Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Hanging On

Wow, it has been a looong time since my last post. I swore I wouldn't let this happen with this new blog, but so it is. Things have been alright here; I've had a number of (mis)adventures with my job search, and I'm currently waiting to hear back about an interview I had last week (praying hard!).

Anyway, I read a cool passage of a book I'm currently going through with my Bible study group, and thought I'd reflect on it a bit here.  The book is Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli.  In this passage, he recalls a story about a woman on holiday on one of the barrier islands of South Carolina, at a time of year when loggerhead turtles were laying their eggs.

One morning the woman came across the tracks of a female turtle going in the wrong direction, as she had apparently lost her sense of direction and had wandered into the hot dunes, where she would certainly die without help. The woman notified a park ranger, who arrived on the scene in a jeep. The next scene sounds rather alarming, as the ranger
"flipped the turtle over, wrapped chains around her front legs, and hooked the chains to the trailer hitch on the jeep.  Then he drove off, dragging her through the sand so fast her mouth filled with sand and her head bent back as if it would break.  At the edge of the ocean, he unhooked her and flipped her right side up."  
The turtle gradually began to move, and eventually pushed herself off into the ocean.

Yaconelli quotes the woman's reaction:
"Watching her swim slowly away and remembering her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noticed that sometimes it is hard to tell whether you are being killed or being saved by the hands that turn your life upside down."

The author argues that the fear that this turtle experienced was "life-saving fear" , the kind that comes when we offer our lives to Jesus. Her only choice was to hang on. Taking this passage out of its religious context for a moment, I began to think back on a lot of the crap I've experienced in the past few years, and I wonder if the pain and discomfort I may experience in the present is me on a journey toward something better.  As I've learned over and over, painful experiences are a part of growth, and I often come out of them all the wiser, kinder, etc. Maybe, like the turtle, I got going in the wrong direction, and it required a difficult transition to get me turned around. It's hard to say exactly what will be the result of this journey I'm currently on, but I know the One whom I've put my trust in, and try to hope that sometime down the line things will fall into place.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Today was not the best of days.  Here's a rundown, since I'm lazy tonight:

  • Shitty health insurance: my ONE prescription is considered a preexisting condition, so now it's going to run me about $115 a month. I either need to get a job really soon (one with health benefits, obviously), or consider trying to wean myself off the medication. Which brings me to...
  • I've put in about 50 or so job applications in the last 5 weeks, and no luck so far.
  • Life is getting extremely monotonous very quickly. 
  • Despite my rut, I can't get myself to pursue any of my interests. The majority of my energy goes into job applications most days.
  • I think I'm giving up on the Happiness Project. I wasn't doing that poorly achieving my goals, but I just don't find myself having the motivation to come up with new goals for each month.
  • Other personal things going on with me, and those I care about, which weigh on my mind.
I guess it's just hard to accept my powerlessness in these situations. I can only do so much, and I have to stop second-guessing myself. I don't always have the perfect words to say to someone in pain, and that's okay. I have to be patient, and take each day at a time. I can't let myself get overwhelmed with each obstacle.
Well, I may elaborate more on my thoughts later, but for now I'm off. Good night, everyone.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Happiness Project

Inspired by a friend of mine, I have started my own Happiness Project. The Happiness Project is a book/idea by Gretchen Rubin, and (as far as I can tell) is more or less a way of creating resolutions and attempting to complete goals in the effort to improve one's happiness.  The book, which I'm about halfway through, doesn't really give one a how-to (at least not yet) explaining how to go about creating one's own Happiness Project.  Regardless, I hopped on over to her website and created my own toolbox and personal resolutions. I've sort of taken the same approach as Rubin, in more or less focusing on one area of life per month (e.g. family relations, creativity, etc). As a recently graduated, unemployed, unmarried, childless, single young woman, however, I could not totally relate to her experiences as described in the book. I also found that I have goals which, while they may contribute to happiness in the long run, are more concerned with my overall wellbeing, in terms of physical, spiritual, and financial health.  I also focus on more than one area of my life per month, at least thus far, as I have a lot of time on my hands right now, and my resolutions thus far are not that time consuming. 

For the month of January, I resolved to work on "career development" (aka getting a job) by aiming to look for/apply for jobs at least 2 hours a day Monday through Friday. I have followed this resolution pretty well for the past two weeks. I don't necessarily time myself, but I figure if I've spent a substantial part of my afternoon or morning looking for jobs and have put in at least one or two applications, it's been a productive day.  I started this process a few weeks ago, and have put in over a dozen applications so far. No responses yet, but I remain hopeful.

My second resolution has been a bit iffy so far. I resolved to spend at least 30 minutes a day doing some form of writing (not related to job applications). This could be anything from writing about my day, free-writing, blogging, or actively doing some fiction writing. I've not done so well on this goal: I tend to either blow it off, or I don't write for as often as I should.  A lot of times I end up staring at my computer screen, unable to jump in and do anything. I've started revamping my NaNoWriMo plot ideas and coming up with a tentative outline/brainstorming list. From there I have rewritten a rough introduction, and figure that I can jump around in my outline based on my ideas and motivation. Outlines have not worked real well for me in the past when it comes to creative writing, but I'm hoping that maybe now it will.  I have to continue to push myself to follow my goal of doing this daily; one great personal commandment I've stumbled across is that "waiting for perfect conditions means you will never get anything done" (or something to that effect). Sometimes I'm going to just have to push myself to produce something, even if it's painful, even if it's terrible.

I've been giving some thought to what other resolutions I want to make; I figure I'll add a few come February. I find that all my goals are somewhat cliche, like "exercising more" or stuff of that nature.  I WOULD like to get back into an exercise regimen; I have gotten lax on that since finishing school. Improving my spirituality might be another goal. How? I've thought about studying other religions or forms of spirituality, creating a prayer schedule or goal for each week, pursuing more opportunities within my church, etc. I've just felt spiritually "dry" lately.  One would think that after having so many things go well for me as of late, that I would be on my knees thanking God and feeling so blessed. Instead, I've felt sort of...."meh." Perhaps I attribute more of my improvements to my own efforts.  This may not be such a bad thing after all, as a number of people in my past have mentioned to me my tendency to sell myself short. I think I'm becoming a little bitter too, struggling with personal doubts and all the Christian assholes I see in the media opposing basic human rights. It's become really exhausting to deal with, and I've gotten to the point where I don't know exactly where to go, or what to do. Turning to the Bible doesn't always provide any insight. I try to avoid taking scripture out of context, or treating it as a self-help text (which is something I think I've been guilty of in the past). Yet despite all of this, I feel the need to hold on, and avoid making any rash decisions. I'm sure my frame of mind is affected by my present state of near-constant boredom and repetition. The development of new hobbies or activities might have to be placed on my agenda as well.

What about you all? What resolutions or goals are you working on, and how are you progressing?