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Week 5 of optimism

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2009 in Me

My wanton act of optimism has been a success so far, I’m happy to report. It’s involved much more time with my mother and her doctors than I expected, but I feel so grateful that I’ve been available to go with her to all her appointments. She’s a treat and it’s good to spend time with her. It’s also frustrating, but without the stress of my previous workplace, I’m not adding even more frustration to the equation. I can be patient and enjoy the comedy there in her forgetfulness. (Luckily she can also often see the humor.)

I think my story is evolving. It was very hard during a job interview last week for me to come up with a story about a project I’d worked on in the last three years that I was really satisfied with. For some reason I started talking about the not-to-be-called-a-merger merger. I learned a lot from that experience, but it was mostly about the consequences of bad communication and how a communications office can’t fix bad communication coming from above. It’s hard to spin the negative story. But I think I’m at a point where I can say I left because I couldn’t provide the level of support the place needed. Not because I didn’t have the talent, nor because of a lack of talent around me, but because other resources were lacking and because the culture had become one of disengagement and distrust. The story feels so similar to my story of leaving a former long-term intimate relationship. It is all about relationships after all. And everyone has a breakup story. The interesting part is always what comes after.

I recall saying several times that if I couldn’t be a cheerleader, I needed to get off the playing field. Getting off the playing field has meant that I can see beyond the stands now. Did you know there are sometimes parties in the parking lot? And people driving by who aren’t in the least bit interested in what’s going on down on the field? I’m rediscovering this. I’m looking around for where I want to be, where my curiosity takes me.

Feedback from friends is positive. I’m apparently much more fun to be around. I feel much more fun to be with. And I’m feeling some curiosity again.

My dreams no longer wake me with feelings of anger or frustration. I still have those feelings and probably will for a while longer. But I sleep through the night without grinding my teeth and have much more interesting and odd dreams. Dreams that don’t hit me over the head with their messages.

I’m also coming to terms with the limits of my own power. I couldn’t fix a former partner. I couldn’t fix an institution or even a department. I can guide. I can support. I can encourage. I can counsel. I can facilitate. But I can’t make change happen anywhere but in my own life. I happen to hate this fact. Maybe in another five weeks, I’ll see the advantages of it.

I’m still optimistic. I’ve only interviewed once, but I’ve challenged myself to network and I’ve done the dreary work of filling out online applications. Doing both have given me a sense of accomplishment. That’s not something I’ve felt for too long a time.

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