Today’s Lesson: A Walk in the Park
August of 2010, it’s the dead of summer. The news is still filled with the tough economy, families struggling to make ends meet and college grads searching for jobs that don’t exist! In these times I know all of us can relate in some way to the struggle. While I might have what some consider a “good” job, I am no stranger to the things described above. Part of my job is to help this current group of college grads find a job and if I listen to the media each day describe our limited resources –THAT can be overwhelming! I’ve been on vacation from my job for the past week, but for some reason I just couldn’t shake the stress that I was feeling! And the reason for that was all the“background noise” providing the soundtrack for what was turning into an all too brief, anti-climatic vacation!
I found myself very restless during this much-needed vacation and I worry that I am going to be returning to work facing the same stress that I sought relief from. That “background noise” that I mentioned is my own negative self talk. You know that little voice in your head or your sub conscious self that is constantly nagging you. As a single mom who works hard at the 9-5 and dabbles in trying to build a small business of her own, I have these grandiose thoughts of what a vacation with my children SHOULD include. However, those thoughts are then met with my reality of struggling to make ends meet, and provide the necessities for myself and my children in this economy! Hence we had a Stay-cation (for those wondering-that’s nothing more than a term created to make people feel all “warm and fuzzy” about not having the money to take their family on a decent VACATION!). While I did spend some real quality time with my kids, I also spent a lot of time reading (other blogs), watching more news than usual and feeling guilty for NOT working! Then finally in the last day of my stay-cation it hit me….I was creating my stress! I was falling prey to the “background noise” that I AM IN CONTROL OF and I realized something….I can change that “noise” to MUSIC! Suddenly I realized I had much to be grateful for and I thought I would share more of my story with you.
It really wasn’t that long ago that I was a job-seeker, and a new mother! In 2008, I moved back to my hometown of Philadelphia with a new-born and a one year old in tow. It was IMPERATIVE that I found a job, to say the least. On August 5, 2008 (I was organized so I know the date) I applied for the job I now hold. This of course was NOT the 1st job I applied for, there were several others. I can remember many, if not ALL of them because I was pretty selective about where I sent my resume. Much to the chagrin of some of my friends and family who often chimed in with their opinions and insight about where I should work, and how I need to get to work as soon as possible! They meant well, but I don’t think people realize how impactful their unsolicited advice can be on the fragile confidence of an un-employed job seeker, particularly during a recession! I was bombarded with advice, opinions, unemployment statistics, reports of slow job recovery, etc but I made a concerted effort to control my “background noise” and remained focused on my goal….to find my IDEAL job. While no job was perfect, only I knew what I needed and wanted from my next job and I was determined to get it.
Fast forward 2 years later and I am still dealing with “background noise”. Instead of allowing stress to enter…. today I chose to take a walk in the park and it completely changed my perspective on our stay-cation! While I might not have been able to take my children on the lavish vacation of my dreams, we really did enjoy each other and the blessings that we do have.
Today I literally took my family to a picnic in a large secluded park for a little relief from my “background noise”. Instead of being overwhelmed by the news reports and media I had read, I can filter out what I don’t need and make use of the other information. I urge you through this story to STAY FOCUSED!
Whether you are un-employed or under-employed, looking to change careers or just trying to survive this economy, the road may seem narrow and tough to navigate, but it can lead to a pleasant river valley that represents your VISION if you walk on with confidence in your plan. So take a break….you’d be surprised how enlightening a little walk in the park can be.