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Friday, November 14, 2008

now that the dust has settled...

i know, it's been a long time since i last wrote anything. and honestly, i really haven't been in the mood to gather my thoughts, much less write them down and make them sound halfway intelligible. at least not until now, now that things seem to have settled down and some semblance of normalcy has returned to my life.

you see, soon after i blissfully floated back to LA from my recent trip to peru -- where i spent a couple of days exploring the awesome ruins of machu picchu, plus a few more visiting other sacred inca sites -- i was immediately caught up in a maelstrom of ups and downs, hellos and goodbyes, sunny skies and dark clouds. considering that i spent most of the past month in a zombie-like state, it's surprising that i managed to come through it intact.

where to start? might as well start with my first day back at work...

i walked into the office, barely awake from my late-night arrival the day before, happy to see all my fellow cubicle-dwellers who were equally eager to see me as well as the pictures i had brought with me. they were also curious to find out what was in the pastry box i had hand-carried all the way from south america. it was a torta de mana, a marzipan-glazed white cake that was layered with apricot jam and majar blanco, something akin to dulce de leche. i had tasted a slice while at a gourmet bakery in the miraflores neighborhood of lima and decided that it was a delicacy that i had to share with my friends back home.

everyone continued to buzz by my desk all morning. i think i told the same story so many times that ken, the guy on the other side of my cubicle, had pretty much memorized the highlights of my trip -- the ruins, the llamas, the food, the shopping. so while he filled in the late-arrivers with his version of what happened, i finally had a chance to fire up my email and check to see what had piled up in my inbox. it was the usual assortment of meeting invites and requests for information. buried among them, though, was a note that merely said: call me. it was from my contracting agency. it sounded ominous.

i called in, and as i had suspected, it wasn't good news. my contract was due for renewal at the end of the month, and while i was on vacation, my manager had gone over the project schedule and decided that there wasn't enough work for me to do to justify granting me an extension. end of story. he did throw in an extra week, just so i had at least two weeks' notice after i got back from vacation. so gallant of him.

so there i was, a good amount of money in the hole from my ten-day trek, with the holidays just around the corner, and the economy (and job prospects) tanking. and now i was on the verge of having to file for unemployment like the millions of others ahead of me. i was immediately on the phone to every headhunter, every friend, every colleague -- anyone who could possibly have a job lead of any sort. and their responses to me were identical: shoot me a copy of your resume and i'll see what i can do.

depression has this funny way of turning your life upside down. to show you how bad things were, i don't believe i took a single yoga class that entire week, only because all i wanted to do was go home after work and veg in front of the tv (it didn't help that the elections were drawing closer and my listening to what the candidates had to say seemed more interesting than doing a downward dog).

long story short, after moping around for a couple of days then finally getting my act together, i came up with a resume that was decent enough to send out. the headhunters agreed that it contained all the appropriate buzzwords and job descriptions, so they checked their job postings and sent my employment history on its merry way.

thankfully, it didn't take long before i started getting phone calls. would i be able to schedule an interview right away? heck yeah!

in the meantime, while all of that was going on, i still had to get myself ready for a marathon that next weekend. i was about to run 26.2 miles way out in indianapolis, and whether i was in the mood for it or not, i had to figure out how to get through that in one piece. i was in trouble -- physically, because the longest distance i had run was a mere 17 miles, and mentally, because i just couldn't seem to focus on the task at hand.

next thing i knew, i was on the red-eye to chicago, with a short turbo-prop connection to indianapolis. this time, i was traveling alone. and all that alone time somehow allowed me to do whatever i wanted to do whenever i felt like it, even if that "whatever" was absolutely nothing. i walked around the downtown area and visited monuments and memorials. i drove around indianapolis in search of the nearest whole foods market -- which turned out to be almost 10 miles away! -- and stopped to check out the neighborhoods along the way. i even had a chance to check out a couple of yoga studios while i was there (and i'll post my thoughts about those later). things were looking up; the old me was making a comeback.

race morning. the weather forecast called for temps in the high 60's (higher than normal for that time of year) and sunny skies. the starting signal went off, i took a deep breath, and started running. and kept running. occasional leg and foot cramps had me slowing down to a walk, but the moment the pain eased up, i was back to running again. i may have been taking it easy to conserve whatever energy i had left, but i was feeling good, so good that i taunted some guys on the home stretch that i was right on their heels. they beat me anyway, but what the heck; it was fun making them work :)

i finished with a respectable time. it wasn't a PR for me, by any means, but it was still an hour FASTER than the last marathon i dragged my butt through five months earlier! yeah!

back in LA, with one more week to go at work, time just flew by. every day was another lunch with another group of friends at the office who wanted to wish me the best. cuban, japanese, german, indian, with an after-hours happy hour thrown in for good measure. i knew it was going to be hard to leave all the wonderful people i had worked with, but at least i knew that no matter the distance, we would still keep in touch.

on my last day, i packed up my belongings, turned in my badge, exchanged goodbyes, and headed straight for the airport, this time bound for philadelphia to celebrate my youngest daughter's 21st birthday with her. despite the rainy days and windy nights, we managed to spend time together eating, shopping, and bonding -- and contrary to what everyone thinks, i did NOT get her drunk nor spring for a keg for her dorm roommates. and best of all, not only did i find time for some yoga classes while i was there, but a kirtan, too! (again, stay tuned for another post about that).

visits with loved ones never seem long enough; before i knew it, i was back at home once again . but with entire days now at my disposal and no job in the immediate future, i've come to the realization that i've reached a turning point in my life, and that it's up to me to make the most of the situation.

which includes my being able to check out what's going on in the LA yoga scene -- classes, events, what-have-you. come to think of it, being out of work doesn't seem so painful after all, does it?

so now that i've finally gotten the past month off my chest, things should soon return to normal. or to at least what seems normal to me :)

it's good to be back!