My prayers recently have been asking a lot to send me a sense of purpose. I guess to me purpose means job, a title and a paycheck once a month. I want to get dressed up every morning, ride the tube again with my 'metro' in hand. I want to have my own income, to be able to treat myself to a new top or a facial without having to ask James or worrying about spending too much of 'his' money. When people ask what I do I don't want to fib anymore and tell them a made up title.
I'm embarrassed about my unemployment. I'm embarrassed with what people think of me and the fact when I say the last full-time job I had was 2007 it usually brings judgment like "what's wrong with you, or aren't you applying for positions?" Well, there's nothing wrong with me. I have sent off countless applications. I've just been a bit unlucky.
I probably didn't think things through before I first moved here and didn't have a Plan B if I lost the job that initially brought me over. For the last 10 years I've been flailing around trying to fix things with my career but it hasn't worked. The long-term temp jobs that have kept me here have dried up and besides some short term work here and there and an internship, my last full time work was far too long ago.
Its painful to say that I've struggled to understand why this has happened. I've wondered (and still do) if its because I'm an American in a foreign country or if its just 'me'. I've thought well maybe if I return to the states it would somehow magically become easier. Well, probably not. I'd still have the same issues no matter if I lived in Italy, England, Paris, China or the states....I'd need a job.
I thought that music was my purpose and I did everything I was supposed to and studied it at school. I'm the only child in my immediate family with a 4 year degree. But, as always, the universe has had other ideas and completely threw any plans I had for my life out the window.
The resources out there to help people here in this type of situation are reserved obviously for U.K. citizens. I'm not sure if it would have helped anyway. When James was unemployed, he tried getting help only to be thrown into a huge sea of bureaucracy.
I get discouraged when I hear reports of employers only hiring those that are already employed. Networking seems to mean hiring people you know...your friends which frankly seems unfair. Going back to school isn't an option when you have no income and loans would only make a person's financial situation worse (if you could get approved at all). How are you supposed to improve your life when you aren't lacking motivation but the means to do it? What's the point of even considering leaving the country to get a job when that too requires financial resources. It isn't like packing up all your belongings and traveling to the next city. I live in a foreign country. Its complicated.
Something like this strips you raw and its hard to find hope some days. I'm seriously stuck and not surprised that I've struggled off and on with major depression. However, when things seem the worst and you feel you can't handle it anymore...the blessings come. I'm having to completely rebuild my life from scratch which is a good thing. I've discovered photography (I even opened a shop) and writing which is something I've never thought I'd ever get into EVER. I'm considering writing a memoir about my last 10 years abroad that maybe might just inspire others. In April, I will be completing my first marathon here in London. I'm learning to embrace uncertainty and the loneliness is being replaced with a gratitude and a connection with other things like nature and every day beauty that I see.
Looking at my life in perspective, my prayers HAVE been answered. I already have a sense of purpose just not how I expected it right now. I'm starting to actually LIVE and worry less. I can't tell you how much I'd love a decent paycheck ....but it will come. The universe/God hasn't forgotten me. I just need a little faith in the unknown and faith in myself that I can deal with whatever comes.
In the meantime, I'm grateful that James has been blessed with work at his dream job at the Houses of Parliament. I'm grateful that I've never gone hungry or that my situation isn't worse than it could be. (Boy could it be worse) I'm grateful for these experiences and who its made me into. I kind of like who I'm becoming. I know that I have a lot to share with the world and day by day I'm getting stronger and finding my voice.
I'm not going away anytime soon and I'm not going to give up. I'm going to keep applying, keep working on the new things that have come my way and just take one day at a time.