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So...what's been happening, then?

Well, the short answer to that question is: not a lot. I have been long away from LJ, the reason being I haven't felt like keeping a journal for a long time. I've allowed myself to slip into a state of denial (I wouldn't call it depression), hiding away from friends and family so that I wouldn't have to explain myself and my failure to find work -- which in my eyes, if in no one else's, is my own fault, for letting my confidence slide to the point where I no longer believed I was cut of employable cloth. I have enough people in real life telling me that I shouldn't be so hard on myself and it's either the double or triple dip recession we're in, but I can't help it: it feels like they're just handing me an excuse, which I've been all too grateful for accepting; when in my own mind, I've just not been trying hard enough -- so I didn't want to come on here and get even more laden with guilt by inviting well-meaning comments of people who think I'm wonderful, when I'm nothing of the kind.

But if I haven't been not out there, earning an honest crust, what have I been doing all through last year?
Well, church work, mostly.

First, there was Food Fair, an annual event sponsored by our church and managed by an international team of volunteers to raise money for charitable causes all around the world. I was on the organising committee, responsible for volunteers and supplies, and by the end of the day, we had raised 50,000 euros; all of which will go on projects such as digging wells in Africa, funding hospitals in India, helping street children in South America.

Secondly, there's my role as catechist in our parish. I've been teaching Sunday school to a class of 2nd graders (11 boys and 3 girls, mostly Italian), preparing them for their First Communion which will take place on May 5th, since September. It's been challenging, considering I've no prior experience of teaching or of children, really - but it's been rewarding and enjoyable. I've let them know that I don't have all the answers and so it feels like we're discovering our faith, the things we are meant to believe in as Catholics, together. They're too young to grasp the finer points of theology and neo-Platonic thought, and so we have been groping our way to an understanding of what exactly happened in the Incarnation, the mystery of the Trinity, and the reality of the Transubstantiation. We've been practising our prayers, and last Sunday they did me proud in receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation for the very first time in their lives. There was only one child who was so nervous that she suddenly forgot how she should cross herself, and I had to reassure her that it didn't matter afterwards.

I've also joined the lector team, so once every so often I have a role in the Sunday liturgy, reading the lessons and\or preparing the prayers for the day. And like last year, I led the devotions in the Stations of the Cross during Holy Week. People seem to like my reading; I get lots of positive comments, and I do enjoy reading very much. I practice my lines till I'm word perfect, then I perform them like an actor delivering a Shakespeare soliloquy. I know I'm skating on thin ice here with Father (he's warned me about adding too many dramatic flourishes), but some of my colleagues -bless their hearts- drone on so much, they send the congregation to sleep - and the Word of God deserves better treatment, I think.

Thirdly, I've been active in a group of people supporting each other through being inbetween jobs...all over 45, all highly educated, all massively experienced...and all finding it as difficult as I to stay positive and motivated. We organise lectures and workshops, look at one another's cv-s, try to network on each other's behalf, that sort of thing. I've been doing this since the beginning of the year and I think it has helped me get a grip again. Well, of sorts, anyway.

I've let my 10th LJ-versary earlier this month pass without marking it in any way. A shame. I'll have to make a special effort to remember my 12 1/2 year anniversary, then.


( 16 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Apr. 16th, 2013 01:56 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to hear that you're staying busy. I have been in between jobs before, and unable to find anything. I had a degree to go for, so that helped some, but it's an awful feeling.
Apr. 16th, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
It is. However, I've just had some good news - after 16 months of being unemployed, a friend of mine has finally found a job. So it is still possible!

Edited at 2013-04-16 06:13 pm (UTC)
Apr. 16th, 2013 04:48 pm (UTC)
Good to see you. At least it sounds as if you are doing things.

I'm fortunate teaching the children at church - we don't believe in transubstantiation so I don't have to try and explain it! (One of my favourite stories about communion bread is to do with what to do with any left over after the service. We believe it is simply blessed bread and will happily throw it to the birds. This was being discussed in an ecumenical group and one group member was very upset at this idea. A nun put an end to the discussion by saying it was perfectly reasonable to throw it to the birds - for surely if the Lord knows when to enter the bread He will also know when to leave it!)
Apr. 16th, 2013 06:09 pm (UTC)
Ah, nuns! Always the practical ones! ;-)
Apr. 16th, 2013 09:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting. We're in very similar boats, and I spend a lot of energy blaming myself too, when I really KNOW full well that it's the economy, it's capitalism, it's bigger than me.

I'm glad to see you've got so much else you're doing which frankly seems way more meaningful than most jobs …
Apr. 16th, 2013 11:13 pm (UTC)
I've seen you struggle with your worklife on my sporadic visits to LJ-land over the last twelvemonth, but haven't said anything for two reasons: I didn't feel I had anything positive to offer, and it all came too close. It was easier to turn off the laptop and bury my head in the sand again.

I do hope things will pick up for you soon.
Apr. 17th, 2013 02:28 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking a lot recently about how the institutions that created this global financial mess have mostly gotten off scot-free, and all the messages directed at individuals caught up in it blame them. It's a huge lie. There really is a point, and we're at it now, that no matter how educated, savvy, experienced, whatever you are, you really can't be responsible for your "success" or "failure". We're up against forces we can't oppose individually.
But everything in the media and in our own experience keeps reinforcing that we're not trying hard enough.


I've been wrestling with all this and trying to figure out how to make a satisfying life out of what's available to me. I'm extraordinarily lucky compared to a lot of other people in my shoes, in that I'm not sunk into debt or having to live in a place I can't afford. But the whole expectation of the trajectory of life has been smashed and not replaced with ... anything, really.

Chin up. I admire you for using your energy for worthwhile endeavors.
Apr. 16th, 2013 11:10 pm (UTC)
I'm glad to see you post. I don't post much, either, because I'm holing up feeling sorry for myself.

You make me want to go to church. Your support group sounds worthwhile, too. (I should get involved in some kind of group.)

Apr. 16th, 2013 11:17 pm (UTC)
Well, what's stopping you? There must be some kind of initiative where you live that strikes your fancy, even if it is just a bunch of old women that come together for coffee and a proper chat once in a while.
Apr. 17th, 2013 12:11 am (UTC)
I've been ducking both AA and Alanon, and wondering why I'm feeling so crazy\lonely\miserable.

Yes, indeed, what's stopping me?
Apr. 17th, 2013 06:27 am (UTC)
Perhaps they're not the kind of groups that appeal at the moment, for a variety of reasons. I was thinking more along the lines of looking for groups focusing on more undemanding pastimes; like a craft group or a gym class, where you won't feel like you have to explain yourself if you decide not to attend a session.

I gave up on my tai chi class for three months in a row. The teacher did send me a couple of emails to ask if I was alright, and left the door open for me to come back when I felt like it. That wasn't until last Wednesday, and my fellow students didn't pry.
Apr. 17th, 2013 02:39 am (UTC)
Happy 10 years to you!

It sounds like you've been doing necessary and rewarding work for your faith community, and it's great that you're also working on your professional networking. Something will come together as the economy improves, and when it does, you'll have good stories to tell of how you've spent this time.
Apr. 17th, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
Happy 10 years to you!

Thank you!

As to the other - I wish I could skip ahead already! ;-)
Apr. 17th, 2013 10:53 am (UTC)
I think it's a very good thing for you to have kept busy with the church like you have. It all sounds very rewarding mentally and spiritually.

And that support group seems a great idea.

Happy belated!
Apr. 17th, 2013 02:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Over the last year, the church has been kind of a lifeline to me, although I sometimes worry that I might be overdoing things - the more so as I'm not particularly devout ;-).
Apr. 25th, 2013 05:17 am (UTC)
I had to look up transubstantiation. I'm pretty sure when I went to Church we only believed the bread and wine represented body and blood. I'm a little icked by the belief that it might become real. IIRC, communion was a godsend (haha) when I was a bit hungry too. ;)

I'm glad you are finding something useful to do with your time. I'm sure getting out and spending time with others is a good thing. I'm interested in your "unemployment" group, what a good idea. And it reminds you that there are lots and lots of people in your position. Which, while little consolation, will keep reminding you that it's not some defect in yourself that you haven't found work.
( 16 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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