Picture it: January you get your (welcome) pink slip, you apply for unemployment, you take a week or two to be grateful and yet somehow slightly depressed, then you pull out of it and you begin to search for jobs. The jobs mind you, that you probably should have been doing all along. It’s desolate out there. It’s snowing, it’s very cold, and it appears that there is little end in sight. Unemployment doesn’t pay remotely enough to live on no matter how much you budget and attempt to save while still having a little bit of a life out of doors, and everyone seems to be all full up with help, thanks.
The months go on and job prospects continue to dangle the occasional carrot, only to casually poof out in the midst of a flurry of excitement and plans for the first few paychecks. You pass some of the time looking at apartments just in case, and welcome the occasional distractions brought by naps, moments out of the house, and trips to the grocery store. It’s a quiet life, a boring life not to mention destitute, and above it all, you seem to have developed a worsening case of sciatica from sitting on too-soft surfaces, too much. Things are looking bleak.
Then suddenly, you get a job as the weather begins to break. One day it’s 40-something and you decide to kick your scooter over for the first time since fall and lo and behold, it fires up. Suddenly things aren’t looking quite so gray. It’s still too cold and puddled to rip around town like you want to, but it’s great to know you can when the day comes. And it does come. A few weeks later, in the form of a sunny 52 degrees, you hop on and off you go. You head north to a coffee shop you’ve discovered and set up shop. You work from it occasionally, you begin to see the same faces over again, and it becomes a delightful alternate office compared to what you’re used to (a kitchen island with seating not meant for more than 45 minutes).
And then, another few weeks pass by and you go to two more interviews. You finally begin to realistically weigh more options and consider what ifs in whole new ways with actual dollar signs attached. Nice position to be in, eh? Finally! It’s been a long cold season, man. Real long.
Valiant Spring, try as it might, is attempting to bust through this horrible long winter like the Kool Aid man through your kitchen wall. He’s banging away, you can hear him lumbering and sloshing around over there, but he hasn’t quite broken through just yet. Only a few sprinkles of plaster and some rattling plates so far, but you know he’s just on the other side of the wallpaper and lath with a jolly and boisterous “OH YEAH!” brewing within. And with him and his clinking ice cubes, brings a whole new season or two of possibility. There are a lot more things coming down the line for me this year, I’ll get into that later, but for now let me just leave you with my personal ultimate summer album in an effort to help hurry it along. It reminds me specifically of driving down Sleepy Hollow Road in Sleepy Hollow, Illinois, heading I’m sure towards Spring Hill Mall, in my mom’s ’86 Nissan Maxima. 16 years old, finally free, getting into my own music for the first time, windows down, warm breeze blowing through all the windows and the sunroof, and few cares in my head. Summer is coming, friends. Hang in there.