        Corrie Ten Boom

When I moved here in October, I only brought two of my plants with me: two amaryllis plants that lived on the upstairs balcony of my apartment. I have a particular fondness for these amaryllis; they were grown from seeds that I had gathered from the plants that grew in my mom’s yard.  I know it perhaps sounds silly, but I am loathe to give up things that have a connection to Mom.

I wasn’t sure how well the plants would do here. The winters here are about 20 degrees colder than in Southern California, and they seemed to be in shock for quite some time. I transplanted one of them to the planter out front, and left the other in the clay pot, not sure if either of them would make it. They just sort of seemed to sit there, no new growth, but seemingly not dead either. I wasn’t sure if they were going to adjust to the change, or if they would just eventually give up the fight.

Well, here they are now:

They’re coming out of it; by Easter, I should have beautiful blooms.

When I left the house this morning, it suddenly occurred to me that I’m sort of like those plants. This was a difficult move for me, because change is never easy, and when you’re middle aged, it seems that much more difficult. Like the plants, for several months, I haven’t been sure if I ever would adjust. Sometimes, I have been paralyzed with fear, afraid to move forward, afraid that this was the biggest mistake of my life, afraid that I would never find a job, afraid of hearing “I told you so” from everyone I met. I still haven’t completely adjusted to the climate, I miss my family and friends terribly, I haven’t really met any “kindred spirit” friends yet (if you’re a fan of “Anne of Green Gables”, you will know what I mean by that), and quite frankly, it just isn’t home yet. Like my plants, I’ve been sort of sitting here, not really doing much, halfheartedly making plans, but not sure if I could follow through with them, as I don’t know what job, if any, I will be doing next week, or next month, or this summer. So, I’ve worried and stressed pretty much about everything, castigated myself for thinking that moving here was a good idea, and wondered if I should just eventually give up.

I’ve worried the most about finding a job. For the first time in nearly 35 years, I am unemployed.  I don’t feel that I have the right to complain about it, as it was my choice, necessitated by a move of more than 200 miles, but nonetheless my choice. Had I been leaving a job that I loved, I probably would have handled things differently, but I was leaving a job that I had grown to despise. I was stressed out and burned out, overqualified for a job that challenged my patience, but not my intellect. As I was leaving an industry hit hard by the recession and other factors, it was time to leave. When I think about how unhappy I had been, for so many years, I don’t regret leaving.

However, I won’t pretend that job hunting isn’t tough. It is not good for the ego, and quite frankly, there are many employers who seem to be taking advantage of the desperation of prospective employees. I went on an interview this week for a job that, at this point, I’m almost praying that I don’t get. The work hours, according to the help wanted ad, were supposed to be 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday. In actuality, the hours are 7am to 8 or 9pm, Monday to Friday, plus I must be available to work weekends at a moment’s notice. And, since it is a salaried position, there is no overtime. All for little more than minimum wage. This is for a job that is approximately 25 to 30 miles away from my home, in an area so remote, I’m not sure I could even find the place again, because the city the company is in apparently cannot afford street signs. When I finally called the company in desperation because I couldn't find it, the directions were “turn left at the McDonald’s, go about a mile, turn right at the red barn, then an immediate left at the first orange grove you see, then drive about a half mile, there will be a blue truck in front of our building.” Holy street sign, Batman!

But, I don’t feel as if I’m in a position to say “no” to any job offer. My savings won’t last forever, I’m not used to being unemployed, I am often bored to tears, and because the budget is tight these days, there are many activities that I just don’t have the money to do any longer. I am often lonely, more so in a crowd, as everyone else seems to know someone. It makes that feeling of loneliness more acute.  And because in our culture, we are embarrassed by loneliness, I try to hide how I feel.  

So, I’ve spent a lot of time these past few months afraid.

And yet, as I was reminded today, the amaryllis adjusted. It didn't give up. And I am determined to adjust. I am still determined to find a job that I love, not a job that just pays the bills, so every time I face rejection or the employer from hell, I remind myself that that job just wasn’t meant to be. That God has something better waiting.  And every time I feel lonely, I remind myself that loneliness is a part of life, of EVERYONE’S life, and that perhaps the purpose of loneliness is to remind us that we are truly never alone, that God is with us every moment of our lives. And when I’m bored, I remind myself that I have a brain, it’s up to me to use it to find something to do. And when I worry about finances, I remind myself that I won’t be going hungry anytime soon, that I could live off the fat from my thighs alone for several months and that, if worse comes to worse, I can rent out one of the bedrooms. I will NOT give up.

So, the two Misses Amaryllis and I are adjusting.  We're doing fine, and the three of us should be blooming soon.

Thank you for your visit.


  1. You have the right attitude.Never give up.God is watching over you.He will provide.Blessings to you.I can't wait to see you flowers bloom.Please post photos of them when they do.

    1. Thank you, Anne, for the encouragement.


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