Friday, June 6, 2014

June 1974, June 2014 - Brave New World



Forty years ago I graduated from high school. I was set free to go out into the world and shape myself.


Four days ago I was laid off from my job. Today's my last day.

I had a completely different post prepared to mark my graduation anniversary, talking about regrets and the road not taken. There was also a bit of a rant about my job and being stuck in a 40-hour-a-week prison. It wasn't a bad job, but after eight years the routine and constraints were wearing me down - a lot. And don't get me started on the colleagues that, as I've said before, had the social skills of a spatula.

When I was told I was laid off, I didn't want to believe it. It seemed too good to be true! Then, of course, worry, anxiety, fear. My head is spinning thinking of the ramifications for medical insurance (yeah, the US system sucks) and pensions. We won't be destitute - for a while - but I can't assume I can afford to buy things. I do have to find work, and I'll be nervous starting something new. And there are some people that I'll miss seeing every day.

But I'm cautiously euphoric - I have a chance to do something better!


I may have to keep working past retirement age, but I want to enjoy what I do. Ideas are flying, and I'm going to have some time to breathe and think and sew and glue things and write and sleep in and see where it all takes me.

It's a brave new world!

Val

24 comments:

  1. Cautious euphoria - that seems a good reaction to have, Val! I don't quite know whether to commiserate or congratulate you. So I will say - good for you for seeing this as an opportunity to do something better, that seems a positive and helpful approach to take. Thinking, sewing, gluing, writing, these are also helpful!
    Love the 1974 photo. Funny, I'm thinking a lot about alternative routes lately too. We are where we are - but who knows where we're going in the future? xxx

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  2. It's a brave new Val! I'm excited for you to explore new space and time. I hope you can take some days to just enjoy and breath. And let the ideas and inspiration come without force or worry.

    Did I tell you the weekend after you were here Russ told me he wanted to try a place in Georgetown for brunch cause he heard some people talking about it. So there we went and when we walked in I realized it was Brass Tacks, the exact place you guys ate! The food was delish too.

    Hope you have a nice last day at work Val.

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  3. Well, congratulations on getting out of a not-making-you-happy job situation (even though it's hard not to do it on your own terms!). I love that old photo of you - it shows the beautiful woman you evolved into.

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  4. It is indeed a brave new world! I know where you're coming from with having to work past retirement age. But we do what we must do; and By Gum! We enjoy ourselves as much as possible along the way.

    Good luck with your bright new future!

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  5. So that makes you a '70s grad, I had that same long, straight brown hair parted down the middle.

    I launched out of my job just prior to layoff, took a huge pay cut to work in the public sector. Bonuses are benes and security, downside is slow work flow and low pay. But again, the security factor is huge.

    Good luck to you Val. Feel free to email me @ tvonzalez at gmail.com

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  6. I tell my students all the time that statistics show people will have at least 5 different careers in their lifetime anymore, given the terrifically lightning-fast pace of living nowadays. That's CAREERS, not jobs. So I salute you, my friend, as you boldly embark on a new chapter of your life. Go forth and be brilliant!

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  7. Oh, I'm so happy for you Val! This REALLY is the universe answering! You deserve happiness 24/7, and moving onward from your current work is a hugely positive step! And yes, I know it is scary, but I think you do really want this. Mandatory retirement at 65? Bah! That was designed back in the day when they didn't expect people to live past 60. Things have changed dramatically in the world, and, when you find that career that you're passionate about, working well into one's senior years will be ever so much more rewarding than being stuck in a job that doesn't inspire. The very best of luck and good fortune to you Val! xo

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  8. This is such exciting and scary news--- those two emotions often feel exactly the same to me!! I can't wait to find out what you're going to do :)

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  9. Happy scary congratulations, Val. There are so many incredible opportunities just waiting for you. I completely agree with Sue about the retirement age thing. When you do something you love, you don't want to quit. I hope with all my heart that you find something that makes you happy to go to "work" every day. I'm going to be thinking of a soundtrack to go with that groovy photo all day. You look the same - except the hair is shorter and lighter. The sharp wit in your expression hasn't changed a bit.

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  10. You know, sometimes the universe sort of conspires to get us going where we need to. I'm sure you'll thrive and find a better situation for yourself. You look so pretty in both pictures!

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  11. So, I started a new blog at ArtfulCloset.blogspot.com
    I tried hard to use one of your clever names but landed here instead!

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  12. oh yes, your brave new world sounds like a ton of opportunities and challenges!
    I've laughed a lot about your workmates having the social skills of a spatula, ;DD
    and obviously, wish you luck and fun!
    besos

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  13. Oh Val, you were gorgeous then and you are now! I am excited for you because I really believe that these changes can take us to a whole better place. You are smart, sensible, talented and creative so I know you will find your way and I am excited for you that you now have this chance to find something better. I am also excited for you thinking of the days ahead.
    xoxoxo

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  14. A new adventure ahead - I feel sure you're going to bloom in whatever place you choose to go next. Windows will open, and you'll sail though them. Keep us in the loop, please! xox

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  15. Val, I won't say much about the practical side of things as I don't really understand much of it, but on the freedom to choose what you want to do next, I would like to congratulate you. I've been in a similar situation years ago and that's how it felt to me too. I wasn't brave enough to just quit the job which became boring to me, so when I was laid off due to a changed economical situation in my country and in the company... it was both a relief and a bit scary too. When I look back at it, I understand that it encouraged me to try completely new things which brought me where I am now eventually. And I really like it where I am now in life. Not that I plan to stop here. Well maybe just for a little while, to rest and get my focus refined. I am trying to say that I see it is a good thing. You are intelligent and talented in so many different ways. Freedom is something most people are afraid of as predictable life is easier in many ways, practical ways for sure. But for such creative souls such as you, freedom is something to crave for. Now you have it. It's a chance of a great new beginning. And I am really happy for you! Have a good fun!! Sincerely, Natalia

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  16. Having just come through a time of leanness and insecurity, I can certainly feel for you. I also know how soul-sucking certain jobs can be. My answer is to consume less (embracing the second hand fashion and thriftiness) and be on the alert for jobs I can get that I get some satisfaction from. I am relying heavily on my spouse here but he is quite happy in his new job and our new location is very exciting. Yes, we will probably work beyond retirement age but we may more satisfied with our work. Good Luck, Val.

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  17. I agree with Sue and Melanie...if you are doing what you love you never a work a day in your life, and you never want to quit. In fact they say people age better if they don't give up working.

    I'm so happy you are looking at this as a great opportunity to change your life for the better.

    I can't wait to see where this will take you.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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  18. Thought I'd stop by and see what is up with you Val. Boy a lot! Maybe freedom is just the thing for you right now. You seem so creative and this job didn't seem like a great fit for you. You will figure it out. I buy health insurance and have for many years. We just went in to an insurance agent and reduced our cost quite a bit with her help.

    Good luck to you with this challenge. Hope you enjoy freedom for a while without too much worry.

    blue hue wonderland

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  19. Gosh. I take a wee little break from blog reading and Val's universe does a somersault! First of all, your comments always totally crack me up and should inspire me to post more often just so I can see what La Muse has to say. You are without a doubt on your way to something amazing. Yeah, it's scary out there. I repeat. It Is Scary Out There but I just KNOW that you will rise to the top. The cream always does. And besides, anyone who had the exact same taste in octagonal frames at exactly the same time in history is destined for great things. Yep, I had those glasses except mine weren't cool and tinted like yours. XXXXXXOOOOO

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  20. I too graduated on June 6, 1974. Then the future was wide open. And now you get to relive that feeling of excitement and trepidation. I envy you, I too am stuck in a work force that doesnt have the same values as me, but the universe has taken the decision out of your hands. Yes things are going to change, but that is the fun of living. Use this time to find what makes you happy and you wont care how long you have to wait for retirement. Good Luck.

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  21. "I'm cautiously euphoric"- a nice phrase that. Good luck with it- it seems like a great opportunity so go and grab it with both hands! NIIIIICE top by the way!x

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  22. Finding myself in the same situation at present, finishing up at the end of the month. Yes it is a little scary, having no real clue which way to go, a lot of soul searching is involved but doing something you hate is no answer either. May the universe be kind and a new , more Val challege emerge soon.

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  23. You can definitely see the woman you are going to be come in the face of that teenager! I am happy for the opportunity the layoff is presenting to you, but also understand the stress of lost income. Sometimes the universe makes decisions for us that we are too afraid to make for ourselves, and as others have said, I am certain there are wonderful opportunities out there for you. I'm looking forward to seeing where life takes you!

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  24. When a window closes, doors open? Congrats on this wonderful opportunity to fine tune your life and living to resonate more with your true self and bliss. Wishing you abundance, security and fulfillment in your endeavors! xo.

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