the best policy


When I am confused, I think about rockin’ people, and how I might best follow their example and rock the world around me to the appropriate degree required by a given situation. I am at a confusing and somewhat troubling stage in life right now. Luckily, there is always someone who rocks considerably that I can look to for inspiration and guidance.

Honesty RocksRegardless of where your political loyalties may have found themselves in the mid-to-late 19th century, everyone can agree that Abraham Lincoln was known for being honest. He was unafraid to call it like it was, lay his cards on the table, even though it ended up costing him his life: his honesty is his legacy.

While with a friend tonight, I confided that “I am often afraid to tell people about things that are going on with me, because I don’t want them to feel compelled to be sorry for me”. That is a loaded statement. But what I realized is that the majority of the people reading this are my friends and my family, and I owe it to you to be honest, to level about where my life is to this point.

For those of you who sincerely would like to know how I’m doing, or how ______ makes me feel, I offer you a candid explanation:

  • I am still unemployed. I have been working with a job placement program, and I have a couple of faint prospects. I have been advised to wait on them while we keep our eyes open for new things. I am wondering if the new things we find will be good things- and I am wondering how long I will have to wait.
  • I am not going back to school. My attempt to retake the GRE resulted in disappointing scores. I am writing in the morning to request that my application be removed from consideration for admission [I was told the score requirement was a necessary one to be considered].
  • I have not adequately pursued getting my writing published. This is part due to my forgetfulness, and part due to renewed focus and emphasis on searching for jobs. I really wish I could be a writer. I do not want to give up my philanthropic hopes, either. But writing is something else that makes me feel alive. I have some contacts in publishing. I really want to get those efforts back in gear.
  • I have also [unintentionally, of course] neglected other efforts, like independent grant writing.] The grant-writing was something I agreed to do for a member of my family. Preliminary searching has proved it will be an immense challenge. Not to mention my own failings, the rapid passage of time, and my other pursuits such as job hunting and managing my emotional well being, are proving more demanding of my time than I originally anticipated. It is very important for me to come through on this and to hold up my end of the bargain.
  • I am constantly wrestling with contentment about being single. Not unlike Jacob’s epic battle with the Lord, it is a seeming never-ending struggle for me to reconcile the realities of my solitude with the gratitude for what I have in my life that makes it what it is. I am nowhere near a point of arrival on this, but I am working hard to learn what life has been trying to teach me about this area over the years. Unfortunately, I am not quite objective enough to tell you how well I’m doing.
  • I have realized [the hard way] the importance of addressing my emotional health. I have chemical and emotional imbalance. Just like any physical illness, psychological challenges can be draining and can affect other areas of your life adversely, if they are not controlled. Until recently, I have not taken care of myself in this area the way I should. Luckily, my family, friends, and the professionals guiding me through things, are tireless in their efforts for me to see my bull-headedness. I am on the way to more clarity in this area, and hoping that will help with the rest.

As of a couple of days ago, barring some temporary and volunteer work, I have been unemployed for 2 full years now. I must confess, for a person whose entire life prior to that point was marked by a series of well-planned personal, intellectual achievements, this can be devastating. I feel afraid that I have lost something along the way; something vital, some spark, some bit of knowledge, that had made me the successful person I once was.

I do not know what the future will bring, and honestly I can be more frightened than hopeful at times. What I do know is this: I am deeply humbled, and nothing short of desperate for more of God’s unfailing grace and mercy with each passing day.

And one more thing. I am I am very thankful- so thankful- for the many supportive, loving, and gracious souls in my life. I know that you all are not afraid to stand next to me, even while night falls. And that means we’ll be together when the sun comes out.

Whenever that may be. . .

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3 thoughts on “the best policy

  1. I think one of the things I’ve found most difficult about being an adult is finding motivation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought exactly some of the things you were thinking while writing this: “I should be doing this, I should be contacting these people, I should be making these things happen.” It may be cold comfort, but one thing I can assure you is that you are NOT alone in feeling that way. You have been through more than your fair share of disappointments and frustrations and I can only imagine how utterly infuriating it must be to feel rejected over and over and over again, and then on top of it to feel like you can’t motivate yourself to do any of the other things you want to do.
    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You are a tricky match, my dear. You have big hopes and dreams and that makes it hard for you to find a suitable job. You also have a larger-than-life personality, and as I’ve told you before, I think many men find you intimidating. I know it’s easier said than done, but you have to value the experiences you’ve been able to have thus far, not compare yourself too much to your friends, and understand that when the time is right for you, things WILL fall into place. You know all of this, of course, but reminders are always good.
    There is a lot of truth to the fact that you have to be happy, or at least content, with yourself and your circumstances, before you can be happy with anyone else. Unfortunately, it becomes a vicious cycle, when you want to be happy with yourself but you’re so unhappy largely because you’re alone. Believe me, I KNOW it’s a struggle, but I can promise you that one day you are going to look back and think, “What was I so worried about again?”
    As for the school/job issue, I think ultimately, the biggest issue is that you’re still just not sure what you want to do. You have so many passions, so many desires, and finding something to fit all of them is not easy. That being said, the old adage about “it’s easier to find a job when you have a job” is true, so it might be worth considering something that you don’t particularly want to do long-term, so you can have some income and start building the resume… being in a job you weren’t nuts about would be beneficial in many ways, but it might also help keep you motivated to find something you could be more passionate about. And where your GRE/grad school plans have fallen short, don’t despair! Doctoral programs are difficult to get into, especially when you’ve been out of school for a while and especially at a place like Vanderbilt.
    I think a goal you should set for yourself is to broaden your scope a little bit. I’m not saying give up totally on the things you want to do, but maybe just widen out a bit more into other things that you’d consider, from types of work, to location, to hours, whatever. As far as the dating scene, you’ve taken major steps to put yourself out there. Keep doing that. Don’t stop, don’t isolate yourself, but try to find joy and contentment in your solitude as well. I assure you it has much value, and you’ll be grateful for the time you had to yourself once you are someone’s “other half”.
    I think so often we pigeonhole ourselves into trying to make things fit into our own little idea of what’s perfect for us, and we sometimes miss out on great opportunities because they don’t fit just right. You’ve taken some huge leaps over the last couple of years. Keep taking them and eventually you’ll land right where you should. I promise.

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  2. I like this…and love you. And…I hope you know that you can be honest with me always. Its never fun to be honest with others about shortcomings etc…because then you have to be honest with yourself. Something thats hard for me…because I like to think I am awesome…which isn’t always the case. Love you and your writing is brilliant as always.

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    • Kimmie,
      Per our conversation last night: I appreciate you so much. In spite of it being a bit of a hellacious year for you, you have never stopped being a gracious and loving friend, and I have never once felt like my life and its little struggles were not important to you. I hope I can do the same for you when times are tough, and I am crossing my fingers- and praying, more like- for both of us to have an epic 2011. I love you!!

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