Post-Hiatul Post (Not A Hernia)

I’ve been on hiatus. Not vacation. It was necessary in the interest of wellness. But nothing is wrong. In fact, things are better. Let’s get caught up.

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The dog days of summer. This all my dog wants to do. He will get up for short breaks to play or hunt snakes or chase bees but then beats feet back to the shade. Belly flops on the cool concrete. Drowsy eyes. Occasionally glancing over to silently accuse me of failure to move us to the Pacific Northwest or install a body of water in the backyard. And he’s right. I’ve done neither of those things. Not that life isn’t getting ready to change though; it just won’t do El Doggo much good in the short term. Read on.

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Occupational/Financial Wellness

New job. I start next week. I started looking for a job on a Tuesday. By the following Tuesday I had three offers. All of them were superb. The sweeter side of bittersweet.

My old job is dying. It has been given only a few months left to live. By the end of next year it won’t exist. I decided not to languish in job hospice. Y’all know about hospice, right? Hospice is nursing for the terminally ill; when there’s no longer any hope or treatment available and the patient needs to be kept clean, comfortable, and pain-free while waiting for the end. I didn’t want to spend another 18 months in job hospice. So I sent up a flare. Anyone need a Mercy?

Apparently everyone needs a Mercy. It was slightly unnerving to have so many folks anxious to hire me so quickly. I expected to be looking for a while, which is why I started so early. They say it takes about a month of searching for every $10,000 one hopes to earn in salary. Nope. It only took seven days, and two of those were me trying to make up my mind. I got extra thousands in a fraction of the time. Magic math. Or just magic. Or just the Universe aligned with my intentions. Conspiring in my favor.

45222091-8b35-424a-965e-f3aeb33435edThe first interview was a slam dunk: we want you. Second interview was even dunkier: we want you so bad. Third interview shattered the backboard and bent the rim: all we want is you.

I stopped at three of the best offers I’ve ever had and expressed acres of gratitude for the task privilege of having getting to choose the best fit for me.

I’ll be commuting into the city again but I also get to grow again. My world got really small there for a while with the combo of small town living AND small town working. There was significant shrinkage (that’s a Seinfeld reference, please google it). I’m not nervous at all; only excited. It feels right. Rest in peace, old job. I loved you.

Physical Wellness

I finally graduated from my eight-week tennis course which stretched into 12 weeks. I’m officially a tennis player, although still a beginner and still very … um, not good. I guess it would be more positive to say not very good yet, but the veterans say the trade-off is that the years spent playing in the lower ranks are the most fun. After you get better you apparently get competitive and angry and stop enjoying it. I plan to rebel against the standard (of course I do). I plan to prove them wrong by having as much fun as possible as I improve (assuming I do) or I will stay a sucky yet happy player.

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The biggest tennis surprise is that I’m not suffering in the heat the way I did as a runner. The dog days of summer would normally slow me to crawling through ever-shorter mileage just trying to survive. Pre-dawn sauna slogs. Sometimes I took the month of August completely off. With triple-digit heat indices it is/was just too molten and steamy in Mercyburg to do any quality running. Not so with tennis and I don’t really know why, unless it is just that my mind is engaged in something other than complaining.

Tennis is sooooo much more fun and tolerable than running in the summer. If you are a runner and you typically wilt in the heat like me, maybe try switching to tennis. I’m practicing/playing about five days per week and although it is still just as hot as ever, I’m not suffering the normal amount. Why did I not start this years ago? So many summers in the hell heat spent in soggy, self-pitiful miles on blistering asphalt. I could have been playing tennis all this time!

And without trying I’ve lost 13 lbs; bonus perk.

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The practice of yoga continues. In fact, it is critical now that I am tennis-ing so much. Yoga remains the omni-antidote to every sport I’ve ever played. And every form of exercise not deemed a sport. Yoga makes it all better. Always has, always will.

Still vegan. This summer marks two years. Still happy with my choice. Still healthy and well. Still have no plans to ever go back.

Social Wellness

Since tennis has eclipsed everything else for the last 12 weeks it has also become my sole social activity, other than gossiping with co-workers (with whom my time grows short now that I’m leaving). I’ll no doubt be making new friends on the new job as well.

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My new tennis friends are new friends in general, and the support on and off the court has been another unexpected boost. You’ll remember my pre-first lesson posts in which I expected everyone to be elitist assholes. Maybe it’s just that we are all beginners but so far no one has been an asshole. I’ve gone to a few tournaments to watch and learn. Folks seems all too happy to answer my newbie questions and offer advice. And all my angst about folks rejecting me or mocking my hairy legs? Nope. My tennis class seems completely used to them now. No one in the group ever said a word about it and I haven’t been shunned. We’re all quite chummy and this is good for the soul.

Spiritual Wellness

This work still remains mostly private but it is important to include it as an aspect of wellness not to be overlooked. It is as vital as all the others, I just prefer to keep the details to myself for now.

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Creative Wellness

I haven’t been writing. All I’ve been doing creatively is growing things and making all the pretty images in this post. I suspect this is about to change though. I mean, adding the writing back in, not quitting the rest.

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I did go ahead and shave my legs this week. The new job has grooming standards and policies the old one didn’t. I’ll be more visible to the public than before, representing the company in the community more. I want to at least get past my first 90 days before I start rocking any boats. The road to normalizing body hair stretches long before me but the probationary period of a new job is not a smart place to stage a revolution. Foot in door first, get settled, then evaluate the climate. What does this have to do with creativity?

I had to get quite creative to get all that hair off. Despite the fact that it was fine and blonde, it got long and fluffy with months to grow freely. It took multiple tries, angles, and techniques. I took for granted how much regular maintenance mattered. Mowing down months of growth was a chore after going completely native. You can see the results of my conformity below, all fresh and shiny.

Emotional Wellness

img_9851Sometimes we just don’t realize we are under intense pressure until it is released. The job change prompted the release of pressure I underestimated for so long it baffles me now. The release is sweet relief of its own but it also widens my perspective and prompts me to recognize the magic of things.

Including me there are only three women employed at Old Job. Remember I called them my Work Wives? One day at Old Job a coffee mug showed up on a desk, filled with pens, and a folded note stuffed inside. The note was addressed to one of us (not me) but we all thought it must have been a mistake. None of us recognized the mug, the pens, or the author of the note. We passed it around the entire office in investigation, assuming it was a mistake. The author of the note must have misidentified the intended recipient. The information in the note made no sense to anyone. We have no idea who sent it or delivered it. This was two years ago. The origins of the mug are still a mystery.

The mug bore a painting of three horses on it; one white, one black, one brown. It was offered by a gallery which sells art as prints or coffee mugs or tote bags, or wearables, etc. The original painting was called Sisters of the Wind. We rotated it among the three of us on and off over the last two years since we still can’t be sure for whom it was intended. Now that our time together is growing short our bonding has intensified. We’ve started calling ourselves the Sisters of the Wind after the communal mug because we got along so well and so effortlessly. We never had a single conflict or strong word between us. We were fast friends and fiercely supportive of each other. It felt rare and special to all of us from the first day through our remaining final days.

Whenever people leave friends behind during a job change they may say we’ll get together and I promise I’ll keep in touch but in my experience this rarely happens even if we mean it when we say it. We might keep it up for a while but eventually the connection weakens and contact dwindles to nothing. We usually never see them again. With the restructuring all three of us are going in different directions. All moving on to greener pastures but not together. The Sisters of the Wind have made a pact to rebel against the standard (there it is again). We will pass the duties of connection month to month like we did the horsey coffee mug, taking turns with the check-ins and/or event planning. This is a first for me; a milestone, really. I’m proud.

My intention is for this catch-up post to refresh my blogging initiative and get me into a flow again. I’m a sea turtle looking for the EAC. Pressure released. Fresh start. Practicing on. Thanks for reading.

— Mercy

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