Unemployed

You know how I’ve mentioned (over and over) how much I loved my job as a radio journalist?

Well, it wasn’t perfect. In fact, I really regretted taking the job the first few months in. The “beat” didn’t come naturally to me.  I struggled going from having an in-person editor and team to working remotely. I hated how much Paul and I had to rely on daycare and after-school care. So much about it felt wrong, especially compared to how much I loved my previous part-time job.

Several months after I started the job, I began to seriously think about quitting. Then I had a conversation with some friends. One friend was battling similar feelings of unhappiness but her situation was less in her control than mine was… my advice to her was to try to find the things about her current life she’d miss when this season is over.

It occurred to me to apply that to my own life. And it made ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

I suppose it’s just another way of focusing on gratitude, but dude, it really worked. Instead of focusing on the things about my life that frustrated me, I seized on to the idea that nothing lasts forever — so I might as well fully embrace the aspects (big and small!) of my life that I did love.  Like

  • my 35-minute bus commute — perfect opportunity to listen to my favorite podcasts and have my first sips of coffee.
  • the ritual of making a mug of coffee with my Aeropress in the peace and quiet of the morning before everyone else arrived in the office
  • the thrill of brainstorming a new project
  • the satisfaction of an interview well done
  • believe it or not, committee meetings
  • the novelty of traveling (and staying in hotels by myself) during work trips
  • having a workspace all to myself
  • the challenge of diving deep into a topic I know nothing about
  • getting to meet all sorts of people
  • having the agency to ask strangers questions

You know what? It took just a couple of weeks of this change in attitude before I honestly felt like I didn’t only tolerate, but actually loved my job.

With this in mind, I’ve been surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed not working. I was so dreading quitting, I forgot how wonderful it feels to have a day stretch out before you with no plans, no nerve-wracking interviews on the horizon. I love the relief of no deadlines, of no longer having to constantly feel productive.

I think the beauty of this in-between time is I know it won’t last, either. So I’m enjoying the things I love about staying at home, not working, before this season will also pass.

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Changes

The past two weeks have been CRAZY. I finished up at work (I’m now officially unemployed for a month!), my mom visited (and left 😦 ), I packed up dozens of boxes, the ENTIRE family got strep. (Public service announcement: the rapid-result strep tests are purportedly 92% accurate. Well, three of us initially tested negative but lab results days later came back POSITIVE. BLARGH.)

I’m exhausted just thinking about how exhausting it’s been.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve felt THIS sick — today is the first day I’ve felt somewhat functional since last Friday and I’m STILL hopped up on ibuprofen and I STILL can’t breathe through my nose.

The plus-side to all the craziness is I haven’t really had a minute to dwell on how sad I am to quit my job.

I loved my job. It wasn’t perfect, for sure, nor was my specific job/beat something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. But I really enjoyed the challenges of being a radio reporter, I liked my colleagues, and I felt like I’d been making great strides — the best was yet to come.

So it was really hard to decide to quit, uproot, and move the family overseas.

But I know it’s the right decision. Most people uproot for better job opportunities, but that’s not what we’re doing. While I am excited to be a teacher, we’re moving because we want something different for our family. Paul and I looked into our future and didn’t like the idea of endlessly working 8 – 5+ jobs, kids in various after-school and summer programs, relationships and service always taking the back burner. We both loved our jobs but we feel like the American work culture just doesn’t meld well with our values. We want to be somewhere where relationships and community are a priority, where our schedules match the kids’, where we can plug in and actively serve others instead of just writing checks.

With that in mind, our move to Taiwan seems like a dream! We know it won’t be easy (it hasn’t been). But we feel a lot of peace about our decision and we’re so, so excited.

Commute

We are a one-car family. Long story short: it’s been fine for years, but now that the kids are in different schools and I work full time, we’ve had to experiment with different transportation options.

I started taking the bus 2-3x/week about a month ago. At first, I was horrified that our small town’s lacking bus schedule means it takes 38 minutes to travel the 3.3. miles to work. But you know what? I love taking the bus.

I bring a thermos of coffee and queue up a podcast (or a book). The 38 minutes (including a 5 minute transfer) is long enough to sit back and relax but not long enough to get bored.

(Yes, I’m the person who sneakily/awkwardly takes pictures during my bus ride.)