I haven’t known what to post for a long time. You see, I was hit with a bomb in late October… “you’re being laid off in two weeks.” And while this isn’t nearly the worst thing that could happen, I still found myself confused about how a place I put so much of myself into could let me go so easily and scared about how I was going to make ends meet and keep food on the table. I don’t have an emergency fund since I was investing in the development of my photography and counting on the full-time job’s monthly salary to live. As many people know first-hand themselves, this is not the best time to be needing to look for work in America, let alone in the field of public horticulture, one of the many areas hit hard by budget cuts and philanthropic decline. As I grew past the shock and initial fright over the last two months, I realized that unemployment will help for a while and I have a loving partner who will not let me go hungry or without shelter, a gift I cannot be thankful enough for.
I had already applied to distance learning graduate school in September wanting to pursue an advanced degree in Critical & Creative Thinking at the University of Massachusetts while working, bridging horticulture and photography in a personally meaningful way that would help advance my career. Last week I received the wonderful news that I have been accepted for the program. But the lay off has removed my funding sources and I need to brainstorm some funding possibilities while looking for employment and trying to sell photographic prints. I’m committed to finding a creative solution but welcome any advice in this area since it’s been years since I’ve been in the scholarship/granting circles.
So with all these details running in the background and the holidays slowing any progress on the job front, I find myself wondering what winter this year will be like. I’ve been running at 100mph most days these past two months looking for employment. But the holiday week has been a real gift, a time to slow down and reflect, a time to really talk with those closest to me. The time between has begun… a time between to awake my soul.
Winter will be time to think, to ponder, to photograph… to listen to myself closely, to reconnect with my truth and discover a new direction on my path. I’ve been reflecting on how many people define themselves by the work they do rather than the person they are before work. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed work. But work is something to do to earn a living in this world; it’s something you do, not something you are. So now I find myself wondering more than ever how I want to spend the next 50 years of my life. I know this about myself. I need to create. I need to connect with nature on a spiritual level. I need and value the people close to me. I also have faith in the process so I don’t doubt that things will work out well and that the journey will be one I will learn much from. But it’s still difficult to make time for meaningful reflection and imagining what could be… but this week of reflection has reawakened just enough of my soul that I cannot help but commit to making time in January, winter, so I’ll be ready for whatever spring gifts me.