Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Spirit & Resolve

This is the time of year, gentle readers, when, especially when things are going great in your life, that it's hard to remember that not everyone is sharing your celebrations.

Your MatchGirl is thinking back to when she was first laid off, in November of 2008 - right after the worst birthday I have ever celebrated, right after the death of my grandfather, right before Thanksgiving. Though I spent Thanksgiving in Brooklyn with dear friends, and Christmas in New Hampshire with my family, this was a low point for your MatchGirl.

I could not go out and buy gifts for people in the way I had hoped. I was living hand-to-mouth off a paltry severance (which I know I was lucky to get), as I waited for unemployment insurance to kick in. It was a bad time.

I was single.
I felt disgusting.
I felt unloveable, undate-able and unhire-able.
The weather was damp and grey and cold.
It felt like the sun never shone.

And to make matters worse, the streets were filled with the gaiety of the holidays.
I mean, come on!
Nothing like the world rubbing it in, huh?

But here's the thing, dear readers.
It was all in my head.
I was sad and allowing myself to wallow in it.
Not being able to separate the good things in my life from the dismal feelings I had.

A year later, your MatchGirl was still unemployed. And you know what? I took advantage of it for all it was worth. Money? Who needed it? You can check out my Handmade Holiday here. What had really changed, though, was my attitude. I was certainly in no better situation than I had been the year before. In fact, after over a year unemployed, I should have been more depressed, not less.

But things change.
And you come to realize where priorities should lie. What matters to you the most (it's different for every person and I wouldn't presume to say where another's priorities should lie).

That's not to say, however, that this isn't a hard time of year for those who aren't working. Or who are working at part-time jobs. Or who are getting by - just - paycheck-to-paycheck. It's tough. It's tougher than the rest of the year, for sure.

So, this month, be generous with yourself. With your thoughts.
Take a moment to recognize how your hard work has gotten you to a great place.
Take a moment to pause and reflect on what it might have been had you not gathered your resolve and pushed forward.
And take a moment to see those around you - the unemployeds, the underemployeds, your friends and neighbors - and think how you can help them to find their resolve. To make their grey days a little brighter.
I promise it will be the best gift you can give.

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