This is a tough time. Life ebbs and flows, and we each, in turn, experience happiness and pain, elation and depression, triumph and defeat; one can not always have it easy, good, or your own way. What would life be like if that were the case? We’d have to call it something else.

So, those who know me know that this year, 2008, has been a particularly tough one in that I have spent the entire year (and the preceding six months) unemployed. Now, my overall life circumstances are not that down-trodden or dire, but since we’re all the lead character in our own lives, when something befalls us it often seems particularly harsh. As I write this, and the financial realities of the nation have played out over the last three or four months, I fear more and more that many of my friends and dear ones will come to understand what I’ve been through first hand.

Every year, the Xmas holidays are a time to take stock, but it seems there’s an extra edge to that process for me this year. While I won’t use this public space as the place to unfurl all my internal entanglements (you folks have better things to do with your time… I hope), I would like to share that despite the challenges of the past twelve (o.k., nineteen) months, I have been lucky to be able to be home with family to celebrate the holidays, and to be surrounded by friends, both new and old.

Last night, I drove out to a small gathering of old High School friends; it’s amazing to me on some level that we’ve kept in touch all these years (facilitated, to be sure, by the stubborn and persistent prodding by one of those among us). There is a special joy in being able to keep in touch, and to watch the process of growth, both in myself and in them, and in having some of my own self reflected back at me (at a time when there’s been very little coming back; those of us among the unemployed job hunters will tell you, these days it’s almost as if you’ve rolled up your resumé, put it in a glass bottle, and sent it adrift on the tide, hoping it will catch someone’s attention; it’s rare to even receive a rejection phone call, email, or letter). 

These gatherings are even more spectacular to me when I remember that many of us no longer live in the same state, some are tackling family and child-rearing obligations, and that we often have divisive view points politically, socially, or even religiously. Yet some how, the bond we share by virtue of our shared adolescent experience, and perhaps perpetual curiosity of how this journey called life unfolds, keeps us coming back to banter, wisecrack, and check in with one another.

So on this day, I’m doing my best to let my sleeping dogs (joblessness, anger over Prop 8 and the financial bailout situation, and general anxiety over what the future may or may not hold) lay, and focus on the gifts I have in my life that always keep giving.

Happy Holidays to you and yours…

with Maureen, PR reading, Somerville, Oct. 2008

with Maureen, PR readthru, Somerville, Oct. 2008

Originally uploaded by sdmonty

Update: the writing process continues, but got a much needed boost this past week; Bryan and I conspired with various friends in two cities, and thanks to my pre-planned “vacation” (can you really call it that when you’ve been unemployed as long as I have?), we met up with folks in NYC and in Boston to read through our work in progress.

Much thanks to those friends who came out to help us out, giving up free time on Thursday and Sunday night, as well as giving their thoughts, insights, and spot-on criticism and critique; we came away with much grist for the mill, and have begun the arduous, but fun, task of putting this fresh perspective into play in the 2nd draft.