Thursday, November 20, 2008

When Have You Ever Not?

Snidey (as Kath often calls him) and I have the sort of friendship where we often forget to communicate for weeks at a time and then run into each other and can't shut the hell up. Most of the sentences start with, "Oh, I was going to tell you...." Last week I called over to their place to talk to Kath and got Alex instead. In mere moments, despite the fact that I was on the bus and therefore airing my dirty laundry to a rightly unappreciative world, I told him all about my job fears and plans and unease and stressy crap. He hmmmed and uh huhed for a bit, throwing in good advice when I drew breath and eventually he said, "You will land on your feet." I made a noise of disbelief and he jumped in, "When have you ever not?" I don't know what I said after that but I've been thinking about it ever since.

I mean, when have I not? Sometimes I've landed on my feet in a cow pattie but I've been on my feet, not on my ass or on my head or anything else disgusting. I started thinking about what landing on my feet this time would look like instead of worrying about what the landing would be at all.

Then on Tuesday I was summoned to a meeting that included my boss's widow. I arrived first and sat in the reception area and when she arrived she sat next to me and told me that there would clearly be a lot of work to do in the coming year and asked me if I would please stay on for that year. Again, I don't remember what I said but it was surely inadequate. I was relieved and all but couldn't even think about it. Once I got out of that meeting my brain was just running plays all the time. I had to start making plans, taking steps, figuring out how to make more money before the year is up. December '09 is on the way people! Finally I heard:

"You will land on your feet. When have you ever not?"

Finally it occurred to me, I am so lucky. I mean, really lucky in ways that I forget to acknowledge. Let's look at the time line:

  • November '00 - September 9, '01 everybody dies and we have to do all the things that dying requires and I am in a temp job that allows me to pay some of my bills and to walk away every time I need to rush to a deathbed or a funeral.
  • September 11, '01 well, you know, and I lose the job I was supposed to move to.
  • November '01 I get a temp to perm job that winds up, with the help of some generous family help, making it possible for me to buy my own apartment and pay off all my debt except for my mortgage.
  • February '04 Increasingly frustrated with my job I decide that I am not brave enough to leave cold turkey and need to find a part time job. I say so out loud twice. I get a 4 day a week job with fewer hours per day with comparable pay and benefits.
  • September '08 Having taken that job in order to make time to figure out how to make my living doing something I love I find I have still not taken any major steps toward the goal. I realize that I need, somehow, to give myself a deadline. A catastrophic event makes losing that job a possibility but I'm given a full year's exit strategy time. One might even call it a deadline.

I often get resentful of people I think of as "Golden Children." I feel like just getting what you ask for is a ridiculous assumption made by greedy people. And yet, if you look at the facts, I keep getting exactly what I ask for.

When have I ever not?


I don't know who or what is responsible for this but I feel I should just say thanks on general principles. Thanks. Thank you very much.

Photo lovingly ganked from the source cited in this post.


  1. I love it!
    I hate it because its been hard and because it wasn't necessary...
    you already had character and you already had moxy...
    so why did it have to be so hard?
    I don't know.
    But it is true.
    Not one time have I ever seen you be tossed out any window and not land on your lovely feet.
    And not once have I ever not been sincerely impressed with what you manage to get done while you are falling.
    When have you not!?
    Love it!

  2. It's nice to see yourself through other peoples' eyes once in a while. It surprises you. Clearly, you are a resourceful person, a survivor, someone who makes good. It's a great comfort and inspiration when you realize that's how others view you.

    Its strengthening.

  3. I'm relieved for you.