It’s Been a Long Time: How the Life Got Sucked out of Me and What I’m Doing about it…

Hello! I am so sorry that it has been aeons of time since my last blog post on this blog. I am writing this blog today in an effort to help anyone else who is feeling the way I have felt. I think much of the following happens to us all at some point in our lives.

So much has happened in the past year that I have been deflated. I feel like someone cut me off at the ends and pinched them together with their fingers, like one would the end of a balloon. I feel like air has been leaking out of me. I believe this feeling is the product of several life events in the past year.

ground orange balloon deflated

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The final situation began late last year. Last Autumn my brother’s illness intensified. As we experienced this my father’s illness also intensified. Both were in the same hospital simultaneously in October. At one point my mother and I walked the same hallway in the hospital, swapping which one of us visited each of them during the day. Long story short, my brother passed away.

I never expected him to die when he did. His condition started to improve. My thought was he would transition from the hospital to the skill care center he was in, and then transition home.

However, the night before he died it never occurred to me that he was about to transition to his real home, not the earthly one. I was the last one in our family to see him alive. I have even felt guilty about that.

This is a man who survived 18 heart operations and countless other procedures during his lifetime. He had survived dire episodes in his health before. I just couldn’t believe he was gone. I think that just the fact that he was younger than I resulted in me feeling immense guilt for outliving him. Suddenly I felt guilty for him even being as sick as he had been yet so far I have not experienced what he had. I never even expected to feel this way either.

From an emotional standpoint I returned from Bereavement Leave to my job a bit earlier than I should have. However, I used the leave time that was accessible to me and there were no other options for me other than resigning.

When I returned there was no viable work for me. My Book of Business had been dispersed among other salespeople. This is the nature of being in Sales/Social Media Marketing. Social Media is a 24/7 business which continues whether you are there or not. Someone has to work with the clients, so I understood it. I ended up on another team at work, doing different work altogether. The new team lasted another couple of months. The entire team was laid off.

I am on the lookout for something else; however, I am unsure of what the something else ought to be. To be blunt: I have to earn money. The need for money in the past has had me desperately to and fro in the working world at times. I have experience performing locally as a vocalist so I have Entertainment experience. For as long as I could remember, being an Entertainer has been my dream job. However, the girl with the dream has now become the woman who has put that dream into the archives of her mental databank. Now my creative aspirations are just for the joy of creating.

Certain dreams: Professional entertainers, dancers, athletes, etc need to be fulfilled while one is young in order to have longevity in it that is profitable. Therefore, I see that as my release, not necessarily as my reliability as I age.

Beyond that, I have Customer Service and Claims experience, however, I think of myself as the backend of a hammer’s head when it comes to those industries. A hammer’s secondary function is to pull nails out with the backend of the hammer’s head.

black claw hammer on brown wooden plank

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This is how I feel about my usefulness in those industries. I can work in those industries and do well in them; however, it is my secondary set of skills at work rather than my primary set.

I have experience in Media Advertising Sales and in Sales and Marketing. I have Print Media experience. I enjoy doing work in those industries; however, my best in those industries happens when I employ my proficiencies in them: Writing, Art and Music. When I incorporate those activities I am the front end of a hammer connecting a nail (Marketing and Sales) to something (Target Audiences).

In stating all of that, I state it to say that, I need to vent a teeny bit.

So far, I have applied to hundreds of jobs in all of the above stated industries for the past seven weeks but nothing seems to be working out. This is applying online, which several recruiters state that I must do because that is the catalyst that accelerates their hiring process.

However, I can not help but analyze this process a bit with the heart and mind of someone in her 40s. I am like everyone else. I have a few bills to pay. I have Senior parents who are not getting any younger (are any of us?) who recently lost their son. Therefore, I worry about how this next chapter in my career is going to begin.

I understand I cannot allow grief to take me over to the point of lethargy. Lethargy would worsen the state of unemployment for me. I must allow the Energy to flow through me. Now!

Since the job market is largely handled online now I have scrutinized my resumes and cover letters repeatedly. I have created a website that I think needs to be recreated, again. I have done a lot of work in finding viable, permanent work. I miss the days of walking into a business, introducing myself, asking if they are hiring, being interviewed and walking out with a job.

It used to be possible for job seekers to do that.

Having written all of that, I cannot play the victim here. Death comes to us all. Death of our loved ones comes to us all, if we out live those loved ones. Illness comes. Sometimes Layoffs come. Sometimes job firings come. Bills come. Life is steadily happening all around us. Life does what it is designed to do: push us to be our authentic selves.

I cannot help but wonder why I seem to be stagnating a little bit currently.

In conducting this job search I feel like I am personally in the top portion of the Marketing funnel in that I am restructuring my personal brand in order to generate a demand when I really want to be in the bottom of the funnel. I need and want Conversion, in other words, I want to be gainfully employed in something that will allow me to build value and to change lives for the better. I have the ambition, the drive, for it to happen. I just have some obstacles to overcome.

However, it’s not about if I have the drive. It’s about if I know how to thrive.

Do I know how to make my resume and my cover letter for each application stand out? Do I know how to be stellar in an interview? Am I proficient in the skills required for the work I want to do? I have had several plans, but they seem to be ineffective at the moment.

I once heard somewhere in order to “make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”

He must be in guffaws over mine.

Nothing in my life has gone the way that I wanted it to, that I worked toward, or that I dreamt of. I ask myself, “Why?”

Yesterday I had someone tell me that I had no energy. This is a person who has known me all of two days. If she can see that, so can everyone else…

Ah-ha! This is the epiphany that I needed. I have allowed the transcendence of someone who had boundless energy most of his life, despite illness, to drain the life out of me. Currently I have no energy and people can see it immediately.

Based on this epiphany I am redirecting my focus. I am eradicating certain words from my life, such as “want.” I am now looking for work I love. Forget that four letter ‘w’ word I used earlier.

I get it now. For seven weeks I have had the negative thought that there was something wrong with me as a candidate since there have been few calls. I was beginning to think that perhaps, for lack of a better phrase, “I suck.”

I don’t suck, my energy level does.

Pretty much all of my energy has been sucked right out of me: the balloon metaphor comes to mind again. It needs clarification: no one clipped the ends and pinched their fingers on my life at all. Someone untied the ends and literally sucked all of the energy out of me…

It wasn’t someone, but rather something.

It was life. I allowed life and all of its circumstances, challenges, mishaps, etc to suck all of the life out of me…

Nearly…

I am still here, so life hasn’t consumed me fully. I still get to be happy and useful because I am still here…

If I love life badly enough.

I love my brother to death. I understand that expression more completely now. We say “to death” rather than “beyond death” because we still have to live “this thing called life” until our individual existence in this form is over.

So for anyone else who has been entangled in the process of grief over a loved one, or any other kind of loss, this blog post is for you. I am going to put some positivity out there and state the following:

I am beyond middle aged, but I am still here. I am graying, but I am still here. I am a fat person but I am still here. Just like everyone else who has admitted what she needs and has gone after it, I have a chance to do that too. Each morning that I wake up on this side of the dirt I am in the position of living life to the fullest.

At least now I know what the problem has been: the problem has been me.

People like upbeat, positive, fun people. I even do. I have just allowed all the fun and positivity to be sucked out of me.

group of people raising right hand

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My brother was fun and funny. He told me once that I over-prepare for everything. He told me that I needed to relax, to let go and to be myself. He said that is all he had ever done.

I have lived to see his point.

He had a canny way of walking up to people, introducing himself, and just like that he would have an amazing new job that paid him well. I literally just explained how his entire working life was. He probably had only a couple of actual interviews his entire life.

When we first moved back to my home state I watched him talk to a man in the grocery store who enjoyed talking with my brother so much that he told my brother to come to his office to “solidify the deal.” In only four days of living back here my brother had landed a great job with great pay that he worked for several years.

Even when I think about it now I am amazed. The man in the grocery store was an executive. The conversation began with my brother being his usual friendly self and just saying “Hello” to a man while we were in the produce section of a grocery store.

When I am able to talk about my brother it is because I think of this one thing about him: he lived to the beat of his own drum. I use that expression because for several years he was actually a drummer. Being a percussionist was an extension of who he was as a man: he felt the rhythm of what to groove to in his life. He just played along with that rhythm, at time to the shock of everyone else. He did what he loved because he did not struggle against what came naturally to him.

Thinking of all of this about my brother is a reminder that I need to do some things that I love: write more, read more, grab a mic and let it rip, re-learn guitar and piano, pick up my flute, walk, go to the museum, get some fresh air, cook some vegetables, visit with friends, return to some tech Meet Up groups, hang out…

There is an endless list of stuff I have not done in ages.

I have not even gone on vacation in years…since 1999 to be exact. I love exploring various parts of the Earth and immersing myself in various cultures. By going on vacation I mean going out of town and doing something different from my normal day to day routine. Yes, I’ve not done that in 19 years. Shame on me.

Very early in my life I was a military brat. A vacation happened when we traveled because there were new orders to be somewhere else. Military life teaches you about new cultures.

I think even when things are kind of stable financially I don’t ever plan a vacation because of my single status. It is not as much fun to vacation alone (so I’ve been told).

An even bigger truth (sigh) is I have not been on a date in years…12 to be exact.

Yes, it has been that long. I used to convince myself that it was solely because I really loved the last man (which I did); however, that is not the real reason why.

The real reason why is I allowed that breakup to suck the energy out of me.

See what I am writing here?

While this blog post is a reminder to myself to “Stop Allowing Anything and Everything to Suck my Energy from me,” it is a reminder for you too. Our society is so fast paced and disconnected now that I believe countless people are experiencing a depletion in energy.

I am going to be blunt here: I don’t even like what has happened to me. I have managed to nearly become a stereotypical (at times, bitter) spinster flying solo most of the time, nearly all day long, minus a bunch of cats. I know it’s a stereotype and I have always strived not to be a stereotype. Somehow I am on the verge of being a stereotype.

I don’t like that.

When my family and friends see my pictures they beg me to smile more. I am too pensive. One friend who is a former colleague told me that and it’s true. She barely knew me at the time she said that, but she could see through to me…to my soul. She knew there was more to me than that; however, she could see that I was allowing that “more” to be consumed by various circumstances.  20150603_131641

She could see that I was allowing life to suck the life out of me.

But I still didn’t fully get it…You bet I do now.

Now I am learning to start living again. The first way that I am doing that is being real clear on what works for me, in all aspects of my life, and what just doesn’t.

I think this is the gift of aging: finally being courageous enough to be who you are completely without caring what anyone else thinks about it.

One thing that brought this new practice into my daily routine is something a contestant on “America’s Got Talent” said. He basically stated that if you are in survival mode you cannot create.

He is not the only one I’ve heard say something like this. A couple of weeks prior to that contestant stating that I heard Bishop T.D. Jakes say something very similar which essentially meant the same thing.

I understand now why Jesus fed the multitudes prior to preaching to them. One can’t even accept the concept of everlasting life or anything else being available if one is barely surviving.

My tangible and intangible needs have to be met before I can be as creative, as innovative, as I can possibly be.

I can’t create with the life sucked out of me.

Trust me, I know.

It’s the reason why it’s been a long time since my last blog post.

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