Saturday, January 22, 2011

Look Back on 2010

Most people write about, think about, and ponder upon a year during the final weeks of that year. Most "Best of" and "Worst of" lists come out during the last two weeks in a year. Local television stations have a clip broadcast of the year in review a week before the year ends and many newspapers run their top stories of the year a week to two weeks before the year is over. I never understood that. I get the idea of reflection because I reflect and think constantly; one of my most difficult challenges in life is getting quieting my mind. So, during the last few weeks of a year, I'm looking back at it, too. However, I think it's premature to make a "Best of List" or run your "Top Stories" feature before the year is completely over. There might only be a couple weeks left or just the day of December 31st left, but the biggest story of the year might not happen until December 31st. That's why I don't write about these things until way into the next year.

So, 2010. Personally, 2010 was just an okay year. 2009 was one of the crappiest years of my life. My Dad unexpectedly passed away in Autumn 2009 and it through my life so far off balance that I still don't know if I've gotten back on track. There was a lot of other stuff that happened, too. I had looked forward to 2010 with great hope and optimism. On January 1, 2010 I believed the year would bring healing, a fresh start, and new opportunities.

It did bring those things. I still miss my Dad and cry at the most unusual times and there's still a scar in my life where his presence and influence were ripped away. That will always be there, but it's a scar now and not a scab or open wound. I began 2010 working more than I did in 2009 and that was good and the friendship I had with a woman whom I had fallen in love with was back to the way it was before I began my pursuit of her. There were a lot of new opportunities in 2010. I went skydiving. I went parasailing. I had the chance to visit Florida, a state I haven't been to since 1994. I produced my first play and, though audiences weren't huge, it was a success and earned a profit. I starting writing again (though I'm still terribly, terribly undisciplined). I helped a good friend open a museum. I went to a Cardinals baseball game for the first time since they began playing in the new, new Busch Stadium. I became introduced to geocaching. There were a lot of good things.

Despite all of these good and wonderful things, there was one huge negative that has thrown a negative pawl on all the good: I lost my job. Granted it had only been a temp job and one that beginning in February 2010 my hours were slowly cut back from. I spent 22 months at that temp job and they never offered to raise my salary or let me pick up more hours working in the warehouse. Still, it was a job. I have always given my best effort to every job I have ever worked, working as to God and not to men. After a year of being there, it became clear to me that they were never going to bring me on as a regular. I could have quit then, but I didn't. I looked for other jobs, but kept hoping maybe they would change their minds and bring me on as a regular, even if it was part-time. The job wasn't exciting and there were a lot of negative people there, but it was a job. I knew what the economy was like and was happy to be working. But at the end of April, after 22 months there, they let me go. I haven't been able to find regular work since.

I've applied all over. I have a stack of around 150 copies of cover letters I've sent out. I'm registered with three different temp agencies. I call each of them almost every week and have become on a first name basis with some of the workers at each place. I've had a handful of interviews, but nothing promising. I've done some consulting work and odd jobs for friends. I send out 2-10 applications each week, but I've yet to find work. Unless you've been in this situation you have no idea how draining it is.

I try to stay optimistic, but there is a weariness to this whole thing. I knew it has been affecting me, but I didn't know how much until I recently watched part of the remake of DICK AND JANE. I was flipping through the channels in the afternoon before I began to work on my latest stack of application letters and came across it. I remember when I first watched the movie a few years ago and enjoyed it. However, this time was different. I've never had a high-paying job like Dick(portrayed by Jim Carrey) and long ago the possibility of me ever owning a home evaporated. However, I found myself really relating to Dick. The parts that were funny when I first watched the movie weren't funny anymore because they were too lifelike. Unlike Dick, I began my job search immediately and in earnest. I didn't waste time sitting around fiddling. Yet, we're almost in identical places. When I went back to college a few years ago I made a little extra money doing medical tests. I've gained weight since then and because of that, the research facility won't use me. I applied for the United Farm Workers "Take Our Jobs" initiative. I thought that if nothing else I could get a couple months of labor at the end of summer. They turned me down. They tell you in school that a college degree will let you get ahead, but what they don't tell you is that a college degree also knocks you out of a lot of entry level positions. I spent 2 1/2 years substitute teaching, but because of new bureaucratic regulation, I'm having difficulties getting back on the sub list of the district I worked for most. I've been through difficult spells before, but none of it has been like this. It's all really starting to get to me. My spirit is restless and my soul is weary.

I know what I want to do in life. I've been given some very unique gifts and talents. I want to use them and earn my keep through them. In order to do that, there are some things I need to do. In order to do those things, I need some cash. What little savings I had has long since evaporated so to get some cash, I need a job. It's a vicious cycle, but one that I hope I can break away from soon.

On a completely different note, about halfway through 2010 I uploaded some statistic tracking software to this blog. I was curious as to how many visits I was getting, what people were looking at, where they were coming from, etc. In 2010, from the time I uploaded the software in May until the end of the year, I had over 4,000 visits to this blog. Nearly half of those came from a little picture I posted of Snooki when they parodied her on South Park. I knew she was popular, but I never knew how much. My original writings that I've posted here received the least amount of visits. That's kind of a downer, but it's nice to know that the 2nd most visited post of mine is a video I found on the Internet with Brian Welch and his testimony of how he became a Christian.

I've never really been concerned about becoming a famous blogger. If I was, this would be a much more "focused" site devoted to one topic or area. But, it's not. It's a blog about me, the things I like, enjoy, find interesting or thought-provoking, etc. As long as I keep blogging here, that's the way it will be. Cheers.

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