Doldrums and Dragontails

So here we are, February 3rd and we find ourselves drifting forward – seeking to accept what we can’t control and to find ways to direct our energy into those things we can.  The struggle is real!  Certainly week by week, and often day by day, my mood rises & falls as we navigating this strange time.   The week of the 22nd was – thus far – the all time low of just complete doldrum-based depression.  No movement on our Alexandria house despite the decision to “improve” the price, and maddeningly slow progress on the seemingly short list of “to dos” to finish up the process on the Saratoga house.  While it is easy to blame the external things (aka real estate transactions) for my angst, I know it’s plain to all that my malaise was/is more rooted in the fundamentally unsettled state of affairs that has this girl-who-loves-a-plan (and a timeline and a goal) in a full blown funk.

The work situation is weird, by design, but inevitably awkward. It’s easy to lash out at those closest to us, so regrettably that’s what I guess was happening when I had my complete emotional meltdown at the office – uttering such unfortunate things as “I’m miserable here”, which are rather hard to put back in the bottle. Ugh.  Add to that a backdrop of day-long ugly crying, it was a redletter day of YUCK.  We are basically working with the understanding that my full-time role at MAVA will be done on Feb 28th, but we’re still not telling that to anyone – in the office, in our community, or even in my communication with all the people I’m working with in Saratoga on our new house. Nor do we have any clear outline of what the structure of my next role will be – and heaven forbid we actually talk about any of this or make a plan for transition.  The strain of that subterfuge is wearing me out. I’m far too much of a heart-on-my-sleeve type to manage this kind of complex coverup without some obvious cracking around the edges.

Meanwhile, my anxiety about what I’ll actually do with myself career-wise as of March 4th is pretty tremendous too.  My most coherent, but mostly unheard/unacknowledged, comment in the midst of my work meltdown was that by staying at MAVA these last two months (Jan & Feb) instead of moving on as I’d originally planned, may be a decision I acutely regret come March when my job search is barely out of Park when I need to be cruising along into a new gig kind of instantly.   It’s certainly no use critiquing this strategy now, but it is definitely not the well-planned, properly executed version of this transition that I’ve been telling to all those who are concerned about our decision to do this.  My working is a very key piece of this puzzle and, as as of today, I’m totally behind the 8 ball. Fun.

So, what to do?  Well, I have to say that I think I sort of had to wallow a little and let some tears out about this before I could move forward. It’s always a process for me, and I guess a little self-pity really does this body good sometimes. At least the tears release some of the pain, like squeezing the dirty water out of a dishtowel (yes, that’s my analogy of me as a dishtowel, pretty eh?).

Whether it was the tears, the yoga on Saturday AM, the increasing pace of action on the new house (tree & clear to close process), the distraction of work and other things (Anne’s bday party, worries about Dad)… and perhaps the power of the little red clay balls and the benefits of a scrub- within-an-inch-of-your-life by the funny & fierce ladies at Spa World, I made myself turn the corner last weekend.  Most of all I think the key was in finding things I could do, especially related to finding a new job that I will feel passionate and excited about, rather than focusing on how stuck and trapped I feel I am in a job where I am truly a short-timer and where I’m honestly just really, truly “done”. My heart is not in my work, and as someone who puts their full heart into their job, it’s a really an uncomfortable place to be. So – time to look up, raise my gaze and start seeking the next thing!

On Saturday (1/27) I dedicated myself to sending in at least one job application.  Sounded so easy, with all the links I’d saved in my LinkedIn Jobs App , until I ran straight into the buzzsaw of questions like “Tell us something unique about yourself in 150 characters or less – be creative”. Ack! Useful, but not easy!   Not to mention the one that wanted me to submit three examples of my work (PPT, Excel or Word) – no thanks, just not there yet.  I made myself focus on this one application all afternoon – even using some indirect approaches, like writing a cover letter to someone else about another long-shot-possible opportunity just to get the words flowing with my cover letter to a group of total strangers.   Wow, these are muscles I haven’t used in so long – the reality is I probably never ever had them.  Last time I had to introduce myself to a stranger to get a job was when I interviewed with a temp agency in DC in 1996. Rusty doesn’t start to describe my self-promotion skills.   OK, I’m listening to myself give you this blow by blow of my job search and even I’m finding it boring, so I promise I won’t take you through each application. But, as of the end of last weekend I had at least started a list of pro-active things I’d accomplished toward the goal of a new job. Yay!

And, I even came up with my less than 150 character thing… and I kind of like it:  “When my heart connects with a goal, I am undefatigable in my zeal to achieve it.”  Corny, yes, but it really does ring true. What do you think?

As for the dragontails, I finished this week with a wonderful visit to Dr. Ana my eastern medicine doctor and acupuncturist.  I shared with her my struggle through the doldrums and she said that Eastern Medicine would say that I am at the tail of the dragon.  While at the head you are thinking and planning, then you move down into the body where you are doing, acting, moving, processing, and then one day you are at the tail… waiting.  And then suddenly, the dragon moves and you are flying again.

There we are – on the tail of the dragon – holding on, trying to savor it, focusing on Exploit &  Explore and doing what we can, while waiting for this dragon to move forward in a lurch of motion which will set us flying toward the next phase, which I expect to be a full frenzy.  Bring it on!