Friday, December 31, 2010

Reality Check

This may come as a surprise, but I've been a little down the last couple of weeks. It seems that the trials just keep cropping up and just when I think the worst is over, something else happens. I shouldn't really complain too much because things could be a lot worse and I know that.

I just gave my 30 days notice at my apartment. I purposely did it before midnight because I wanted to be able to say that I left as much garbage in 2010 as I could. Whether it'll all stay there, instead of following me for at least the near future, no one knows at this point.

I never really understood why people would complain about moving home or why some might be hesitant to do it. I happen to love my parents and always thought "I'd just love to live at home again!" But I'm finding out actually having to do that really messes with your head. For no reason at all, it makes you feel like a big fat failure, even when the circumstances are beyond your control. Let me be clear, no one has even come close to saying the words "You're moving home?! What a loser!" Somewhere deep inside my head, though, those words are lurking.

I'm not completely set on it quite yet. I gave notice so that, if I don't have a job by the end of January, I won't be paying rent and throwing away half of my severance pay when I may or may not have a new job lined up in The City Beautiful. If an opportunity should come my way in the next month, I do have the option of taking back my notice and, as long as my unit isn't already rented, staying. That would obviously be the easiest option. Who likes moving? Not me. And the thought of boxing up all of my belongings is not even close to appealing. It will give me a chance to clean out, though.

One thing that I have realized (and kind of hate to admit) is that exercise of some form does make you feel better. I've tried to get myself back on track with my training since the marathon is in eight days. I wasn't excited about running with everything else going on, but I decided to suck it up and get outside. I'm glad I did because I had a decent run yesterday and feel like I might be getting the bug back. The true test will be what happens after the actual race. I want to keep it up, but I know it's going to take real discipline. One thing is for sure: if I'm living at home, I will be able to count on my dad asking me every single day "Did you run today?" The only way to avoid that will be to beat him to the punch by telling him "I already ran today." before he asks. Not having to hear that question might be incentive enough to get me outside. MIGHT be.

On that note, I need to go get myself in bed. I'm running seven miles in the morning. That's a start, right?

Monday, December 27, 2010


I always try to be sort of careful when I post because I don't want to offend my "audience," but today I feel like no one ever checks this, so I'm not going to hold back.

My position in life is really starting to get to me. I never thought that, at 28, I'd be five years in to my career and find that the company I work for is shutting down and I'm (soon to be) unemployed. The good thing is that I spent the first five years of my career at the same company, so my severance package reflects that. I just can't let myself get to the point of thinking "I'll be getting the same paycheck through the month of March, so I have time to find another job. And if I don't find another job, I can always collect unemployment." No. Unemployment is the very last thing I want to collect. I know it's there to help when you hit a rough patch, but I'd just rather not even go there. To me, it sounds like a trap. And the amount I'd collect wouldn't even cover my rent.

The smart (and obvious) thing for me to do would be to find a job and start quickly. That way, I'd be earning a paycheck and still collecting my severance, which I would just sock away. At least some of it, anyway. Not that I plan on going on some shoe shopping spree or anything, but the likelihood of me staying in Orlando for much longer is faily low. Some of those monies will be spent on relocation unless I find a job somewhere that will defray my moving costs. That would be fantastic.

Back to the Orlando thing. I just haven't felt a strong pull to stay there. I have enjoyed my time there, but I don't feel like there is too much holding me there. Sure, I have a handful of great friends that I've made and will stay close with there, but I know that we'll be friends whether I live in the same city or not, so I'm not factoring that in. For the longest time, I felt like Orlando was the heart of hospitality jobs and that I could easily stay in or around the area and enjoy a fantastic career. Now I'm beginning to realize that there are a whole host of jobs that I could do that somehow tie in to my degree that aren't hospitality-specific. I guess I'm finally getting out of that hospitality = hotels and restaurants mentality. What the heck took me so long?

Don't get me wrong, I don't regret getting my degree in hospitality for a second. I'd do it over again without question. I just don't think I realized, while I was in school, that I wouldn't really want a job that required me to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It wasn't until I settled in to my (mostly) Monday through Friday, 8:30 to 5:30 job that that's really where I saw myself all along. Yes, I'm comfortable with having to work over the weekends periodically and having to work later than 5:30 when I need to, but consistency is what I crave. I want to be able to make commitments outside of work and keep them. I want to know that I can and will go to church every Sunday. So instead of littering International Drive with my resume and taking the first decent offer from a big name hotel chain, I'm being a little more selective and perhaps open-minded to which jobs I'm applying for.

It's almost funny how this has all affected me. I've been somewhat hesitant to tell people the after January I won't have a job because it feels awkward, but then I'm realizing that the only way to get people's help is to let them know. So I have told people that I've felt either needed to know or would be supportive and maybe even give me a lead or two. When I've had these conversations, I tend to laugh about it. Not because it's really all that funny, but that's just what happens. Maybe I'm just trying to lighten the mood because it is kind of a bomb to drop on someone. But there have certainly been those moments where I fall apart, where my brain just won't shut off and the what-in-the-world-is-happening-to-me thoughts won't stop. And then I crumble. And then I get mad because I'd finally gotten to a point where, for several months, I didn't shed a single tear and now I'm back to being that crybaby again. Only this time, instead of not caring who sees me because I can't think about anything but my own pain knowing that I was just a walking ball of raw nerves, I am overly conscious and feel weak for not being better able to suck it up and deal. You couldn't pay me enough money to go back in time to a year ago, but I'm having a hard time seeing how this is much better.

My dad keeps telling me how it's the refiner's fire and that all of these things that I'm going through will help me. I know that he's right, but it doesn't make it any easier. I don't discount the strides I've made over the last year at all. I know that I'm headed in the right direction, which is really the most important thing. Recently, I had some conversations with my parents and others regarding a personal step I'm looking to take. I will be waiting until my brother gets home, but I've had the thought that maybe these trials are to help further prepare me to appreciate what's to come and to make it all the better. I think it will and none of this will take me off course. And I'm certain that all of this is happening for a reason. I have to believe that or there'd be no point in enduring any of it. My impatient personality struggles, though, because I want to know NOW what the reason is and how it's all supposed to work out. Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for the lightbulb to go off about some other things that have happened, so I don't think there's going to be a quick, easy answer to this either.

Practice patience. So much easier said than done.

Monday, December 20, 2010

A Sharp Left Turn

I seem to remember a lot of people being ready for 2009 to be over at the end of last year. I wasn't entirely sure what those people were really talking about, but I'm beginning to feel the same way about 2010. I'm just ready to kiss it good-bye and move on to 2011.

There have certainly been good things that have happened over the last 12 months, but the last month has brought on more stress and worry than I bargained for. In my last post, I mentioned that I'd gotten a promotion recently, but that several of my co-workers were let go. Less than two weeks after that took place, the remaining employees were told that the entire office is closing.

Merry Christmas, right? Yeah.

I completely understand that things happen for a reason and I'm interested to see what the future holds, but it's not the most convenient position to be in. I will start to think about the good things that will come from this like being able to try something new, meet new people, learn new things, etc. Then I end up thinking about the not-so-great things like not knowing anyone, not knowing what I'm doing, and starting allllllllll over again.

I really don't even know where to begin. I doesn't exactly feel quite real yet. Maybe it will after tomorrow, but who knows. I need to buckle down and start looking for a new job, but I've had this week scheduled as vacation for months and want to actually take a break. So currently, I'm rebelling against the job hunt. I think I will work on my resume a bit tomorrow.

I've got a couple of ideas of where to go from here, but I'm trying not to make any knee-jerk reactions. Being reactive was one of those traits that I tried hard not to pick up over the last five years.

So if you're reading this and happen to know of any jobs that someone with a bachelor's degree in hospitality management could handle, I'm available!

By the way, the ratio of laughing to tears in my life is frighteningly unnatural. I feel like I shouldn't I shouldn't be laughing about this as much as I have. Shock, perhaps?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Am I?

I think I might be getting close to calling myself a runner. I didn't set out to be one when I signed up to run the half marathon, but I sort of hoped I might end up that way. I think it might be happening.

It's been 10 days since my last run and I miss it. I mean, I really miss it. When I look out the window of the
hotel I've been staying in since last Wednesday and see people running, I get jealous. Really jealous. My running shoes have been at the bottom of my back, along with my other workout clothes, since I got here and I'm sad that I haven't seen them since last Tuesday night. I would love nothing more than to be able to get outside and get in a good four miles or so. My next run will be no later than Monday.

I think I've already decided, even before the race, that I will be signing up for another half marathon after this one. I don't know when or where it'll be, but I want the opportunity to train the right way (the OCD way that I wanted to from the start, following the schedule to the letter) and to see how well I do. My job hasn't exactly allowed me to do that this time, which is okay, but I want to give it a real shot.

It's amazing how this training has affected me. I love going for a run after work because it clears my head. I love having sore muscles every day because it means I pushed my body a little further than I thought it could go. I love getting dressed and not "feeling fat" every day. I can't say that I feel "skinny," but I do feel comfortable. Or I did until my workouts took a backseat to my job. Right now, my mind is all over the place, I'm not sleeping well, and I feel like a roly poly.

Some changes have happened at work over the last couple of months. I got a promotion last month, but that was overshadowed by several of my co-workers being let go due to a drop in business. A couple of them I consider to be really good friends of mine. I love them and look up to them and know that there's a reason for all of this, but it sucks. It really sucks.

I could use a good run in my life. Oh, and temperatures in the 70s.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Latest

Today ended week seven of my training for the half marathon. I have a schedule that I've been following, though I haven't been able to follow it to the letter like I would have liked to. Occassionally things have gotten in the way, like having to work late or travel or just plain not feeling like running, but I feel like I'm doing pretty well.

I've been trying to push myself every time I run, but sometimes it feels impossible to keep going. I kept hearing that eventually I will "level off" and I'll feel like I can just keep running even if I don't want to or don't think I can. Today I finally experienced it. The last time I really did any decent running was last weekend, but today I knew that I had to get out and run. Not only did I have to just get out and do it, but I had to do the seven miles that were on the schedule. No matter how cold it was or how early on a Saturday morning, I needed to get this done.

I was up earlier this morning than I get up for work every day. It was cold (yes, in Florida) and I wished that I could crawl back in my warm bed. At the same time, though, I wanted to run. I stretched and started out walking, but then picked up the pace. At the end of the first mile, I was like "That was easy. I'm ready to go again." So I took a little walking break and then started running again. At the end of mile three, I still felt great and wanted to keep going. Mile four was decent, but at the end, my legs started feeling it, but I didn't care. I was finishing all seven miles.

I finally did. An hour and forty minutes after I started, I was finished. I was already sore and knew that I would be for a while, but it didn't matter. In fact, I've kind of gotten used to being sore. It's a little strange when I don't have some ache somewhere. The little pains don't bother me, but I don't know if I'll ever get used to feeling like like my legs are going to detatch from my body at the hip.

The next couple of weeks are going to be tricky. I have a big meeting and am not sure that I'll be able to run or do any sort of working out. I am absolutely taking my running shoes with me, but actually getting outside for a run or getting to the gym could prove to be quite a challenge. It makes me a little nervous because the marathon is in five weeks and I don't want to slack off. Hopefully I'll be okay.

One way or the other, I'm running it. And I have every intention of crossing the finish line on my own. If not... Well, that's just not an option.