Friday, September 27, 2013

Life is What Happens While You're Making Other Plans

I haven't posted here in a while. I'm in a bit of a transition period, and I'm not sure where it's going. My original intention was to take some time off and get my head together. Then, I would do some networking, send out some applications, and land another job.

So far, my head is a bit more together than it was when I started this whole thing. I am clearer on what it is that gives me a sense of purpose, what it is that gets me "in the flow". I am taking better care of my health, physical and mental. I am no longer a slave to the clock, and I'm not constantly drowning in a sea of stress. I have time to actually think.

I've been doing a lot of networking as well. Informational interviews, attending conferences and seminars, doing volunteer work, talking with friends. Reconnecting with colleagues in person and on social media.

I've been sending out a lot of job applications and resumes as well. I'm keeping my LinkedIn profile current, and I'm posting links on my website when my freelance pieces are published. But after nine months of actively looking, I haven't landed a job-type job.

Instead, I'm finding enough freelance and temp work to keep myself afloat. I have signed on with a temp agency, and almost immediately, they found me a month of almost-full-time work at a decent hourly rate. It  was the same type of work that I left behind -- not the sort of thing that I would want to go back to permanently, but interesting enough to revisit. Counting the commute, it took about 11 to 12 hours of my day, every day, five days a week, just like my old job. But my co-workers were nice, the money was good, and the work was tolerable.

My freelance work is a bit more satisfying -- I'm writing short articles about recent scientific publications, geared toward a scientific audience. I also just finished a magazine feature article for college undergraduates, summarizing the various ways you can discover what kind of a career really motivates you. (Pretty much what I've been putting into practice these last couple of years.)

In between all that, I've been keeping up with the long walks and time with friends and all the rest of it. I've had to drop the yoga classes for now because I've had some other expenses that I needed to take care of, but I look forward to getting back into the yoga as soon as I can.

Last week, I spent four days in Austin. Andrew De Leon released his first album, and a dozen of us
from his little Twitter community came to his release party. We came from California, Maine, Quebec, and everywhere in between. What a grand time that was. Even though most of us had never met in person, we were not strangers. It was like summer camp, making our plans for the day, hanging out, messaging each other -- what time should we meet for lunch? Whose turn is it to drive? This little band of Andrew-fans are my friends in the truest sense of the word.

We had a little pre-party party on Friday, when we stopped by the Moose Lodge just to see if we could find the place, and wound up meeting all of Andrew's family (they were setting up the party). Andrew's mom called him at home, and he hurried out to meet us. He is a total delight, as are his cousins Josh and Eric and his uncle Rey (his collaborators on the album), his parents, aunts, uncles, and all the others. To me, that was the highlight of the trip, since it allowed us to talk, and dance, and laugh on a more personal level. We also met Andrew's friends Jaime and Meigan, who feature prominently in his YouTube chats, the following night. The actual party on Saturday was a great celebration -- lights and music and excitement. It was Andrew's moment to shine.

I also reconnected with a classmate of mine from junior high and high school, whom I had only seen a few times since graduation. Fred is one of the best people I know, and it was such a joy to see him again. He had lunch with my friends and me, and my friends all think he's wonderful. He even stopped by the album release party for a little while, much to our delight.

So right now, the universe is taking care of me. I don't know where I'm going. Maybe this is my life now. I'm OK with that. I have good people in my life, and my bills are getting paid. There's no grand "Ta-da!" moment to mark the end of my sabbatical. Rather, it's a gentle blending of one stage into another. And that's OK.

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