I am back at work, hence the “new rudder” in the title today. That’s the old habit I simply can’t shed – tying a good chunk of my happiness and self-worth to my job. So, when I don’t have a job it hurts in lots of ways. The mind and the wallet for starters. Well, I can dip into savings and collect unemployment but I feel like a combo loser/moocher when I do. Retirement is in the far, far future here, and I am not independently wealthy – yet. Meanwhile, it costs money to live!

After nearly 3 months of job hunting, I “suddenly” had an opportunity fall into my lap. And I “suddenly” had this urge to get a couple home projects done after procrastinating since July this year…and really, since 2002, the year I moved here.

Ahhhh, the home office. I plopped into my nice, comfy leather chair and fired up the laptop every single day. My goal of keeping a daily ‘work’ routine of getting up somewhat early, showering, drying/styling hair and putting on makeup quickly disintegrated into waking up at 9:30am, putting on shorts, flip flops and a t-shirt and taking a shower around lunch time (or later, if I did a midday gym workout). I got used to seeing myself in wet hair and no makeup in the early afternoon.

A couple of months ago I sat here sweltering during our record-setting heat wave. It got up to 105 degrees here in the Seattle suburbs for 3 or 4 days in a row, which is shocking and unheard of (and most homes don’t have A/C as it’s just not necessary). I practically stuck to this chair and could feel the sweat literally rolling down my back as I typed away, hair in a ponytail.
And the picture reflects a lot of this time in the home office…these are random scribblings of ideas/thoughts/topics for this blog. Some have been used, some may get used later and some might just get junked. That’s the fun of blogging!

In what now seems like a flash, the seasons turned. “Suddenly” the shorts, t-shirt and flip flops gave way to old leggings, my favorite Ugg slippers and an old, cotton flannel shirt leftover from 1995. I stopped automatically opening the window every morning as chilly winds started to blow. The gorgeous maple tree outside once again transformed her leaves from rich green to buttery yellow, carmel and orange. Yards and street medians once again got scattered with election signs.

And I got sick of staring at white walls. Boring, insane asylum white, flat-finish painted walls. This is the 2002 procrastination:I planned to paint a whole bunch of the rooms in the house before I moved in, as I had a couple weeks of overlap between this place and the old apartment. Makes sense to paint before all the furniture gets in the way, right? Turns out I had a last-minute business trip that week before I moved, and I literally got home after midnight the night before the move itself. Fast forward seven years, and while I did get a few rooms painted, this one fell off the radar.

So, I braved the chilly autumn winds to keep the window open here for fresh air while painting and have just about finished. I have a nice cranberry color on the wall with the large window, and a sandy tan for the rest. I’m really happy with how it looks and it feels a lot cozier and “richer” in here. The paint finish is a lot creamier than the flat, dull white from before. Now I am realizing I need updated floor lamps, new doors, casings and new closet doors. I’ll need at least one more floor lamp given the darker colors. The “zen” feeling of minimal clutter after clearing the room to get it prepped feels nice. Guess it’s time to chuck a few older books and knickknacks, and maybe get rid of one of the smaller bookcases altogether. Do I really need to hang onto “dress for success” type books from 1991, for example? Don’t think so. College textbooks? Maybe they’re a little sentimental, but college was twenty years ago, so I am ruthless and out they go.
I feel pretty good about things right now. Looking back, the jobless time wasn’t so long after all. I literally blinked my eyes and everything changed. But in the moment it’s an unknown feeling…is this going to go on for six more months or a year? I guess through all of this I’ve learned (again) that I can get through tough situations and come out stronger in the end. And, my identity is NOT based on my job. I’m still the same person I was the day before I received the job offer.
Yesterday while getting ready for work I heard a really great song that touched me…”Hang On,” by Plumb. She was interviewed on our local dance music station, explaining how her song was written as part of a soundtrack for a documentary about Hurricane Katrina, specifically about a couple who literally hung onto a tree for three days before they were rescued. They chose not to evacuate, as they were in denial on how bad it was really going to get. But, they survived. Plumb’s song literally took off after that. Whether it was 3 days or thirty years, looking back it doesn’t seem so long. I know my jobless situation was far less severe than losing everything I own in a hurricane but I identify with it still.
Lyrics:
I’m so stubborn
That’s how I got here
So alone
Feels like forever
I wanna swim away
And breathe the open air
But I feel so afraid
And then I hear you say

Hang on when the water’s rising
Hang on when the waves are crashing
Hang on
Just don’t ever let go

I’m so hungry
How can I stay here?
Starving
For what I hold so dear
Like a hurricane
It takes everything from me
Wake me from this dream

Hang on when the water’s rising
Hang on when the waves are crashing
Hang on
Just don’t ever let go

Hang on when you’re barely breathing
Hang on while your heart’s still beating
Hang on
Just don’t ever let go

Three days, thirty years
So hopeless, doesn’t matter
Don’t say it’s too late
If you blink your eyes
The sun is rising
The sun is rising…

Hang on when the water’s rising
Hang on when the waves are crashing
Hang on
Just don’t ever let go

Hang on when you’re barely breathing
Hang on while your heart’s still beating
Hang on
Just don’t ever let go

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