Oh Happy Day!

WE HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT!!

And now that that wonderful news is out of the way, I have something else to say.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Hello and happy autumn, fellow connections and friends! The last few months have generated some really special highs and several uneasy lows, including ending my employment with Nike during the midst of a global pandemic. In May, I took a planned leave from the team as my contract ended, but as Covid numbers rose, the uncertainty about my future and going back to Nike started becoming much more questionable. There are so many parts at play that piece together our everyday lives, and they are all under siege; normal is not a word that anyone uses with a straight face these days.

I kept my ear to the ground about any future possibilities, knowing my end goal was to be an editor with my outstanding team again. Between checking in with my Nike manager and applying to approximately 999 jobs, I realized just how convoluted the market is at this point. I’m happy to say that the manifestation worked! I’m returning to Nike for a second contract as a product editor. I’m so thrilled to be back with my team, I’m grateful to be employed during this unprecedented time, and I’m very excited to see where this journey takes me. 

An anecdotal addendum: As someone who was born a tail-end Gen Xer, I was raised with the values of that generation as well as those of my Baby Boomer parents. I had the mindset that once I scored a job I excelled in, I should stay there as long as humanly possible and that I would (maybe, hopefully, someday) move up the ladder if I was really lucky. That’s the path I assumed I was taking with my last employer, M Financial. After 14 years of service, the corporate party line caught up with me and I was let go in a group layoff. I felt completely heartbroken and resentful. In reality, I was painfully naive. I had expected loyalty from a corporation, and Shakespeare nailed it when he wrote, “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” 

Once the anger melted away and I realized the unexpected boon of being a free agent, I dove into the writing world. It was not an easy transition. My background was broad in a way that didn’t actually help me. Being a jack of all trades was not what employers were looking for. (Wearing many hats is characteristic of most communications positions, but it’s not necessarily a blessing when narrowing the desired field to writer/editor.) I was unemployed for 7 terrifying months because I refused to settle for another job that would leave me wanting more. 

When I walked into orientation for my position with Nike, I realized I had done it. I had pulled myself out of the old school and established myself in the career that I actually wanted. The unexpected circumstances I found myself in created an opportunity that I might never have found without the extra kick of forced unemployment. 

Books Are Our Friends—Part II

As the gorgeous state of Oregon burns around me, I take this time to meditate on healing. Healing the earth, our hearts, and our world dogma. And, because I promised myself I would, even though I’m feeling on edge and don’t particularly want to, I am catching up on my writing, including a sequel to my blog post about my dearest friends: books. This—writing—helps me heal. I hope you are finding your own ways to heal during this dark time. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

Some say that listening to an audiobook is not an effective way to fill our brains with information because of the lack of engagement. Think about all the things we do while we listen to audiobooks: clean the house, go for a run, wash the dishes, and most commonly, drive. Do you feel that you are able to fully engage with a book if you’re doing something else while you listen? Are old fashioned books better because they demand more of our focus? (If you read the first installment of this post, you already know that I prize old-timey paper and glue.) 

I am curious what my readers think about this, because I assume you are all avid readers. But here’s the thing. I don’t actually want to write about cognition today. Unless it’s a textbook or for work, I have a choice on how I take in information. If I want to listen to Gone Girl while belly dancing, I’ll do it. I’m not going to—it’s a waste of both a great book and quality dance time. But, if I really needed to multitask this way, I certainly could.

Today, I want to write about a different aspect of the listening-versus-reading debate. To me, the thing that stands out is not the cognition, but the experience I have with the words themselves. I’ll give you a few examples. 

Bill Bryson’s humble, foible-filled travel writing always makes me giggle. I adore Bryson’s writing because it takes me on a journey right beside him. I’m there while he’s hiking the Appalachian Trail, listening for the shuffling of bears and glancing over his shoulder every mile or so to make sure Katz hasn’t dropped dead. I harrumph with him through small town America, where one cannot simply walk to the 7-Eleven—everything must be managed through personal transportation. At least once a chapter, I stumble upon a line so authentic that it makes me chuckle to myself. Bryson doesn’t hold back on the embarrassing indignities of real life, and I love that about him. He spells every single detail out without me having to think about it. Therefore, it’s very easy to listen to him on the way to Costco. I can easily perform other activities because I don’t have to work that hard to be satiated.

Conversely, from the moment I pressed play on Delia Owens’ audiobook, Where the Crawdads Sing, I knew I wouldn’t be able to merely listen to this book. This was a book to be read with my eyes. This was a collection of words that needed to be rolled around in, as in a warm mud flat on the edge of a bayou. Delicious words that looked and felt sumptuous, that needed to be feasted upon visually as well as internally. Immediately, I turned it off so as not to ruin the experience further. 

Did you catch the difference there? Bryson paints the picture for you, while Owens makes you paint the picture yourself, do some of the heavy lifting. Have you ever started listening to an audiobook and then turned it off because you could tell it would be better to read? Just me? Personally, I love helping out with the heavy lifting. It makes my brain happy. So, now I wait for Where the Crawdads Sing to pop up in my queue at the library. Some books are worth the wait. 

Today

I will honor the silence.
I will do what feels good.
I will not be self critical.
I will love myself.
I will respect my choices.
I will have an attitude of gratitude.
I will be creative.
I will listen to the messages when they come in.
I will learn that I can do these things every day, one day at a time.
34