Monday, September 5, 2016

Two years later: Labor Day Weekend

Two years ago I went through the most difficult Labor Day Weekend of my life. Everything I knew was ending and most things I cared deeply about were crumbling before my eyes. A month earlier I had posted that after 19 years my beloved shop would be closing for good and the feelings of failure and loss and disappointment were overwhelming. I tried to hear what people were saying, that this was the beginning of awesome things to come; that I hadn't quite found my niche and how it was waiting for me just around the corner. I attempted to visualize what it would be like to land a good job - finally, working for someone else - the kind of employment that would likely end after a day's work rather than being present 24/7.

Two years ago, as I cleaned and closed up the store for the night, I tried to picture how freeing that would be to have a life again, and possibly even weekends and major holidays off - because in retail there are few days off and you learn to just miss the things that happen at those times. Surely someone would be realizing I was available shortly and as so many had already mentioned, there would be plenty of business contacts who had expressed interest in hiring me. And then I shut and locked the door and sat on the floor and cried. It felt that everything I'd cared about was ending and although to some it may have appeared overly-dramatic and attached to a dream, it was the process of me losing one of the great loves of my life.

Somehow I made it through the weekend and then the following two months of sales, donating items, packing up a lifetime of memories and moving it all into storage. I thought so much about what was to come during those weeks, how would I handle interviews, questions, what could my strong points be for landing a real job? By the end of October although I'd grieved and mourned and felt a part of my soul was leaving forever, I'd almost convinced myself that there were new horizons out there. And then came the day where for the last time, I turned the key in the lock and walked away.

I wish there was more to type right now than there is; I wish I had exciting news about the next chapter to share; I hoped those things I'd tried to imagine in my mind had taken place. But they didn't. Two years later I'm unemployed; have blown more interviews than I can count and sent out and emailed hundreds of resumes to prospective employers. You don't have this skill they'd say - we need someone more qualified - you've basically done the same thing for 19 years some would mumble as they tried to be polite while skimming my work history. The people who'd mentioned me as a potential new member of their team.....well, they disappeared.

The ones who stated they would hire me in a minute seem to have changed their minds; realized I wasn't actually what they wanted; that that position had already been filled by a niece or grand-kid or some other body. None of those possible offers came through and two years later I'm sitting here wondering how much longer it could take. I'm desperate to find the next chapter and yet my writing failed me as hundreds of rejection letters, emails and calls have come my way. Much of it I've taken far too personally, feeling now like some faded shell of what once was a vibrant and creative personality with dreams and goals.....I feel like it's all over. For me, somehow, I've missed the boat. There WAS no next chapter.