Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The End (final post)

Well, my summer "sabbatical" has come to an end and I have returned to the workforce. The past 2.5 months have been an interesting time to say the least. I learned a lot about myself and definitely benefited from the break--my massage therapist has never seen my shoulders in such good condition!

Returning to work after having the summer off reminds me a lot of going back to school. Like a good student, I completed my summer reading list, although now the reading is about marketing and social media. As in the past, I have updated my look with key wardrobe additions and a new hair cut--however there are a couple of other cosmetic treatments in the mix now vs when I was actually in school.

Many thanks to those of you who visited my blog--especially those who provided comments and encouragement. While this was my first foray into the blogosphere, it won't be my last--however I will probably take the next semester off as I adjust to my new "school". Here's hoping I don't fall from the monkey bars!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Happy! Joy Joy!

While I haven't been including my job hunt in my previous posts, the fact is that I have been actively looking for a new job during my "sabbatical". Those conversations spanned the country (it definitely seemed like a move to NYC was in my future), but I am happy to say that I have accepted a new role and can stay in San Francisco! Given that I will be launching a new division, there is not much I can share at this time, except that I will be working for a company I respect and with people I both like and admire.

Even better--I am now able to enjoy a few weeks of true relaxation since I don't begin until mid-August and no longer need to worry about finding a job. Maybe I'll be able to understand the concept of funemployment after all...

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Funemployment is described as a a happy time in one's life when one is not employed and is not wanting to be employed. Many news outlets have covered this cultural phenomenon and the various ways that people (usually in their 20's) are enjoying themselves with their sudden free time. Some even talk about this shift in outlook as an indication that American society is developing a healthier view on work and life. While I am doing my best to reconnect with myself and take advantage of this time off, I can't say that I have fully embraced the concept.

Maybe it's my age or my type-A personality, but I cannot deny that part of my self-worth comes from my career. Having graduated college in a recession, I started in the business world with the knowledge that I would have to work my ass off to get ahead. While this approach generates a fair amount of stress, it has also allowed me to achieve a certain level of success. That success has in turn defined how I think about myself.

Little things reinforce the strangeness of my current situation--such as reaching for a business card to exchange with a new acquaintance, only to be realize that for the first time in 16+ years I no longer have one (something rectified the next day thanks to VistaPrint), or going to pick up dry cleaning that isn't ready yet since they are not used to seeing me in the store before 6 pm.

While part of me wishes I was like a friend of mine who is taking this time to travel the world and get out of her comfort zone, the reality is that I actually miss working. I'm beginning to think that employment itself just might be fun enough for me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I would not have done well in the 1950's

One of the main things that I am trying to adjust to during my time off work is the fact that all of the domestic responsibilities are now falling to me. Normally, my husband and I share this "joy", although it has never really been a true 50/50 division of labor (as I'm sure most women in relationships can agree with), at least there was the attempt to share.

Let me be upfront and acknowledge that my current situation is a cake walk compared to what 95% of women probably deal with. It's only the two of us--no kids, my husband is not even remotely messy, and I still have a cleaning lady that comes in twice a month. That being said, a domestic goddess was never something that I wanted to be. Every feminist bone in my body is fighting this current situation, however even I can see that asking my husband to cook after he comes home from work while I've had the day free lacks of fairness.

I'm trying to keep a sense of humor about the situation as I do the dishes, the laundry, pick up the house, make the bed, grocery shop, drop off/pick up the dry cleaning, etc. As I chat with the old Italian cobbler while having my husband's boots repaired, I see flashes of a life that his grandmother might have lived. While sewing new buttons on one of his suit jackets, I try to think about how lucky I was to have a grandmother who taught me how to sew (well, at least sew a button). When I get a call from my husband that he is on his way home, but skipped lunch that day, episodes of Leave it to Beaver flash through my head as I prepare to have dinner cooked and ready for his arrival.

To be fair, my husband is struggling with this new dynamic as well. The look on his face as I grabbed his hand to show him how I rearranged his closet was priceless. I can see him wondering what has happened to his career-driven wife/partner and know that he is hoping I will return to work soon. That said, I do wonder how much he will miss this current situation, especially the increase in home-cooked meals. Personally, I can't wait to get back to "normal"--my time-travel trip back to the 1950's is getting old.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How can such a small space pack so much drama?

The more time I spend at home, the more projects I need to come up with to fill my time. When you are cleansing yourself of things you don't need, that usually leads you to your closet--no matter how much you try to avoid it.

Like many women I know, my closet holds pieces of clothing in various sizes depending on my weight. Unfortunately, the space dedicated to clothes I can't currently wear is much larger than it should be, therefore I have avoided this particular task for as long as possible.

I used to love to get dressed up in fun dresses and funky takes on classics that reflected my "sassy" personality. For the past few years, I've been limited to shoes and accessories to express myself, as my clothes have defaulted to basics since that's what fits. While I'm the size of the average American woman and can shop at basically any store, I am definitely heavier than I used to be. Therefore, I'm caught in this cycle where I don't want to buy new clothes because I am "going to lose weight", but since I haven't lost the weight I'm wearing things I don't love and don't really feel good in.

While I had lost 10 pounds at the spa, it turns out that when you actually put food in your colon some of that weight comes back. I'm still 7 pounds down which is great, but I have a ways to go before I am at my personal ideal weight, which is back to what I was when I met my husband.

Everything they say about how people gain weight once they become part of a couple is true. It did not help that my husband is Italian and when he cooked, it generally meant pasta, which goes really well with wine--I think you can see where this is going. The combination of crazy work hours, a decade worth of carbo-loading, and a generally indulgent personality had led me to this place. No matter how much I wished it, I was not going to reverse things overnight.

The good news is that I am not doing it alone. Turns out my husband is doing a bit of a lifecleanse, too. He quit smoking (finally!) and now wants to run all of the time. The cute couple that indulged together is now the cute couple who runs together. Just don't get me started on the fact that he runs 3x farther than me and eats a salad for lunch and immediately loses weight.

Everything they say about guys losing weight easier than girls is true, too. Ugh.

So now what?

Having returned from my spa getaway, I tried to adjust to being home and not working. After a day or two on my own, I definitely needed something to keep myself occupied, and Facebook can really only account for a couple of hours a day.

In keeping with my lifecleanse concept, I decided that a good project would be to go through the entire apartment and purge everything we didn't need--those items would be joining my friend's yard sale that Sunday.

While I had completed a major purge of our belongings when we moved a year and a half ago, I was amazed by the amount of things I had accumulated since then. In addition to the home decor shifts I had made, I had boxes of media graft from my previous employment. I'm not sure why I thought anything with a media company logo on it fit into my life, but each "present" made it's way home with me nonetheless. That Sunday, two carloads worth of my items joined my friend's on the sidewalk to tempt the farmer's market customers as they passed.

I must say, yard sales allow for interesting glimpses into human psychology (or maybe just mine). While my items were no longer needed and whatever didn't sell would be taken directly to goodwill, my ego had a hard time dealing with some of the "offers" that people made. As someone who prides herself on her decorating skills, it took me a bit to get passed the fact that people did not value my taste/style choices as much as I did--especially given the huge discounts I was offering. Once I got over that issue, I actually had fun negotiating with the variety of people who stopped by to find treasure in my trash. In the end, I made some money and left with one box headed to goodwill and one item to post on Craigslist. House cleanse complete.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Turning point

Before the car picked me up to return to San Francisco, I took a walk around the spa's labyrinth. Labyrinths are thought of as a symbolic form of pilgrimage; where you walk the path, ascending toward enlightenment. As you walk among the turnings, you lose track of direction and the outside world, and this quiets the mind.

My week at WeCare did start me out on my path toward enlightenment and I was physically leaving 10 lbs lighter than I arrived. Armed with a salad for the plane, a freshly cleaned colon and some clarity about a few changes I wanted to make in my life, I felt calmer than I had in a long time. However, as I headed back to the outside world, I can't say my mind was completely quiet.