As 2013 draws to a close, I want to touch on my year in review. I spent the bulk of the year as an unemployed person. About halfway through January and February, I decided that being unemployed in a career absolutely did not mean I was unemployed in life. I tried everything, said no to nothing. I attempted to broaden my mind and get in touch with what I can ultimately contribute to this planet and species outside of the workforce.
Mixed results and harsh truths aside, I can honestly say I would NOT trade in my year of exploration for anything.
2013 was also the year my life would forever change as I know it. I became a wife. I struggled with this all year long, not because I was afraid or worried I wasn’t ready (I was), but I wanted to understand what becoming a wife, or simply a married member of society, truly means.
2013 was, more than anything else, the year I became an adult. I’m 34 years old- already quite the adult, you might argue- but I crossed two life changing thresholds over the course of the 2013 and I don’t think I was ever more ready in my life or was more able to cope with what faced me this year. It’s an astounding feeling, being an adult. I wouldn’t say I feel old or even more wise, I just feel, well, capable.
I’m now married and I now have full time employment in a brand new career. I definitely ended 2013 as a slightly different person with a completely new perspective on life. I want 2014 to be a balls-out year, meaning I want to dare myself to go further. I want to find out more about who this new adult person is. I want to continue to enjoy being married and discover who this new wife person is. I want to keep searching and carving out my mission for this life. I want to be a revolutionary.
Here’s a look back at the year 2013 in all its glory.
My search for a new career started with a bang and then ended up with a couple of busts. I have almost never been without a job in my entire working life until my layoff in November 2012 (while welcomed, I was completely unprepared for how long it might take me to find a new one) and I quickly realized that what had served me well in the past was not going to serve me at all in the current job market. The competition alone astounded me. It soon dawned on me that without the right set of skills and the right amount of job experience, finding a career outside of what I was already familiar with might be next to impossible. What did I want to do? I knew what I didn’t want: I didn’t want to end up in another dead-end career where I felt stuck and unfulfilled after a certain period of time. I wanted to do work that thrilled me, challenged me, and dared me. I started off 2013 in high hopes and spirits that my “perfect job” was out there waiting for me.
Probably my most dire and depressed months. I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite so desolate and unskilled. I thought I had a great résumé and a lot to offer. That’s just it: so did many, MANY other people. These were the humbling months, but also the months where I found I was very useful in other areas. I became a helpmate for friends in need, driving people to doctors visits, babysitting kids. I saw several friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. I made myself available to anyone and everyone who might need assistance- paying, great, but not necessary. I meditated. I prayed. I began to rediscover and understand that my job (or lack thereof) in no way defined me- I defined me. And there was no better time to start.
When I first started this blog back in April of 2013, I wasn’t sure what my focus would be or what I would even want to write about, but I knew I had thoughts and I knew I had to write them down and share. Somehow, this blog became almost entirely devoted to books and reading. Not a bad thing, indeed! Reading consumed me in 2013, partly because I found myself with lots of time on my hands. I have very fond memories of sitting in my back yard with a cup of coffee, reading a lovely new book and listening to birds whistle and squawk while the trees rustled in the gentle wind. These were good days. I have never felt more part of the literary community- reading and writing- than ever during 2013. I became active in my book club. I joined a 2013 reading challenge. I joined online forums where I could write my rants and raves on pop culture to my heart’s content. I even published a few pieces in the international webzine The Paperbook Collective (view back issues here). If 2013 is remembered for anything, I will fondly recollect this time in my life as the moment I rediscovered my love of words. I also found my voice. It’s still a work in progress, but I enjoy writing and the more I practice doing it the closer I am to discovering how I can contribute to this wild and wacky literate world.
Moving into 2014 I still want to keep my options open and maintain this blog as a completely blank canvas. Though I imagine I will still continue to write about reading and books, I don’t want to narrow my focus just yet.
May 2013 will be the month I rediscovered my love of theatre. I collaborated with one of my friends from acting class and became a “Directrice du Marketing” for her independent play. The play combined my two favorite loves: France and theatre and I was immediately besotted with the project. I had never campaigned via social media before, never really witnessed what it takes to put up a play from the ground up, but I loved every minute of it and learned so much. I think I also saw more live theatre in this month than I had in years. Such a wonderful month!
The exploratory months. I prepped for the wedding, I continued to look for a job, I freelanced as a consultant, I helped my friend with her September theatre workshop. These three months were great months for me to explore what might be possible outside of the traditional 9-5 job. I read A LOT. I bonded with my soon-to-be husband who became such a pillar of support during my long career hiatus. I never loved him more.
I became a wife! September was a blur of last minute wedding activity, but October was tumultuous. I feared I would be as clueless on my wedding day as to what the day really would mean as I had been for most of the year. And then the day came and I suddenly figured it all out. I had a partner for life, in all the truest sense of the word. We became eternal helpmates for each other. We weathered the bad stuff, got through it, and still loved each other. He was patient and kind, supportive and shrewd all throughout my unemployment period. I knew I would do the same for him when the time came (hopefully never). What’s next? Who knows! The delightful surprise about marriage is that from day one it’s an adventure, even if you have been together for a long time.
September through October also became a period of my life where I fought hard and strong for a job I truly wanted. It was a long process, and I knew that this time I had to give it my everything. Through several interviews and conversations I discovered some strengths I didn’t even know I had. I felt good about what I have accomplished so far and knew that I could give so much more.
Have to be honest, I don’t remember much about November (and it was last month!). We got back from the honeymoon and I was in the final interview stages with my new job. I had a brilliant idea that I could occupy my days by trying something new every day. I think I made it about a week, week and a half. I learned how to code from Codeacademy.com and I faithfully kept a journal of new word-of-the-day vocab from Oxford dictionary. I even tried to broaden my French vocabulary. I read non-fiction books, “The Drunken Botanist” and “Great Tales from English History”, in my attempts to rev up for the end of the year and learn something new. Looking back, this isn’t a bad way to stay busy.
I reentered the workforce in a position and job I wanted. It’s a brand new industry for me filled with great people. I spent my first Christmas with my new husband. I more or less finished my 2013 reading challenge. I loved, I laughed, I took a deep breath in and a brave step forward.
I can’t wait to see what the New Year brings.