It’s been so long since I’ve updated my blog, I don’t even know how to navigate the new and improved WordPress dashboard. I’ve literally been so consumed with living in each moment for the last three years or so that I have neglected my online diary and left a lot of things forgotten. After reading back through my blog from beginning to end over the last few days, I can say the best thing about having it is all the things I documented that I have by now forgotten about because I don’t retain things. I don’t know why this is. I first became aware of this tendency my junior year of college.
My friend Mandy, who was my best friend in high school that ended up at the same college as me eventually (after we both transferred in) got a crazy idea when I took a basic video production class that allowed me to have a very large, clunky video camera in my possession for the semester. We went back home and videotaped our old stomping grounds and common driving routes. We wandered around the dorm we both lived in, chatting with people on camera about nothing. A few years afterwards, I watched the video and literally had no memory of experiencing anything we captured.
We took the camera with us on spring break to Fort Lauderdale, FL and filmed our group of friends on vacation. Doing nothing special. Blow-drying our hair to get ready to go out to dinner at a cool restaurant on A1A Beachfront Avenue. Preparing for a day on the beach, to go para-sailing, singing along to Ricky Martin videos on MTV. Capturing the view from our penthouse suite overlooking the ocean, secured on the cheap due to Mandy’s work-study job on campus. The dining hall was run by Sodexho, which was owned by Marriott. As a dining hall employee, she was entitled to the corporate perks available to any Marriott employee. So a group of us went to Florida for a week and stayed in a luxury suite on the beach with roof-top pools, all for something like $50 per person. Probably the nicest hotel suite I’ve ever stayed in. And I was only 20. I tried my fake ID at a little beach-side bar down the road — the same one that worked like a charm back home. The server laughed.
I only remember these things because we recorded them, and I watched them multiple times later on. Going back and looking at my blog, I have no memory of so much of my life that I obviously felt important enough to document in some way. I’m so glad I did, because there is a lot of cool shit I forgot about.
Life has changed a lot for me since moving to Alabama. The “new economy” is a different animal, fraught with minimal opportunity and low wages. It took me a couple years, but after working in a restaurant for much longer than desired, I finally found another professional job that is semi-related to my past work experience. Even though I now make less money than I did starting out with no experience ten years ago. Apparently, that is the current state of the economy, and it’s not changing any time soon.
I used to run the marketing department of one of the largest and most successful real estate companies in my city. Now, I work for a property management company in the leasing office of an apartment home community. My immediate supervisor is 12 years younger than I am. I am only a part-time employee, with no paid time off and benefits so crappy I opted for the Affordable Care Act’s offerings instead. But I also work on commission, without which I would not be able to afford all of my living expenses. Things are manageable. There is no room for emergencies or errors or savings.
Sadly, my many years of experience and knowledge and education do not mean anything and are hardly recognized. These days, it’s all about who will do the work of three people for the least amount of money. Skills are actually a drawback now. Skills and experience mean you think you deserve more money, but your company is perfectly willing to hire someone with no skills or experience as long as they will work for less pay/hours/benefits. So you take what you can get, and you just accept the years of setback and get up when your alarm goes off.
But I am doing okay. I am healthy and happy. I have good people in my life. I have someone I love and who loves me. These last two or three years have been some of the most difficult in my life. But I have learned a lot about myself and about other people. And I am very fortunate to have a house with a fenced back yard for the dogs, a boyfriend who tells and shows me every day that he loves me, friends I enjoy spending time with, a boss who is fair and enjoyable to work with, a supportive family.
This is a catching up post, but I promise the future ones will be more positive and hilarious! I’ve got so much to tell you guys.