Monday, January 28, 2008

Jobs and Feelings

It's been several months since I've posted anything significant about my life, rather than a bunch of book reviews. So. Here goes.

I'm still working at the used bookstore. Our computer system sucks, but in spite of that my favorite tasks right now are on the computer. Adding our used books to the inventory, little by little. Checking and correcting inventory for some of our special locations, like the bestseller area. Checking the books that sold to see how well they sell in general and whether we need to reorder them. Occasionally taking the initiative to order a book I think is awesome, and putting it in one of my displays when it comes. It still doesn't pay well, and I'm keeping an eye out for other jobs, although I'm not putting in applications as often as I need to. I hate everything about job searching.

I've also started to keep an eye out for people who want someone to practice English with them. If I can get a few jobs like that, and it goes well, I might try to start teaching English more formally. We'll see. And, of course, I still need to order Pimsleur 3 if I'm ever going to learn Japanese well enough to be a translator. That's a more long-term goal, though. Teaching English could maybe work in the interim? And while I'm building up translation experience? I don't know... Considering how little I'm doing in the job search category, I really have had a lot of ideas. For example, I could take some Spanish classes geared to increasing fluency enough to be a court interpreter. That's a job that would be at least somewhat fun (hooray for languages!) and would pay well, too. Downside: the startup cost of taking more classes. Can't afford anything right now. On the easier-to-begin side there's substitute work -- I think you just have to take one test -- but unlike John, I don't want to be a teacher (except maybe teaching English, which would have that language element to make it fun), and I don't think I'd like that job. And while I'm working at the bookstore I could only get substitute jobs on Mondays anyway, which I want to keep as my day off. Another fun job idea: I could become a librarian. Downside: cost of classes. You see how it is. (= I guess the English teaching idea is one of the better ideas, since I can start very slowly. Meh.

Not a lot else going on. We went to see John's family over Christmas, in Wheaton, Illinois. It snowed a few days after Christmas, which was great fun. We had a snowball fight, and made a snowman (my first). Pictures to follow.

Emotionally, I'm slowly doing better these days, after a rather bad spell. Abby gave me The Pathway for Christmas, which is why I'm doing better. I've told several of you about it. The concept is that children are supposed to learn to self-nurture and limit set from their parents (if they have the skills), and that if they don't learn these things, they won't be able to keep themselves emotionally balanced, and will naturally seek external solutions, which can become addictions, whether the "hard" addictions of drugs and alcohol or the "soft" addictions of food or well, anything imaginable, pretty much. This much seems to be pretty well documented in psychological literature. So how do you gain these skills, if you don't have them? The author's method (which, unless she's lying outright, has an amazing success rate), is to have you ask yourself several questions on a regular basis. You ask how you're feeling, and, if you're not balanced at the moment, go through the major feelings -- anger, sadness, fear, and guilt. You let yourself feel everything, answering the question with many, "I'm feeling ___ because ______" statements. You don't censor yourself. Of course, feeling all those overwhelming emotions isn't a safe place to stay. Next comes the limit setting. You ask yourself if your expectations are reasonable. In general, when you're hating yourself or wishing you could just die (for example), your expectations are about as far from reasonable as you can get. You figure out what your expectations are and what a reasonable expectation would be. I already knew I expected some ridiculous things from myself, but something about going through this whole process, and repeatedly, is so very helpful. Instead of just hating myself and knowing it's because I expect myself to be perfect, but not seeming to be able to stop, I figure out exactly how ridiculous my expectation is, figure out what a realistic goal is, and I calm down, even become happy, as I think, "I just need to do ___. I can do that!" I often remind myself that it's okay that I was horribly depressed or that I numbed myself by spending hours watching TV or reading, because it's realistically going to take me a while to build these skills, and that's fine. Anyway. Then comes the question about what the essential pain is -- what pain will I realistically have to go through? And then, what is the earned reward? Sometimes the answer is something like, "I'm not perfect, but I don't have to be." Then you ask yourself what you need, and whether you need support. As you go through a "cycle", your brain pops you back into emotional balance -- a lovely feeling! Sometimes, with strong depression, you sink back down again really fast -- she says it takes around two years of building the links in the brain that favor balance before that becomes the more natural state, for most people. But that's okay. Every bit of balance is waaay better than the alternative.

P.S. I know I can be prone to trying new things all the time, going from one "solution" to another. I don't think that's what this is. Yes, I'm currently more excited about The Pathway than FlyLady, but not because The Pathway has replaced FlyLady. They use many of the same principles, The Pathway just goes a little farther and may be more helpful to those whose perfectionism is seriously entrenched. Truth is truth, and doesn't compete with itself. They're both about loving and taking care of yourself and building new habits, and I fully intend to continue on with FlyLady while I do my cycles.

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