The best things about unemployment

Photo from: healthland.time.com

Switching gears from my ‘worst of unemployment’ lists, I wanted to talk about the positives that have come with unemployment. Because the pendulum still does swing, and there is still good in this world, no matter how sad I might get sometimes.

Unemployment sucks, but here are a few reasons why it has is bonuses:

Getting rid of that soul-sucking boss. Honestly, my last boss was a misogynistic overgrown frat-boy who ran an office like it was a locker-room and treated women as though the only thing we brought to the table were short skirts and an ability to fetch coffee. He didn’t think that I was qualified to fill my roll, didn’t believe that I deserved the position and made it open in the office that he really didn’t like me. Leaving him behind was an incredible gift for my psyche.

Getting rid of that soul-sucking office. My last office was the equivalent of a men’s locker room. Women were rated based on their looks, told to wear short skirts to meetings and treated as though we brought no value to the office and it was ‘a gift’ they were even letting us live in the presence of the men who worked there. Time after time after time I really didn’t want to go to work. The job itself wasn’t bad, but the people – they were so… awful. They were the type of people who made me not want to get out of bed in the morning. The type of people who would take credit for my work and then publicly (and I mean in the newspaper) shame me if something didn’t get done on time. Leaving them behind took a big burden off my shoulders and my heart. And I can honestly say, there isn’t a soul in that office that I miss.

Being able to take more time for myself. Prior to unemployment all that I did was work. All the time. Monday through Friday I was at the office from 8:30 to 6:30, sometimes 7:30 or 8:30. I worked most weekends and I never really did anything for fun. Since being unemployed, I’ve been able to do the things I’ve always wanted to do that I never got a day off for. I’ve been to the Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, done the air bubbles walk of Abraham Lake, hiked the largest ancient inland rainforest on earth, spent some time in Niagara Falls and Toronto, taken more than 10,000 miles worth of roadtrips and so much more that I haven’t even shared on his blog. And you know what? It’s been a dream come true.

Helping my family. As much as I like to rag on my family for the things they do to frustrate me, I’m also really grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to help them this year. Let me tell you, driving someone to the cancer clinic every day, cleaning up puke in the middle of the night, is hard for any person to face. I commend my dad for looking after my mom to the extent that he did because he really stepped up and did an incredible job, but I’m also grateful that I was able to be here and to help. Because when it’s family, you do what you can do.

It’s allowed me more time to write. To create. To build this blog. To take credit for my own writing. To say what I want to say. I know that it sounds counter-intuitive, claiming that I get credit for my writing on a blog that’s nearly anonymous (I say nearly because three people now know who I am). When I was working, I was writing all of the time for my job. I was writing things that my boss would take credit for, I was writing things that people from other companies would take credit for. I was specifically supposed to write things as though they sounded like they were coming from other people and not me. On the off chance that I did get credit for an article that I put together, I was reprimanded for not giving the article to my boss before sending it out. Here, I can say what I want, when I want. I may not have a face on this blog, but I have a person. And I value the person I get to be here… spelling mistakes in all.

It builds your strength and resilience. Rejection after rejection after rejection sucks. It sucks so hard I often break down in tears because I just don’t know what else to do. I will say though, no matter how many rejections I’ve had this year, I’ve always kept trying and I have always kept going. When it seems like it’s the easiest thing in the world to just give up, I won’t. I’m not going to give up. I’m reminded that I have the strength to get through this and I will damn well get the life I want and deserve. I know this now more than ever. Even on my bad days a piece of me still knows this deep down.

There are pros and cons to everything in this life. And for me, its a consistent fault of mine that I’m not always able to see the good. Today, though, today I wanted to remind myself of what good has come from this.


If you’e interested, my unemployment journey is detailed here >

If you’re interested, my travel diaries, tips and thoughts are detailed here >

Letters to anyone,

I’m not sure what it is about 1:00 am that really draws me in but I seem to find myself in the same place, every night.

I was fifteen years old when I first fell in love. The feeling, unlike anything I’d ever known before in my life, took over me like a fire engulfing a home in a mere matter of seconds. Before I knew it, I was flat on the pavement wishing for the ability to be anywhere but where I was.

It’s funny how life does that to us… knocking us on our ass when we least expect it, testing us, seeing what we’re capable of and how long we can withstand the pain of heartbreak and heartache.

You know, Michelangelo believed the best way to judge the essential elements of a sculpture was to throw it down a hill and the unimportant pieces would break off. Sometimes, I think, life is like that. It tosses us down a hill. But when we reach the bottom and only the important things are left, that’s when our vision clears.

Would I go back in time and change anything? Certainly not. Could I have been smarter, done better or avoided the heartbreak? Certainly, absolutely, and not at all. When I made it through that, my vision cleared. The beauty of heartbreak is that it teaches us, not only about ourselves and who we are. but heartbreak teaches us what we want for our lives and what we don’t want. And 15 year old me, well she had a lot to learn.

I’ve heard people say that if you wait long enough, if you hold out hope and always keep trying, good things will come. And I think, slowly but surely they do. I don’t think it’s a massive change, as though you get to wake up one morning and be a completely different person. I think it’s much more subtle than that. We make small improvements every day and suddenly that heartbreak that encapsulated our entire existence seems like a distant memory.

The heartbreak I am suffering these days, it’s a different kind of heartbreak. I do think the same principles apply, though. 30 year old me, she still has a lot to learn. And this heartbreak, it may not be over a boy, but if you asked me honestly I would tell you it hurts just the same.

Well, I had this all thought out in my head and now that I’m here, I’m having a hard time drawing this to a close. I want to say something profound, something hopeful, something thoughtful, but I can’t. Small changes, I guess. One day at a time. If you’re there, if you’re struggling, if you’ve been tossed down the hill, just remember that those unimportant pieces are falling off (being left behind) for a reason.

Sincerely, Vee.

Friday’s are for…?

I don’t even know where to start.

Wilson was elated to see all of us show up at the hospital this afternoon. He’s a bit of a handy-man by nature. Even at 85 years old he is still someone who made his own repairs to his home and changed the oil in his vehicle on his own, things like that. So, instead of bringing him flowers today, the neighbourhood all went to the hardware store and each bought him a tiny tool to sit on his windowsill in his hospital room. Kind of like… a little touch of him can be there since he’s not allowed to go home.

I truly think he was shocked as heck to see so many people today. But I’m taking that as a good sign. I think in times like these, the best things you can give someone is a smile, and this neighbourhood definitely did that for him today.

If you believe in it, send some positive juju to the universe for Wilson. He’s going to need it in the coming weeks. Today his son told us the doctor’s said it could be a few days, it could be a few weeks, they’re not sure how long he’s got left. The son says once he gets permission to he’s going to take Wilson home to his house (the son) to look after him in his final days. So send some positive juju for the son, too. I can’t imagine that’s easy to deal with.

In another update, I spent two hours on hold this morning to deal with the bank and PayPal to get my credit card sorted out.

PayPal has agreed with me that the transfers appear to be fully fraudulent and they said they will be refunding me within 7-10 business days.

My credit card has been cancelled (as a safety precaution) to ensure that no more charges are made to the card now that the information could possibly be compromised. The bank has told me that I should receive a new card within 7-10 business days.

The stupid part of all of this is that I haven’t even made a purchase on PayPal since 2015. And I’ve only ever made one purchase on PayPal. I’d forgotten all about any existing account with them due to lack of using it. I didn’t need the account so I forgot all about it. The whole situation is all too frustrating. I’ve been trying so hard to be good and not purchase unnecessary things and save my money and then someone goes and steals it. Well, I’m presuming it’s someone at this point.

I have to keep my PayPal account long enough for them to refund me. After that, I’m deleting it and never dealing with PayPal again.

My lesson in this? Don’t have leave your credit card information on sites you don’t use, or sites at all, really. It’s not that hard to rewrite your credit card number each time you purchase something online.

Also, sign up for text alerts from your bank. If they hadn’t texted me this morning notifying me of ‘Suspicious Purchases’ on my card, I wouldn’t have known for a while. I maybe check my bank balances once a week, if that. I don’t know how I signed up for text alerts from my bank, I don’t remember ever doing it. Let me tell you though, I am damn sure glad I had them today.

I want you to know

You change things. You make things better… you make me better. The way that you see the world is admirable and I’m drawn to it in the way the tide is drawn to the gravitational pull of the moon. Bright, reliable and relentless.

I love who you are. I love what you stand for. I love you. I love everything about you and, though I know change is inevitable in life, I hope your change comes through growth. I hope that, much like a fine wine, the very basic core of who you are and what you stand for only gets better with time.

Thank you for your kindness, for your sincerity, for your generosity in a world where it seems to be dwindling at increasing rates with each day that passes. Thank you for making me believe more and believe better of myself and better of everyone. Thank you for always seeing the bright side, even on a dull day. Thank you for existing. I know you probably don’t feel like it makes a difference, but your existence in this world does. You are the change that I want to be and the change that I wish to see.

Thank you for always trying, even when I tell you not to. And thank you for never turning away when I tell you to leave, because you know that it’s the moments when people push others away that they need someone the most. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for never questioning and thank you for always supporting, even when I don’t deserve it.

Thank you for being you. For being strong, independent, intelligent and brave. Thank you for being thoughtful, grateful, insightful and humble.

I want you to know you change things. Because you do.

Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.

The time, 11:49 pm. The mood, content. The setting: perched at the edge of the couch, watching the sun dip behind the trees, saying goodnight to another peaceful day.

I’m reaching the end of the week that I dubbed my week of positivity. It was my goal to, for the week, all week, stay positive. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. It definitely wasn’t. I consider myself a realist by nature, so staring down the barrel of some particularly crappy situations and choosing to not let it get the better of you, it’s tough. But, I’m here to say that it is do-able.

As mentioned in a post earlier on this week, my mom’s healthy. Which that, that is reason enough to be eternally thankful.

Other positive things that happened this week? I’ve been babysitting my brother’s dog for the past couple of days. He’s actually done a lot for brightening my mood. I was trying to pin point why this dog was making me so happy and it was really my brother that hit the nail on the head with why Jaxon (the dog) is so nice to have around.

“Jaxon is really growing on me!” I texted him.

“Yeah, he’s a pretty great dog to have around. He listens well and he just always seems to be in a good mood.” He texted back.

That’s it. That’s it right there. This dog is always in a good mood. He’s always got a ‘dog smile’ on his face. He wags his tail like he’s excited to be everywhere and involved in anything. He loves attention but he also loves when we leave him alone. He prances around like he doesn’t weigh 100 pounds and he’s totally unaware that there’s anything bad in this world. I realize that I sound crazy as I’m talking about a dog in this way, but it’s just… so heartwarming to be around him. I truly believe that pets make us better. And this dog, he definitely has made me better this week.

One thing that has been an extremely important mood booster to me this week was all of the introductions that I got to read on my blog. Making a post asking for introductions, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get. Honestly, I was expecting maybe five-to-ten people to respond, tops. The responses that I got were really overwhelming. It was so special to me to be able to read about so many of you, and to learn more. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This space, this wordpress world, has been such a safe space for me over the past six months. My mind is truly blown with how many wonderful people I’ve crossed paths with on wordpress. Honestly, if I could go back in time, I would tell myself to make a wordpress account a lot sooner than I did.

Another moment that was extremely important during my week was taking my niece and nephew out for slurpees. B and V (she’s V too as she’s named after me) went to get slurpees/screamers, and as we were walking to the till with their cups full of sugar, B patted me on the arm and said ‘Auntie, thank you so much!’ Naturally, I asked him why he was thanking me. His response: ‘Because you just make things so much better. You make me feel better and you make everything better. It’s so nice to have you around. And I’m not just saying that because you’re buying me ice cream’. I nearly teared up there in the store. I didn’t, because he’s 10 and would totally make fun of me for that. But I wanted to. Such a nice compliment from a ten year old kid. If he get understand that now, at 10, imagine what he’s going to be like when he grows up!

There’s definitely been some negative things happening. There’s definitely been some things that made me anxious and scared. But, overall, I would say that I made some serious headway in being able to deal with those things, cope with those things or completely see past those things.

The power of positivity is real.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start leaving notes about things that I like about myself on the end of my blog posts. Why? I’m trying to boos my own self-esteem, so I want to think of more positives. I also think that it’ll be nice, when I look back on these posts one day in the future, to be able to see that I ended each post with a positive note. So, here goes:

I really like my eyes. They’re a really nice ocean-blue colour and I get complimented on them a lot. I don’t mean that in a cocky way, I just mean that of all the things people can be complimented on, I’m frequently complimented as having beautiful eyes. They definitely are attention grabbing when you see me.

Eric Church – Kill a Word

I’ve got this theory. The theory is that there are two types of people in this world: music people and lyric people.

The lyric people, they tend to be more analytical in nature, pouring over every line to determine the true meaning behind a song, behind a moment and behind life. They interpret the hell out of everything that they do and all that happens to them.

Then there’s the music people. These are the people in this world who couldn’t care less about the lyrics, they simply like the song if it’s got a good beat to it, or if it’s music that matches their mood. They ‘go-with-the-flow’ and are more easily able to let things go when they need to.

Sometimes I think it might be easier to be a music person rather than a lyric person. But, since I’m obviously not, I’ll just say this… sometimes things have a way of finding you exactly when they need to. And for me, this often happens through song lyrics.

Here’s a song that’s meant a lot to me over the past couple of years, especially so on a day like today.

If I could kill a word and watch it die
I’d poison never, shoot goodbye
Beat regret when I felt I had the nerve
Yeah, I’d pound fear to a pile of sand
Choke lonely out with my bare hands
I’d hang hate so that it can’t be heard
If I could only kill a word

I’d take brokenness out back
And break heartbreak, stand there and laugh
Right in its face while shootin’ it the bird
I’d put upset down in its place
I’d squeeze the life out of disgrace
Lay over under six cold feet of dirt
If I could only kill a word

Give me sticks, give stones
Bend my body, break my bones
Use staff and rod to turn me black and blue
‘Cause you can’t unhear, you can’t unsay
But if were up to me to change
I’d turn lies and hate to love and truth
If I could only kill a word

I’d knock out temptation’s teeth
I’d sever evil, let it bleed
Then light up wicked, stand and watch it burn
I’d take vice and I’d take vile
And tie ’em up there with hostile
Hang ’em high and leave ’em for the birds
If I could only kill a word

So give me sticks, give stones
Bend my body, break my bones
Use staff and rod to turn me black and blue
‘Cause you can’t unhear, you can’t unsay
But if were up to me to change
I’d turn lies and hate to love and truth
If I could only kill a word
If I could only kill a word