In the past week, things have really started to ramp up in my life again.  With the passing of Labor Day, and entering the new month, my life has taken a decidedly busier course of action, and for that I am very thankful.

I have been out and meeting new people here in Portland, Oregon, for the first time since mid-summer.  I have found it rather a challenge to work up the courage to actually say hello to people I meet here, and this is the first time I’ve experienced this in a very long time.  I don’t know what has changed in me, but I’m just not really that focused on being social – something totally unheard of for me.  Still, on occasion, I find myself in the company of a person of interest, and once I can get over myself, the effect has been great.

The one thing that really holds me back from being my normal,usual, outgoing self is the employment factor.  I have lamented for well over two months now about the fact that I am still seeking a job.  Thankfully, over the past two weeks, the languishing and wondering with each application I send out has started to produce some results.  I have my name in with over six different places, one being a staffing agency I met with today that has some promising leads for me, and there are more hiring events and things in my future.  This is all good because I need to start supporting myself fiscally again.  I need to find my way forward, and I can only do that with gainful employment.  What  I wasn’t prepared for, though, was how closely tied having a job is to me being secure enough to even say hello to anyone.

What I’ve discovered is that there are a LOT of people here in Portland who are in my shoes.  When the show “Portlandia” mentioned that this city is where young people go to retire, it is mostly true.  A large swath of people just like me, highly educated and looking for a real career, have taken part-time jobs with few benefits simply because they have to make ends meet, and they are still looking and applying for the dream job.  I’ve also found that because there are so many people like me here, when I mention that I’m “seeking employment” barely a pause is made.  The next question is “What are you looking to do?”  There are lots of folks who simply just breeze over it and it’s not a big deal.  Like so many other things here, it’s just laid back.  The people I have chatted with and gotten to know are so kind, so easy-going, and actually really resourceful too.

On a wider scale, the last few weeks has also borne out the fact that I have some really good connections in my life.  I have been struggling with stuff, and daily, sometimes more than once a day, someone I never even thought was paying attention reaches out to cheer me up and keep me buoyant.  For now, all I can do is be ever-so thankful.  One day, I hope to be in a place to offer a return favor or shoulder of support to those who have been here for me now.  It seems even those I make just the barest of contact with are willing to listen and offer suggestions.  Right now, at this place in my life, I am very open to all of this, and being very receptive.  I’m learning to not be so damn stubborn.  I’m learning to admit when I’ve made mistakes and misjudgments, but also how to forgive myself and move forward.

If anything, this massive journey west, beginning on Independence Day in 2010, was the journey I needed to get me to this place of self-respect, self-awareness, and love of myself.

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