Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Not As Planned

I've been absent from the blog for a few days because I have been sort of stuck in my head thinking about the craptastic state of the global economy, the somewhat frustrating situation I am in and the likely relationship between the two. I think these thoughts can be partly blamed on an overdose of NPR. No matter what the impetus, my thoughts these days have revolved around pretty heady and heavy things.

Paul and I had lots of plans that accompanied our decision to relocate to Minneapolis from the Boston area. We had a lot going for us in Boston. We were both gainfully employed, loved our neighborhood, had made friends, relished the walking/mass transit way of life, enjoyed taking advantage of the many destinations within driving distance and generally felt very much at home. However, we had some big goals we wanted to move towards, which, besides being near our Minnesota friends and family members, were the main reasons we moved here. The plan was to get jobs that paid comparably or better and set ourselves up with a lower cost of living so that we could focus on saving a down payment for a house, have enough money to take a vacation together and just generally relieve ourselves of the paycheck to paycheck existence we have always had. We were willing to give up our lives in Boston for our new and improved Minneapolis existence.

Things do not always work out as planned. We had no way of knowing that the US and world economies would be in this downward spiral. We had no way of knowing that there would be such astonishing job loss numbers, that unemployment would be going sky high and that I would be competing for the same few available jobs with so many well qualified if not overqualified candidates. We don't regret our choice, but we are having to adjust the timeline for our goals.

So, here we are wanting to settle into our "new" city. I call it "new" because even though I consider myself to be from here, it has been 5 years since I've lived here and I've done some changing during that time. Since I last lived here, I have become much more enamored by knitting, food, creative/art/theater events and really knowing the city you live in. In addition to my evolving interests, I feel newish here because of the changes the city has undergone in the time I have been away. I don't know where to get the best burrito in town. I don't have a favorite bakery. I have no idea where I can go to spend my Bed Bath and Beyond gift certificate. I don't remember how to get from point A to point B very efficiently. Basically what I am saying here is that even though I have some foundation knowledge and connections with people here, it doesn't really feel like home yet.

Unfortunately getting involved and experiencing the city has a cost attached to it. There are definitely some free options, but a lot of the things I would like to do come with some sort of cost. Going out to eat costs money. If I check out new stores to see what they sell, I will probably want to buy something. Going to concerts or shows is expensive. Going out for a cocktail isn't free. Spend. Spend. Spend.

The truth of the matter is that it wouldn't be smart of us to spend more than is necessary right now. Paul has a job, which does wonders for staving off feelings of potential doom. I have been earning money by working at a temp job, but it is ridiculously monotonous and at some point I may have to leave it in order to save my sanity. The boredom has already reduced me to tears on one occasion. Pretty much the only things that are currently preserving my sanity are lots and lots of podcasts, lots and lots of NPR and snack food. The job does not require any brain power, so I use the radio and podcasts to engage my mind while I am working, which is currently 40 hours a week. What are these podcasts and radio shows talking about incessantly? They are analyzing every way in which this economic downturn is bad-bad-bad. How it will be bad-bad-bad for months, years and maybe even decades. Hello! That is totally not an uplifting thing to fixate on while job searching. It tends to raise the stress level a bit.

Don't get me wrong. I am not wallowing. I do not dwell in self-pity. I recognize that all things considered, we are not in that bad of a situation. We are paying our bills. We have food to eat, clothes to wear, a roof over our heads and a car that works. I have plenty of yarn to knit. I have books to read and movies to watch. I am surrounded by people that love me and will spend time with me and I am good at entertaining myself. I feel grateful and thankful for all of these things.

I know I need to be patient and that things will fall into place for us eventually. When I do finally get a job and we are able to start moving towards our goals, I will be able to let out the biggest exhale of relief. I just hope I don't go blue in the face waiting for that exhale.


  1. My nana always told me the best adventures are the ones you don't plan. Skip the NPR, listen to a few books on tape. Perhaps use your 40 hours a week to learn a new language? The local library system probably has a way to download language lessons. Teach someone something. Volunteer at a museum as a docent. Teach an ESL course... teach a beginners' knitting class. Sharing your abilities will greatly improve your outlook. Save. Save. Save. Coupon shop. Play "survivor" week-- we do this every 6 weeks-- you can only eat what is in the house... you get some creative dinners. Have friends over for drinks. Throw yourself a "stock the bar" party-- everyone brings a bottle of something and you can spend the night trying out a new margarita recipe. It's hard. And I totally feel for you. I was sad to have you leave ( i just got started knowing you!) Boston, but was horrified when things started to go a little awry for you. You and Paul are strong, you have family nearby and you can do it!!!!

    As my nana said (she was chattier than me, can you believe?) :

    Put on some lipstick, comb your hair. See... it's not such a bad day after all.

  2. Wow - its awesome to read my very words coming out of someone elses mind (besides my husbands). Here are some leads that we have found to help us understand that a paradigm shift wouldn't be so bad for this planet.

    Difficult times breed rapid innovation and creativity.

    As for books on tape, I recommend The Secret Life of Bees.

  3. i just know that when the right thing comes along, it will be so great and worth the wait, despite all the frustrations that you are experiencing right now. i have a feeling '09 is going to be a great year for you! love you!

  4. Thanks to Mini and LisaTilson for the suggestions and thanks to Jerri for the love. I am definitely taking your suggestions to heart. I have scheduled an orientation for volunteering at a local music venue and am headed to the library tonight to check out some audiobooks. Also, I have cut myself off from economic news content :)


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