Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Precipice

In a way, it is down to the wire.

On Thursday, I have to either renew my lease on this townhouse, or not. If not, I have no idea where I will live next.

After six months of determined job hunting, I am still unemployed. I have been on several interviews, but so far, nothing has resulted in a job offer. I have about 10 years of experience in my field, and significant job experience before that, and in a way, I am more employable now than I have ever been. But I am also 48 years old, and I have some cross-country moves on my resume and in my past that could seem troubling to a prospective employer. It is also, as we know, one of the worst economic climates in a long time.

I planned for a year of unemployment, but the lease requires 60 days notice of intent to leave, and so I am confronted with this now. I am not out of money yet, but soon I will have to break into money that is not “liquid,” and I had hoped to keep that in reserve and not have to use it for day-to-day expenses.

I have done two interviews with a company that is still interested in me, and I got a call from their HR guy this morning. He wanted me to know that they will be making their decision this week. This is one of the most promising jobs that has presented itself, and the timing is interesting.

I know that making this move without having secured a job first was beyond risky, and doing it with my daughter in tow is something that weighs heavily on my mind. It’s hard to describe the feeling, though, that I HAD to do this. When I look out across the foothills, I feel so strongly that this is where we are supposed to be, that this is right, and that I made the right move. We live in a sunny, safe, and peaceful place, my daughter goes to a good public school, and our lives are full of things that we didn’t have before. We ride bikes, she goes to swim lessons, she plays with her friends, and I have privacy and freedom and peace. We sleep at night. We have made friends. We feel like we belong here.

It is an odd mix of tranquility and terror. I have learned to put aside the things that I cannot change, and I have also learned to trust my instincts. But the facts are stark and I can read a spreadsheet and a financial forecast well enough; I know that this cannot go on indefinitely. Soon, I will be confronted with the question “What next?”

I really don’t have an answer to that yet. It is hard to contemplate packing up and moving again, let alone all the other logistical questions. I had so hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

But right now I am in limbo, and I don’t do limbo very well. I am a “get to work” kind of girl; I see what needs to be done and I do it. Hanging In the balance of uncertainty is draining and depressing. At regular intervals, I think of something that I want to do or know needs to be done and I have to weigh whether it is prudent to spend the money or undertake that effort now, or put it off to some “other” time. It suspends plans, it makes it hard to make choices, and it puts everything in question.

My daughter told me a few days ago “I love you, Mom. You’re my home.” And I felt like that is the only thing I need to hang onto. I’ve made all the decisions of the past seven years based on what was best for us, and I will keep doing that. We aren’t following the crowd, we don’t conform to a demographic, and we are certainly not fashionable. We aren’t living like the “experts” tell us we should be, but we are living. We will get by.


  1. Lately, I've been thinking about how it's going to feel to start going into my non-liquid assets, as well. Unlike, you, however, I haven't been doing anything about it. I really should.

    Good luck to you this week.

  2. I trust your instincts too, as well as mine, and mine tell me that you are in the right place and you will have a job soon.

  3. Another beautiful post. I'm so sorry that things are still bad on the job front. I have my fingers crossed about that "decision" they are making this week; you're right, the timing would be interesting!


  4. I have no words of wisdom for you, so I'm just going to hug you. OK, ready? (((((HUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGG)))
    What's that? Why are you gasping? Too tight?
    Opps, sorry.

  5. Ugh, I'm so sorry. Moving ranks up there on my list of least favorite activities. I will move one more time in my life, then that's it. And worrying about money is so awful. Makes my stomach flip thinking about it.

    Hang in there, Mama! And hug that baby girl for me! She's the sweetest!

  6. Well, I'm reading this after your announcement on Facebook, so I will just repeat that I am SOOOO thrilled for you and for the news that you got today. Just in the nick of time!