Today, I didn’t just celebrate the start of a new year and a new decade. I geeked out over new insurance kicking in…. employer-paid insurance! It is one of the many perks in my newly employed state. Because of the job, I also benefitted from holiday pay on days I didn’t actually work for the last six weeks. Today, New Years Day, is another day that I’m getting paid to play. That’s amazing!
I didn’t really appreciate these career staples until they were gone. And I now I get giddy from all of it… insurance-medical, dental AND vision, holiday pay, automatic deposit, and even free post-it notes. Despite the early and often frigid commute, I also love it! I’m downtown. And I’m hurriedly walking with all the rest of the commuters as the city wakes up to a new day. The shiny and tall urban landscape is full of possibilities!
Serving = 3 shifts! I’m officially retired from Wood. My last shift was in early November. I hosted on a Monday night. I then sat down and celebrated over wine with Collin. It was the end of an era. I’m grateful for the work, the money and the community. And of course, I’ll help out serving or hosting if I’m needed and I’m available.
Job Search = OVER!!! I started as Director of Grants Management and Development at AllianceChicago on November 18th. I’m a month and half in. I’m immersing myself in technology, the healthcare sector and my new organization’s team. It’s been like learning a new language by going to the country and assimilating into the culture and native tongue. I’m taking excessive notes, proactively seeking out online tutorials and attending mega meetings. I’m on intellectual overload but it’s been GREAT! I love the cerebral stimulation, being back in a mission-driven organization and how kind the people and the culture are. The road getting here was long and hard but worth it! I’m where I was meant to be.
I also did some freelance writing gigs for French Heritage Society, Children’s Home & Aid and By Design. I’m hoping those opportunities continue. I love the writing, the variety and learning new things like a French chateau’s history, the reason a family decides to foster a child and all the excitement of global traveling to exotic locales… I’m still getting alerts from the Beijing Peninsula.
Workout with Josh = 13 times! Between the holidays, trips, and my new schedule, Josh and I worked out less than usual. We’re doing our best to establish a new early morning routine. 7am workouts! My work prep is then a whirlwind and a commuter hustle. Josh is willing to go earlier but I prefer the 7am followed by the rush to work. It’s hard enough to workout at 7am. Our sessions have been 9:30, 10 or later. I need to ease into this new way!
Yoga = 5 classes! I’m trying to work in yoga into my schedule. The good news is I can now take classes on the weekends. I’m also figuring out how to sneak in an evening class or two. I did have another Thai massage courtesy of my gal pal Michelle. During my first few weeks at work, I was at a high table that caused pain in my shoulder. Josh actually diagnosed it. I’ve since changed my work area and the problem has gone away.
I got to go to a day long workshop for work. It was on technology trends in healthcare. It was fascinating!! For the last six weeks, I have been in learning mode. As a new employee, I’m constantly researching and studying to get-up-to-speed so I can rock-this-position. For my personal development, I finished 2.5 books.
“The Book of Gutsy Women” by Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton: I read the other half of this mother-daughter tribute to women. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The Clintons portray courageous women past and present that changed the world. Some of their picks are familiar like Harriet Tubman some aren’t like the women that worked for Title IX for gender equality in athletics in education. The diverse and robust collection of stories of dynamic women cover all arenas: science, arts, education, politics, sports, and technology. It’s an amazing celebration of women’s accomplishments.
“Leaving Time” by Jodi Picoult: Picoult is a multi-layered storyteller. This novel brought together a kid, a detective, an elephant sanctuary and a psychic. I enjoyed all the character development and the twists and turns of the plot. In particular, I loved the psychic and her supernatural powers and quirky thoughts on life.
“The Dutch House” by Ann Patchett: Although I enjoyed this book, Tom Hanks as the narrator almost ruined it for me. He is sooooo Tom Hanks, it’s hard to hear the narrator as the character of Danny. The story is about the people living in this mansion. Their lives before/after living in the Dutch House. The focus is on a brother and sister and their life decisions based on their dysfunctional parents. It’s thought-provoking about choices, forgiveness and not being able to escape your past.
Theatre Reviews = 4 reviews! “Do you believe in madness?” (Second City), “Nutcracker” (The House Theatre), “Ruffian’s Burning Bluebeard” (Porchlight Music Theatre), and “Tidings for Tap” (Chicago Tap Theatre).
Journaling = 35 entries! I continue to chronicle this journey in my third book, “Unexpected Changes.” I’ve decided to continue writing entries thru my first 90 days and then wrap this book up.
Playing = YES! Pre-employment, I went to Palm Springs for five days to visit Steve and Mike. PS was a throwback to a mid-century/Hollywood escape. I loved it. I had plenty of meals with them in their 60s style ranch. It even had a pool! Plus, Abby and Kenneth came for a 24-hour visit. I went to Indiana three times to enjoy various combinations of the family for plenty of food, wine, laughs and holiday hoopla. Back in Chicago, I had fun babysitting Greta and Jonah.
In my new Wood retirement, I ate brunch with Maryam/Keith/Bill/Roger/Ellen/James, Scubi, Bill and MES and crew. I enjoyed the weekend lunches with Michael L., Collin/Patrick, Rich/Michael L./Bill/James, and Bill. I had dinner with Collin, Josh (3), Bill/Roger, Sue/Bill/Roger, Bill/Roger/Ellen, Bill (5), Ellen, and Bill/Ellen/James.
The December whirlwind included holiday bar hopping with Collin, Andersonville holidays dinner stroll and dinner with Bill/Roger/James, Zoolights and dinner with Christy, Erin, Megan, Grace and Carson, a Zoolight stroll by myself and a holiday happy hour bash at Scubi’s. At my new job, we were all about holiday socializing with an all-staff party, finance/admin team apps and cocktails, and two potluck lunches.
And with the Golden Globe nominations, I started my Oscar preparation by seeing “Jojo Rabbit” with James, “Star Wars” with James and Rich, “Little Women” with James and Ellen and just for fun the classic “Meet me in St. Louis” with James.
Then on my birthday, I paid for the drinks and my friends serenaded me with songs personalized to me. It was a hoot!
On November 17th, the night I began my new job, I took down my gratitude door. I had posted moments of gratitude from over the last 16 months. Appreciating these small and big moments helped me get through my underemployment. All and all, it turned out to be 673 post-it notes. I’m grateful for everyone of those 673 incidents!