Family Continues to Decline

May 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm (Housewife Life)

We’re now on our second month of being unemployed, though, not for lack of trying. People have been taking to heart our “Sensitivity Training For Dealing With the Unemployed,” and that’s been nice. We are, though, starting to understand why the first thing people tend to say is about “staying positive,” because that’s something that becomes harder as you go along.

It isn’t JUST the hours spent scouring websites and newspapers and seeing that there aren’t as many jobs out there; the afternoons spent writing and re-writing different versions of your resume and different cover letters and trying to keep track of all that; the mind-numbing time you spend on corporate websites filling out intricate application forms that duplicate everything you just told them on the resume you uploaded; the days waiting for your phone to ring and feeling more worthless with every day that passes without anyone calling.

Right now we’re finding it’s the little stuff that eats you, one bite at a time. Having to admit to our daughter’s dance teacher (at her private school where she goes on scholarship) that buying a dance costume for a 1-time use in a recital is problematic at the moment. Registering our youngest child for Kindergarten and applying for the free lunch program because we qualify now. Going to the doctor and being asked by a receptionist to update your information for the file, and being asked a little too loudly, “Does your husband still work at IBM?” Realizing how disappointed our 5-year-old will be to have to stop going to the “Ninja School” he loves so much. The worst was going to the quarterly psych-evaluation that’s done so that my middle son can continue to receive autism counseling services, and seeing someone write on a page in the file folder, “Family continues to decline.”

I have never been made to question my life choices quite as much as now. I left college the first time to be a musician for several years, and that experience was wonderful and taught me more about life than I think I would have learned in college. I left the second time because I chose to have my child rather than abort her. For 15 to 20 years I have been OK with, even proud of, these choices. Now I am learning that national and regional writing awards, over 10 years of solid, responsible work experience…these things don’t ultimately count as much as having a degree because not having one  gives companies an excuse to pass you by. (Never mind that I know recent college graduates without the skills or experience I have.) Apparently I should be thinking about taking on $30,000 of debt at the time we can least afford to, in order to finish that degree. (While one would think that having no income would grant you plenty of financial aid, they base aid on your most recent 6 months, a point at which we were making way over any aid threshold. So it would all be debt.)

This is all really heavy stuff . But there’s been one other question I feel that needs to be answered right now…what am I not learning from this that I need to be? Because truthfully, that has to be why things are continuing to go this way. Kind of like when during karate class, they make our son hold a certain “balance position” for an extra 30 seconds before giving him his “stripe” he’s earned for the day. What am I not doing well enough, what am I looking at the wrong way? Maybe it isn’t the universe holding out on us, at all. Maybe it’s just that we aren’t standing still long enough to earn our stripes. I’m guessing the best I can do is to keep applying for jobs, keep trying not to take things so personally, and remaining open to whatever it is the universe needs me to learn right now, so that good things can start happening again. So 90 days hence, that phrase, “Family continues to decline” can be replaced with something like “Family continues to Strive,” “Family continues to Care,” “Family continues to Learn,” or better yet, “Family is Headed the Right Direction.”

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