Friday, August 26, 2011

Learning to be nice to myself.

A while ago I wrote about how hard the job hunting has been on me. As in, making me doubt myself, or saying nasty things like I'm a waste or a social parasite. Some days the situation gives me actual physical pain (in the stomach, in the throat, in the head) and constantly thinking about it is messing up with my mental health. I am not a crazy person. I am not a crazy person. I am not a crazy person. It reached a point where I would throw stuff (my phone at the car) and cry and feel helpless and obsess about all kinds of little unimportant things like books not fitting in a bookshelf.

And don't get me wrong. I am quite happy. And I realize that we are very lucky and blessed in all kinds of different ways. Zan wrote about this a bit here. About the process of " being content with your small corner of the universe and your tiny slice of life" and about the big plans for the future. Then of course there was Adrienne, the lovely wedding graduate from 1969 (those were the days), and her ever wise words: "It is your attitude and expectations.  Resolve to be content."

Some days I feel like Joan, Julia Stile's character at the end of Mona Lisa smile when she has that final talk with their professor (Julia Roberts). Because yes, I chose to be in this situation.
And as much as I thank feminism for giving us girls the right to study, to dream wild dreams, make them come true and fly high, in real life it is not quite so easy. I can't help feeling a tiny pang of envy when I see classmates going on internships at places like the Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx zoo. Or I see opportunities to learn and make a change in India. Or, without even going so far away, there is a seal nursery and rehabilitation center in the north of the country, or some interesting job opportunites at animal health institutions all the way in the east of the country (not that I actually have any idea if they would even call me for an interview. I feel like I am walking in the dark in a forest full of monsters). But commuting for 6 to 8 hours a day is not an option for us. And now that we are married, being long distance (again, after having done it for 2 years) just seems unconceivable. So I am actively making these choices.

Image via here

Remember the day I was all confused with fashion in the office because I had an interview? Well, I got the job and I am starting next Monday. It is a simple office job, but at least we will be able to save and hopefully it will also distract me enough and give me some peace of mind. My brain up there needs to stop making theories. It broke my heart a bit to stop at the laboratory where I was working, and it makes me wonder if this is not a bad decision, since I am straying away from my field. It has become clear that I probably need to do a Master to be competitive in the job market. I am under the impression that having a dutch diploma would actually help a lot. Not that it would actually guarantee anything, there seem to be lots of highly educated people in this same horrible situation. But what I want the most right now is to STOP looking for jobs every day. Stop going through the process of writing letters and then waiting and then getting the bad news. It is slowly destroying me inside, and I can not let this go any further because I must be stronger than this. And so I decided I will give myself a break, I will not even look for openings anymore, for a month or two and see if it helps me calm down. I have to tell myself that this is not giving up, but just giving myself some needed mental rest. Of course there is a part of me saying but what if I miss THE opportunity of my life during this time. Anyway I am also going into this new job because if I really am going to start graduate school, I am going to need to somehow pay for it and this would make it possible. To think that this is just a necessary step to get where I want to gives sense to things. So I am writing this here to remind me of all these things.

Ever since I saw the movie Outbreak (thanks Dustin Hoffman) I wanted to be an epidemiologist and if I can not be a clinical vet or work in research (because apparently as hard as I try I don't have control over the situation or the minds of the recruiters), then I would like to go in that direction.
In the meantime I will resolve to be content. I will enjoy, like I always do, the time with the boy. Our walks together, maybe short trips, dancing, being able to get flowers for cheap, cooking, baking, attempting to  learn photography, focusing on improving my dutch skills, playing with  our little neighbors...


  1. ¡Hola! Te voy a escribir en español y si no te parece bien, pues borras el comentario y ya está, tan amigas :-)
    Te entiendo perfectamente porque todo ese proceso también lo he pasado yo. Después de la ansiedad de buscar trabajo, cuando por fin encontré uno, casi me instalé allí y no he buscado más. He descubierto que mi nuevo trabajo me gusta tanto que he comenzado a estudiar para poder hacerlo en serio en cualquier parte del mundo y además, estoy muy contenta porque me deja espacio mental para soñar, planear, cocinar y todas esas cosas que necesito para ser feliz. Yo sé que no es el trabajo de mi vida y que no voy a poder vivir de él exclusivamente pero mi tranquilidad vale mucho más que un super trabajo. No creas, también me asaltan las dudas y la desesperación de no ser independiente, fuerte y super-woman, pero estoy aprendiendo a disfrutarlo y a aceptar la vida como viene. Yo también me comparo y envidio, pero si hiciéramos un mercadillo de situaciones vitales ya verías como habría mucha gente que compraría tu situación. Y si todo esto no funciona... siempre nos quedará el yoga, jajajaja ;-) ¡Un beso!

  2. Dear Amanda, be sure you are a super woman. You fight every day, you don't lower your arms and you love with all your heart and soul. You are a super woman! Life is crazy like that. I have my own rage moments, sometimes. Even though it looks like things just work against our plans, we still have the power of choice in our hands. It takes strength to to choose to fight things, and it takes strength to acept and change our path. Nothing is accomplished without peace of mind, so I think You're doing the best for you now. Not that you're needing some kind of approval, but :) that's what I think.

    And enough of bla bla bla! Congratulations on the new job and going back to school! That's a new important step. Enjoy it!

  3. @ Marona, claro que puedes comentar en español, más bien que gusto ! Y si, tienes razón, me encantó lo de siempre quedará el yoga... me acordé de aquello de "siempre quedará Paris". La gente decía mucho esa frase en España, pero no se de donde sale. Gracias por el apoyo, y si, es todo un aprendizaje esto de aceptar la vida como viene, y concentrarse en todas esas "pequeñas" cosas que nos hacen felices y que claro que también valen.

    @ Ines, you are so sweet. Thank you so much for the constant support. And you are right. Take care, and enjoy being back home ;) We just saw a little teenage cat outside, and I thought of you. He was kind of wild, he wouldn't let us touch him, but he was nonetheless very cute.

  4. Querida Amanda, te entiendo mucho. Pero nada está dicho aún, la vida siempre nos sorprende y el camino que hoy parece cerrarse mañana puede abrirse sin que lo esperemos. Disfrutá de tener un ingreso propio y poder planificar momentos bellos con ese dinero, disfrutá de los hobbies y las bendiciones de la vida y el resto va a llegar.
    Te dejo este texto que lei en A Practical wedding. Lo citó Lisa, de Privilege, y así llegué al blog, y me parece uno de los mejores textos que he leido en mucho tiempo.
    No tiene desperdicio.
    Un abrazo enorme!

  5. "siempre quedará paris"es la traduccion de "we'll always have Paris"de la pelicula Casablanca :)


  7. Uh, Amanda! Yo creo que ser nice to oneself es una de las cosas mas complicadas porque uno siempre tiende a ser bastante critico y duro con las cosas que uno hace. Aun así, creo que tenemos que aprender a aceptar que somos humanos y como tales, tenemos limitaciones y lo que hoy quizás no nos sale, quizás mañana lo logramos o quizás mañana surge algo mucho mejor todavía!!! Disfruta mucho tu día a día y las pequeñas cosas que hacen la felicidad! Un abrazo!

  8. Que bueno que hayas conseguido un trabajito... mi papá siempre me dijo que lo mejor para un extranjero nuevo es mantener la mente ocupada. Así no se piensa tanto en las cosas que no nos resultan como queremos.
    No te creas, que yo he aplicado hasta para limpiar campings, y hasta eso ha sido difícil, aunque desde hace algún tiempo un amigo me dio un trabajito con una página web. No es constante ni me hace la mujer más feliz, pero me mantiene mi mente algunos días ocupada, y es lo importante.
    Abrazos Amanda, y sigue siendo felíz!

  9. @ Marcela, muchas gracias por el apoyo y el video. Y si, ese texto es muy cierto.

    @ Nat, igual gracias, y si, tienes razón, hay cosas que no podemos controlar, pero por suerte si podemos controlar nuestra actitud antre la vida. Igualmente un abrazo!

    @ Ley, gracias. Si, mi mama siempre decia "la ociosidad es la madre de todos los vicios", y tener una actividad distrae, entretiene y ayuda con las facturas :)
    Muchos saludos y que estes muy bien !


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