Optimism. Just as I as was beginning to doubt, proof of positivism arrived. Since I posted My Jobs Report Month 11, I’ve had calls from three prospective employers (interviews begin next week), and as another entry in the category of “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up”, I won an iPad. I’ve been buttressing my optimism with internal supports for so long that I’ve had to adjust to external positive proof. The interviews lifted my mood, relaxed many muscles, and gave me some IFs to play with. All of that is much appreciated. (Check the Comments section of the job post for updates.) An unexpected iPad adds a marvelous cornerstone. Something tangible to remind me that optimism can be real.
Thank you South Whidbey Record, the local semi-weekly newspaper that covers details that would be lost in the big city papers. I’ve never tracked it, but I suspect I end up in the paper about once a month. Let’s see. There’s the annual attempt at moderation around the Fourth of July fireworks (yes to public fireworks, no to the private illegal fireworks – because illegal is so common that it overwhelms local police despite bomb-sniffing dogs at the ferries.) There are my classes, usually the ones about self-publishing, which are almost monthly. There are my art exhibits, which I really could promote more. There are my book events. And then there are dances, volunteering, and generally being social and visible. Being visible is easy in the Record’s neighborhood (even though they moved north) because there aren’t many of us despite its size. Such is island life.
As money got tight I dutifully eliminated expenses. The necessities were obvious and I continue to pay them. Some luxuries became obviously worth less than they cost. Goodbye satellite TV. Hello streaming. Inevitably there were expenses that were for useful goods and services. I hesitated when the newspaper and magazine subscriptions came in because most of them are available online. But despite my finances, there are things that I wanted to support. Various charities continue to receive contributions, though the amounts are smaller. Local newspapers provide a service, and while I wasn’t going to consider them a charity, and I couldn’t buy big print ads, I knew that getting the paper in the box twice a week provided me a tangible connection with my community. I’d support that. And yet I hesitated because as money gets too tight, sentiment must defer to necessity.
Then I saw their ad. They had an ad in their own paper. I suspect they get a good rate. But the ad was for a contest. Renew your subscription and sign up to win an iPad. I’ve gotten so tired of facebook scams about winning iPads that I laughed. I was pretty sure that filling out the clipping wasn’t going to subject my computer to malware. I am very careful with my computer. I only have one, and it is the home for my business and everything else. All of my writing, my photos, and everything I needed to run my consulting business resided in one computer. It works well, though using a 13 inch screen to review photos that will be printed at 20 x 30 is a bit comical. Every time I carry it I am careful. Replacing it would be a hardship. Even if everything is properly backed up, the extra expense would hurt. So, why not? I filled out the form, sent in my money, kept the possibility in mind, but didn’t ponder it much.
Thursday I got the call. I was the winner. Could I swing by the office to pick it up? Oh yeah. They’ll take a picture of me for the paper and maybe have a little article. Sure! It’s not like I haven’t been in the paper before.
Thursday night I poured myself a drink, but instead of it being a drink to relax me from financial anxieties, it was a drink to encourage me to ponder and reset my attitude. Instead of cheap vodka (playfully turned into homemade spiced variants of martinis), I had some of the good scotch provided by a friend in appreciation for a consultation.
Optimist or pessimist, getting through tough times is, by definition, tough. Putting the tough times in the past though requires making that distinction, recognizing that those times were temporary. I don’t know if I’ll get job offers (though some of the phone calls have been very encouraging.) Live within tough times for too long and pessimism can persist or optimism can become abstract. Too many people spent too many decades living within the fears and anxieties they were subjected to for the years of the Great Depression. I’m not going to start acting as if my money worries are behind me. I’m pragmatic enough to save that celebration for after the paychecks, or my business revenues, or my investment proceeds, or some windfall have significantly shown up in my bank account. These last twelve months have severely drained my resources and dramatically increased my debt. There’a lot of catching up to do.
So, now I have an iPad. I have a computer that looks like it will handle a lot of the ways I electronically connect with people. It also can act as yet another backup for some of my business. And it gives me mobility, so when I get a call on cell phone while I’m away from home, I’ll be able to schedule that interview or consulting session or public speaking event during the call, instead of telling them I’ll call back when I get home. (Yeah, I know. A smartphone could handle the same thing, but I’m waiting for the next generation of phones that will include a MicroVision picoprojector.) Skip the long-winded verbiage. I won an iPad. Yeah! Let’s have some fun! Let’s have some fun watching Tom catch up to speed with the decade.
My iPad will help me relax, though remembering a password that meets Apple’s criteria has been a problem. I had to reset it or me four times last night. Apple seems to be getting as pesky as Microsoft at its most stringent. I’ll relax after I teaches me how to use it. Oo, that doesn’t sound very Apple-ish either.
Oh well, I am in the midst of adjustments. And that’s a good thing. Adjustments have just begun. I’ll learn how to use my iPad. My cell phone company called to tell me that I must replace my phone by the end of the year. It is so old that they are taking down the equipment that listens to it. (Come on MicroVision. I’m working to a deadline here.) I’m happy about the job interviews and possibilities, and I have applications in for dozens of other jobs. Something may get added to the list. Earnings season begins next week, at least for my portfolio. The August workshop is filling and coming up quick. (Postmark the check before August 1st and get 20% off.) My photos exhibits are extended into August. (Thank you Wind and Tide in Oak Harbor, and Braeburn in Langley.) And then the big season hits, as my fifth of five Whidbey Island photo essays premiers at Raven Rocks Gallery in Greenbank in September. And I know I forgot other positive possibilities to list.
So, pardon me if I stumble a bit as I adjust. Like the teenager surprised by that first kiss despite years of dreaming about it, like the sailor caught by the first gust of wind after the doldrums, like the fisherman who has to wake from dozing because something hit the bait, I hope to not look too silly as I remember how good it can be and what I was hoping for all along. Real optimism.