Here we are, on my first blog entry! I bring myself to you after many months of toiling, indecision, re-doing, and beginning again. Sort of how most of us traveled through Pandemic 2020. I can’t think of better timing for this first blog entry, than for the beginning of this new year.
And with that said, Happy Freaking New Year, everyone! There is definitely something new in the air, can you feel it?
There were several merit badges earned by all in the year 2020: Survival, rebuilding, courage, agility, resourcefulness. These tests seem to come in waves. Isolation, loss, sickness, death, riots, murder hornets, destructive storms, and a country so politically divided that families have been torn apart, and friendships ended.
But for me, this year completely felt like a trip through a wormhole. Remember life pre-pandemic? Yeah, that was like 10 years ago. Personally, I emerged with more grays, an ended career, less in the bank, but more prioritized and sense of purpose. Talk about a reset.
I remember the last day at my job when this all started to unfold. On March 20th, 2020 I came to work preparing for my “last day”, as my boss and I had determined that I would take a temporary leave and accept unemployment.
I worked for a plastic surgeon as a medical aesthetician, and there were planned closures of non essential businesses. My job title was definitely non essential.
I remember Dr. coming out a few times during the morning’s surgery to check on pandemic updates. “We may have to decide as a country, do we want a 20 year depression, or can we say goodbye to millions of people?” His matter of fact, straight forward doctor speak had caused tears to well dangerously close to spilling over more than a few times that morning. If Dr. was concerned, I was terrified.
I had just finished a delicious lunch that Dr. ordered in honor of my last day, when I received word that the governor was planning a shelter in place the next morning. My mind lit up on red alert. My instant thought went to my mother, who relies on me for everything. I need to get groceries! Is there enough gas in our cars? My mind scrambled as I felt like I was preparing for the apocalypse.
I sprang from my seat and darted into the room where I found Dr. and his nurse taking turns checking each other’s blood pressure. There was a contest that day to see who had the highest – oddly I was a contender, I never had high blood pressure until that day. I announced that I had to leave, which was met with some disapproval. Patients had to be moved from my books, but for once I did not care. So I gathered my personal belongings, and left my “work home”, for what would be my last day permanently.
First thing, I went to the grocery store (after calling my mother). As expected, the store was swarming with people, all in survival mode. It was very similar to the bustle before a big snow storm, except this was way different. I walked past the pharmacy section, and I spotted Mike, my friend’s husband who is an anesthesiologist. We both spotted one another and he got out of line to talk to me. I told him I had just left work, and felt so odd to leave. “well, you made the right decision”, he said in a calm, low voice. I agreed, and looked down curiously at what he had in his hands. Mucinex, Claritin, Tylenol, and Nyquil. I made note and retrieved the same. The shelves were becoming picked over, and I was happy I left work when I did.
As I made my way to the check out, I passed a cart full of potted shamrocks left over from St. Patrick’s Day. They were drooping and tired. Only $1.99? I took pity and grabbed the best one, and headed to checkout. Shamrocks on the eve of armageddon? Ironic, but perhaps they will bring some good luck.
As the months rolled on, spring snow into hot and stormy summer, to the crisp fall air, we have adjusted to this new life of living with masks, hand sanitizers, toilet paper rush, DoorDash, and somber death toll announcements by our governor.
Myself, I started lifting weights, signed up for yoga teacher training, restored furniture, spent time with my mother, made home improvements, cared for my puppy dogs, and became an avid bird enthusiast. I discovered different bird calls, and that if you look up bird calls on youtube and play it, you will likely attract that same bird. I became in tuned with nature, as my iphone soon became filled with videos and photos, journaling all of the wildlife that came out of hiding. I felt as if they were as curious about me as I was about them, this human who also came out of hiding. I felt accepted and at home, as I became fully steeped in Nature’s healing energies. I felt healing, I felt alive, I felt awake!
My house was blooming with vitality.
The time came when Dr. reached out to me, asking if I would be returning back to work. I agonized the decision for a moment, but I knew my answer. I declined graciously, thanking Dr. for everything. I blessed that chapter, then closed the book. All for reasons that I will write about later, I decided not to take a step backward in my evolution. I felt a profound sense of purpose, I found what I was missing.
Ups and downs have happened since then, and my house has felt the uncertainty of the world. There had been a period of time where this uncertainty left me in a crying heap everyday, desperate for relief. I became unmotivated to work out. An historic inland hurricane (a Derecho) ripped through the midwest, destroying our yard to rubble, and all the wildlife retreated as many trees were flattened. There seemed to be an end to the honeymoon phase, if you will. I knew I needed to return back to work, but I was concerned with finding something meaningful, that paid enough, and… what is it like to work with a mask on for 8 hours a day? I started out enthusiastic and optimistic with my job searches, until I became very depressed. My job interviews themselves were like a cruel joke. Anywhere from feeling like “this is the one! They loved me!!” to, “we will call you for sure either way” (not), and questions on applications that were just ridiculous, “what would be one thing your best friend would tell us about you that you wouldn’t want us to know?” and “if you were a superhero, what would your name be and what would your super power be?” Are you kidding, do you want my honest answer of, “My best friend would probably tell you to go to hell, and my superhero name is BitchNasty. The name implies my superpower.” That application in particular took me 3 hours of my life to complete. No Joke.
Oh, and I had two potential employers forget my interview. Thaaaanks… Moral mercury dipping drastically.
All I wanted was a job I could be proud of, that valued my worth, and with nice people. One that was honorable enough to change my 16 year career for. Was that too much to ask?
I imagine many people were in my situation. As the crying jags continued, I noticed my house seemed sad. My wildflowers I planted by seed that were meant for the bees and butterflies died. My giant fern soon followed. Then, sadly my lucky shamrock decided it was done. My lucky shamrock plant flourished all of these months as if to say, “HA! we will beat this! We will not let the bastards get us down!” I even had to transplant it to a bigger pot a couple times. I loved that plant, and for all that it represented. Almost overnight, the lush green and purple dome of hopefulness drooped and yellowed, and then finally withering away. In denial, I kept the brown lifeless heap in the container, watering it in spite of it’s obvious fate.
Eventually, with a heavy sigh, I scooped out the shriveled brown tangled mess of what seemed to represent my wasted endeavors for a better life. As I kept watering that lifeless clump I was watering my dreams. It felt like such a tragic parallel. Ugh!
Putting the empty green container in an obscure corner, I quickly forgot about the plant as I was working day and night to find a job and hanging on to whatever encouragement and self respect I could muster.
December rolls around…and ta-da! I got a job. Oh thank you, Jesus. I managed to find a job that paid me more than my last, better benefits, and will eventually allow me to work from home. This is an added bonus, because who wouldn’t want puppy dogs for office mates? And, I have the most wonderful bosses who value me. Extra Extra bonus.
So, here we are, the 4th day of the year. As I grabbed my laptop for commencement of my first blog, I glanced over to that obscure area of the kitchen, where I had placed the forgotten container of empty dirt.
Wait. What’s that? I looked closer. A single sprout of the shamrock plant grew through the surface. How did I not notice this? I could almost hear little sprout say, “it’s about time!” as I let out a short gasp.
I really was at a loss for what to write today. I agonized that I was letting all my precious time be wasted, as days went by without any content. But you know, I’m noticing a common thread to all of this.
All the fretting, all the crying, all the wine (watering), will never push that sprout to sprouting, and the dreams to flourish any quicker than what divine timing will allow. Because usually what’s happening beneath the surface of the soil, or what’s manifesting behind The Curtain is dependent on divine timing.
Because, if I would have accepted the first job that wanted me at poverty level, it would never align with my personal goals to further myself as a writer and reiki practitioner.
And, my first blog turned into philosophy involving a resurrected shamrock. Perhaps Luck and Hope have returned after all.
May it be here to stay in 2021.