Monday, April 6, 2009

Time Flies...

They say that time flies when you're having fun. It's been almost 5 months since my husband lost his job and I remember the day like it was yesterday. I remember where I was standing in the kitchen when he walked through the mudroom door. I remember what he was wearing and the expression on his face. I remember knowing that something was terribly wrong before he opened his mouth. And I remember the sinking feeling in my stomach when he announced, "I've been laid off." It was a cold autumn day and yet I remember it like it was yesterday. Perhaps the old adage is wrong and time flies regardless of whether or not you are having fun.

We haven't spent the months moping around and feeling sorry for ourselves: quite the contrary. This is the 6th post that I have written for The Charlotte Observer's "The Squeeze" blog (not sure if or when it will be published); those of you who have read the previous entries know that my husband is incapable of looking at a glass half empty and that his positive attitude is contagious. Even after 5 months, he continues to view this experience as an opportunity to grow as person, to gain a better understanding of his strengths and talents and to land the job of his dreams. Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Believe me, there are days when I want to slap him upside the head and shout, "This absolutely sucks and the news just keeps getting worse, how can you be so @%$# optimistic!?" But I've never actually uttered those words, which is more a testament to the invigorating effects of his positive attitude than it is my ability to practice self-control.

But I would be lying if I didn't admit to having bad days. Well, maybe not bad days, but bad nights, for sure. Why is it that things that are quite manageable in the light of day intensify as soon as the sun sets? Instead of shutting down and recharging at night, my mind has a tendency to wander to strange and scary places. Over the past couple of months I've become an expert at reeling it in and forbidding my imagination to get the best of me. In doing so, I've gained power and strength. Which brings me to another old adage: that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. I believe that most of us choose to make lemonade out of the lemons we are handed. What other choice do we have, really? It's a survival instinct, the human spirit at work. But it's a shame that most of us don't appreciate it until after the fact. It's not until we've been put through the ringer and made it through to the other side that we look back and see that we were capable of much more than we initially gave ourselves credit for. Perspective is beautiful thing, but too many of us lose sight of it along the way.

As much as I would like this all to be over, for my husband to be employed and the economy to get back on track, I simply cannot afford to wish away this part of my life. I'm 45; I'm middle-aged, for crying out loud, every year counts! I hate that this is a difficult time, but time is going to pass whether or not I am smiling, so I may as well smile. My kids are 12 and 9 for only one year; I don't want to regret not having enjoyed every minute of it. I want to look back on this and be proud of how I handled myself and how I supported my husband and family. No regrets allowed.

This past weekend I saw one of the women I mentioned in an earlier post whose husband was also out of work. I will miss getting to know her better, but I am delighted that after only 6 weeks of unemployment, her husband found a fabulous job in Atlanta. They put their home on the market and it was under contract in 10 days. Granted, their story is not the norm; at least, it's not the kind of story that the media seems focused on these days. But wouldn’t it have been nice to see that story in print? I joked that my husband and I should rub the couple for good luck. But my husband is also doing well in his search. He hasn't secured full time employment, yet, but he landed an incredible consulting gig that brought him to the Ukraine for a week of very exciting work. I've been busy, too, and have actually deposited two paychecks in the last month. It's not steady work for either one of us, but it's a start and we're not complaining. In fact, we're smiling.

Which brings me to my last adage; I believe Robert Frost deserves the credit for this one, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life. It goes on." I suppose the mark of a successful life is one where the days fly by....but the years are long and full.


Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved "Time Flies". I'm so happy you are looking for the silver lining, because it's there.

Karen said...

it's been a tough time and you and jim have handled it with such grace. you're so lucky that you dtaw such strength from each other and can rely on each other to remain strong when you need to. that's all you need for a good life! a good attitude, a good sense of humor, and a spouse who can truly be a partner thru good times and bad. you will have learned a lot and grown a lot when this whole thing is over. but let it be clear: there will be no moving to Atlanta or anywhere else. Charlotte is where you will stay, surrounded by your crazy loving family.

Anonymous said...

TOUGHING TOUCHING TOUGHING!!!!!! You voice should be heard more!!! WRITE A BOOK!!!