Since You Brought It Up: Down Not Out

since you brought it up

By Ashely Schneider I keep meaning to jot down some thoughts on my personal experience with unemployment. Let’s just say, it’s far from glamorous which is probably why I’ve avoided this for so long.

Sure, it’s nice to take a morning yoga class or grocery shop at noon. But most days, I’m braless and in sweatpants until an errand forces me to slip on jeans and spruce up with a little blush. Hey, you never know who you’ll see in the produce section.

I’ve been challenged on a daily basis, constantly questioning my skills, expertise, and self worth. That’s what a job search will do to you! I’ve also become my own worst critic.

I try to keep an upbeat, optimistic attitude. I’m constantly asked how my search is going. You never want to be that friend who mopes and complains too much so I usually respond with something like, it’s tough! Or, the process is brutal! Always with an exclamation point. Seems a bit more cheery, right?

I recognize that things could be much worse. There could be kids to feed or a mortgage to pay. Right now, I’m feeling grateful for the support of friends and family who are rooting and praying for me, as well as wishing me the very best. I mean it when I say it helps.

This month, I’ve decided to revamp my attitude and perspective. More action, less stagnancy. I’m using these next few weeks to create a little routine in my current structure-less state. I’ve set some small tangible goals like run twice a week, volunteer, send handwritten letters. I’ve also decided to strive for optimism and hope. Mind over matter, right? Fake it til you make it. I can already tell that my new mindset is helping and my overall state of being is improving. I do hope it carries over into the new year, and with it, good news.

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Holiday cards of grinning families! Music proclaiming it’s the “most wonderful time of the year!” Nonstop cocktail chatter about how fantastically the last year treated each and every person at the party! If anything in your life feels less than perfect, the holiday season makes you want to cram it in a box, tie a lovely bow around it—and then instagram it.

We believe we can find more joy in the holidays by squashing the little voice that tells us bright spirits and good cheer are only possible when we’re perfect.  The magic of this time of year comes from connecting with loved ones near and far, reminding ourselves of all we have to be thankful for, and . . . covering everything in twinkling white lights. 

We’re embracing our present lives—foibles and all—so we can spend more time drinking egg nog and less time worrying we’re not good enough. Imperfect is the new black; wear it with pride.

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