Monday, November 29, 2010

Now what?!

I have been contemplating left turns, 180 degree shifts, outside "the box" and the road not taken this past month.  While it seems as though I have been in some degree of turmoil or another for months (no home, no job, no money), it really has only been 2 months since my world shifted significantly.  Today, as I am about to commit to a 2 year post secondary program (the first in my life I am almost ashamed to say), I am once again pondering how best to honour one's instincts. Actually, that is a cop-out; I am really just getting shift-y and scared about taking on something that I have always said I wanted to do and now I have to put my money (or rather Student Aid's money) where my mouth is and jump in. 

I am in the process of writing an essay in application for a scholarship specifically for women taking on a college education "later in life".  Yes, that is me.  Thirty six years ago, a fresh faced, "cookies and milk" girl from Calgary completed high school and considering a degree in social work, worked as a long distance operator and lived at home, dreaming of travel to castles in England.  Along came an exciting, older man who, while not exactly sweeping her off her feet, did provide a perfect exit to the first family life.  Moving to the west coast, marrying, birthing children, working, running businesses - just life - filled the next 35 years.  Each time that the idea of college or university came up there was always another priority, a more important consideration and the thought passed by, the current catalogue of classes became out of date and eventually recycled. 

Now, (it seems - I am still hedging my bets and feeling uncertain) is the perfect time to go back to school.  I am not in the midst of an exciting, upwardly mobile career, my children are grown and self sustaining, my mom's health is stable, my husband is at home in a semi-retired state and I ain't got nothin' to lose and everything to gain!  I have chosen a two year program in HR Management which could lead to a degree program or further education and will provide me with a diploma and education to provide credibility to my own natural abilities.  I have always loved being in training and even loved the challenge of studying for my real estate license.  So, you may ask, what is going on today??

Well, the "what-if's" are picking away in my brain, although, even as I type this, I can see how weak that sounds. The money comes up as it looks as though I am mortgaging my future (you got something better to invest in??).  The Student Aid is so measly that no human being could live on it (that is why you keep your part time work and continue to build more flexible options and HELLO, aren't you a coach?  Coaching does not require a regular schedule.).  And, okay, if we dig down a layer or two, I am just plain scared.  What if I go to school for 2 years, complete the program and still can't find a job that I love?  What if I am a terrible student and completely incompetent?  What if I can't find my way around a campus and feel like an idiot?  What will the other students think of me being in post-secondary school for the first time at 53 years old?  Like I said, the what-if's are prolific and the wonder of transcribing this all down on the bright little screen is that I can answer them all with "so-what's"! 

Since I actually took the step to inquire about the program, received information and started to complete what is necessary, I have held out that if the perfect job opportunity presented itself that I would take that.  In fact, it became that if any fulltime job came up that I would probably jump at it as money has been squeaky tight this past number of weeks.  No such alternatives have presented themselves and the patchwork quilt of options continues as the best coverage that I can create.  So... I will be heading off to the college tomorrow morning and paying my fees so that I can register for classes to start in January!  There, I have said it out loud and in public. 

The next adventure awaits....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

This is becoming boring...

Someone suggested to me last night that I approach this time of no work as a holiday.  It startled me and my reactions were pretty defensive ("You clearly don't get it; I don't have a JOB or any MONEY.  How could I take a holiday now?!  That would be completely irresponsible, etc, etc...").  However, it did give me pause to consider how I approach times of challenge.

Now, I am of the opinion that I have had quite enough challenges this year but clearly the Universe is not done with me on this one yet.  And I have no fracking control over it at all, which drives me 18 shades of crazy.  My desire to assert my influence on this circumstance is overwhelming.  I. need. to. make. it. work!

Unh, uh (or however you type the negative form of Uh, huh, to indicate in typing the shaking of one's head...). Nope, not, nyet, nein, NO!  I have no ability to consciously force this to go my way.  That is not to say that I am not fully engaged in job-seeking, because I am.  I spend hours each day exploring options, opportunities, applying for positions, researching organizations, figuring out who to talk to, finding people of influence in my circle and beyond - I am at work, finding work, just like "they" tell you to be.  Never, in my life, have I worked so hard to find work and been (as yet) unsuccessful.  Well, that is not entirely true - I have secured 2 days a week, for a third less per hour than they originally promised me at my interview, which covers about 40% of my monthly expenses...

I get it - this is a sign of the times, the cracks in the economy showing just how broken it all is and we are in a "recession" after all.  And, I know that I am older than I was last time I took on a project like this and like one kind person who actually sent me an email to tell me I had not made the first cut said, "I have received over 350 applications for this position", when I asked why my combination of experience and skills, that seemed perfect, had not even made it to the first interview stage.  There are a lot of people out there, like me, looking for work. 

But, this is getting tiresome.  I want to think that I have some power in this.  I want to believe that my shiny, positive attitude will prevail.  I want to consider that my commitment to people and making a difference will pay off with a great opportunity.  I want to keep on having faith in it all working out.

And I am somewhat frustrated and notice a degree of (yes, I will say it) fear present in my head each morning.  A wise friend suggested I take a look at the worst case scenario, work out a solution and let go of the fear.  Great idea.  And I have done that - I know what my 'back pocket' plan is.  I just don't want to have to pull it out and to be straight, I am not ready to do that yet.  Knowing it is there is worthwhile.

So, I will carry on today.  I have calls to make with requests for ideas and assistance.  I am present to and appreciating the glorious sunshine and this beautiful fall day.  I will take some time and walk by the ocean and visit my daughter and I did sleep in this morning.  That makes it kind of like a holiday, doesn't it?  I am sure that when I am busy working/occupied in a paid circumstance that I will look back on this like a time of leisure.