Saturday, October 22, 2011

The plan

I think I'm finally getting the concept of being "in the moment." Not that I have internalized this idea (yet)--I just understand it better now. So much of my time is spent worrying, not just thinking, about what-if scenarios that I don't reflect on the past or enjoy the present. What I tend to see as practical (If I don't worry about every single thing right now, I'll never be prepared!) hurts my ability to effectively handle problems as they come.

Again, there's a difference between thinking and worrying. Thinking is practical. Worrying is a waste of time and energy. Thinking is something I do actively; worrying is something I do compulsively.

I've started to worry again about my future in terms of my career, my imminent lack of health insurance, and my choice of where to live. When my marriage ended, I gave myself a year to live in Monterey and see if I could thrive here. May seems like a long time from now, but it's really only 7 months. The compulsiveness is setting in, and I've started the manic searches online. But on the drive home from one of my three jobs today (before I headed off to my next job) I came up with a plan to keep me sane and get the most out of the present:

(First, a little background. I have about 7 weeks left for the current semester. The plan goes into effect at that time. What I have lined up for sure is one part-time teaching job at the college along with 2-3 steady Zumba classes each week at the gym. I can survive on this income January--May. Next summer might pose a problem since my income from the college will be less. I have money in savings for the proverbial rainy day.)

  • I'll job-hunt only on certain days of the week, so I don't torment myself day after day. If I set aside specific time, I can put more thought into the documents I'm sending to potential employers rather than just firing off emails 10 minutes before I have to go somewhere, and maybe I can take the time to think more creatively about where I should be applying. 
  • I'll look only for career-building jobs. I will only consider jobs that I believe will help me advance in a field that I actually want to advance in. My choices are to find a part-time job that fits this description to supplement my other two jobs, or find a full-time job that replaces the job at the college. 
  • I will not look for jobs outside the Monterey area. The point of my choice to stay here is that I want to stay here. That's the goal. If I start thinking about other places, then I'll lose focus on that. Plus, preference is almost always given to local applicants. If I want to get a job somewhere else, I'll probably need to move there first or have an inside connection. That was one of the reasons I stayed put--my recent job experience is here, so I'm more likely to get hired here than somewhere else.
  • If I cannot find a career-building job, then I will use the extra time in my schedule for me-building. Maybe I'll take some workshops, attend lectures, volunteer, read, work on hobbies, network, and enjoy the Monterey Peninsula. This part of the plan is really important. I want to feel like regardless of my job or financial security, I am growing and improving. This is where living in the moment comes in. 

In May, I'll reevaluate my situation if I haven't found a long-term, sustainable career and income. But not until then. Until then, my goal is being worry-free.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Occupy Santa Cruz

Yesterday, I went with a couple friends to occupy Santa Cruz. The timing was perfect because the group marched at about 4:00--just in time for the start of rush hour.

 My friend Ruth's sign.

The march lasted for about an hour, and we went to three banks in Santa Cruz. We stayed in front of each one for a few minutes and then continued on. The best part were the drivers who passed by and honked, waved, or gave us the thumbs up. Their enthusiasm for what we were doing made it all worth it. We had police with us the whole time, but they didn't give anyone any trouble. We were a very peaceful group.

Ruth led everyone in a chant of "Stand up, fight back." She was great! I didn't know where she'd gone until suddenly she was addressing the crowd. Did I mention this was my first protest? It wasn't her first.

One news story I saw said that we had 200 people, but that figure seems a little high. I do think it grew as we marched. Maybe we picked up some people along the way. When I saw that Santa Cruz had an Occupy protest, I decided to go because I wanted to do my part for something that I believe--just maybe--has the power to influence real change for once.

If you are looking for an Occupy event near you, I suggest looking here first. As someone at the march said, "Join us! Don't just watch us on the news."

I am a regular person. I am hardworking. I am employed and financially stable (for now). I am insured (until December). I am generally a law-abiding citizen. I am compassionate. I am pissed off about our government that does not represent the will of the people or the spirit of our constitution. I am not Robin Hood. I am concerned about the prosperity of our nation. I am the 99% and so are you. 

Monday, October 3, 2011


I've just spent the last 20-30 minutes reading this page, dedicated to the 99% and those who are occupying Wall Street now. When I read this post in particular, I cried.

I don't even want to say much more, except this: Whatever your political leanings, don't be dumb. Just because you're "lucky" now, just because you're employed or without much debt doesn't mean that this doesn't concern you.