The Pajama Diaries
The Pajama Diaries is currently on hiatus. More coming soon….
I recently moved into a new place. I did it around Earth Day but EVERY day is Earth Day to me, so naturally I wanted to set up my space as eco-friendly as possible. Here are a few things I did:
- Put in all compact florescent light bulbs and low-flow aerators on my faucets and shower heads – good for the planet and even better for my DWP bill!
- Needed an area rug to cozy up a large space – had one made at a carpet store out of Mohawk carpet’s Everstrand line made from recycled water bottles! A carpet store will bind the edges to make a large piece into a rug – and it costs about 1/3 or what most area rugs run in the home décor stores.
- Updated my kitchen utensils and cutting boards with those made from bamboo, a plentiful resource and great alternative to commercial wood. No chopping down trees for my kitchen!
- Updated my bedding with organic cotton sheets – soft yet crisp, I sleep better knowing these are better for the planet.
Going Back on the Market
This year, I joined the thousands of Americans who have been laid off. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling of sadness – leaving a job, your friends, your livelihood, and the familiar to be pushed unexpectedly into a land of uncertainty.
Fortunately, I was able to land a job fairly quickly – something I attribute to having built my skills relentlessly over the past few years by going back to school and zeroing in on exactly what I want to do. That, and good ol’ determination. Also, having been through a layoff before several years ago, I vowed not to fall into a depression or defeat. For those still looking, here are some tips that got me through it:
Get up – every day I made myself get up as early as I did when I was working. I didn’t want to fall into a habit of sleeping in and not being productive. I got up and did my regular morning routine and got out of the house by 9 a.m. to take a one hour walk. That got my energy pumping to get the day going.
Get Moving – speaking of my walk, I highly recommend regular exercise. I walked and I bought Groupons for yoga classes that helped keep me stay centered on the cheap. Keep your body healthy and your mind will benefit too.
Work with a Career Coach – I was lucky enough that part of my severance package included The Right Management Program, an organization that offers amazing job placement guidance and your own personal career consultant. If you can afford it, find a company like this – people with expertise in the job market who can help you get focused, polish your resume, practice interview skills and negotiating tactics. It’s so helpful to have someone to make distress calls to and it will keep you from troubling friends and family.
Let go – it’s hard to let go of a job, especially if it was one you loved. And expect to grieve a little and miss your co-workers. It’s normal to feel down and sometimes you just have to feel it until you don’t feel it anymore. But trust me, someone will appreciate who you are and what you bring – again.
Hope that helps.
In these troubled times of Middle East uprisings, political finger pointing, and relentless unemployment, I pulled out some music by a band that got me through some pretty hard times back when I discovered them in my formative years, the Alarm. I was surprised how their songs still ring true today, so I thought I’d share a bit of one of my favorites for those who may need a little boost …
“There’s a young boy standing
Staring at the world
He can’t control his anger
You can see it in his eyes
He’s gonna smash the window
He’s gonna tear down the walls
Hey mister you don’t understand it
Take a look at it through my eyes
These are the kids – they’re powerless
So you tell them so
These are the kids they’re powerful
Don’t say you haven’t been toldAnd we’ll go MARCHING ON
Hear our sound Hear our voice
We’re growing stronger
And we’ll go MARCHING ON
We’re not alone, we’re keeping on
We’re MARCHING ON
Take a walk around your city walls
Before they all fall down
Take a walk down any street
You’ll feel the stares of us all
Can you feel it burning
Shame is what it’s called
Take a look at what you’ve created
Think of all the people that hate you
These are the people that made you
When you said you cared for us all
These are the people who’ll break you
Get prepared for the fall
And we’ll go MARCHING ON…”
With the new year I’ve set a few goals. I don’t believe in resolutions because they always feel like false promises to me – a joke with an intentional punch line called “breaking them.” So I set goals. This year’s goals, along with taking better care of my skin with professional facials, and taking better care of my body with yoga, I’m taking better care of my money. I began seeing a professional financial advisor. I found him by asking co-workers for recommendations (always better to get a personal review of someone than just doing a web search) and within just a few meetings, I’ve learned so much.
I had already set myself up pretty well by reading personal finance articles and learning a few things the hard way, but a professional financial advisor really helped me fine tune. For example: rather than guessing where to invest my 401K, he gave me the best choices and why. Rather than sticking all my money in one big savings account, he showed me how to “ladder” my savings. So many good life lessons here, if you haven’t looked into a financial advisor yet, whether you have a little money or a lot, there’s so much to be gained. So ask around, it will be money well spent!
I’m a geek for the holidays. I’ll admit it, when those first Christmas shows come on TV and the holiday soundtracks play in the stores, I revert to a 10-year-old, getting so excited about counting down to the big day I can barely contain myself. You know when you see little kids shaking up and down like they’re going to explode? That’s me. I don’t know why it is. Maybe it’s seeing every place I go dressed up in sparkle, or giving gifts to my loved ones as a thank you for being part of my life. Every year, my mother and I watch Santa’s journey on the Norad tracker and we always take a delight in it. Even my cat gets excited, watching me decorate the tree and wrap presents, sneaking out a ribbon or two to play with – and I swear I caught her giving the nutcracker a kiss!
However you feel about the holidays, I hope to take time to enjoy them and I hope I never lose the childlike wonder that makes it my favorite time of year – I’ll be here waiting for Santa with cookies and milk!
In this week of Thanksgiving, as cliché as it sounds, there’s one tradition worth practicing – and that’s giving thanks. It’s so easy to get caught up in negativity and anger in life. Ever wonder why grumpy old men become grumpy old men? It’s because the more you see, the more you see what’s wrong in the world and it’s frustrating that you can’t do much about it. But what you can do is conjure up some positive energy and be grateful for what you have and that, in turn, will bring more positive energy to you.
This year, I’m so grateful for my friends and family. The people close to me are my world and it makes me happy to have them in my life, be inspired by them, share experiences with them, and have fun. My family members are healthy and I am grateful that we are close and I love them. I’ve been fortunate to have good job through this horrible recession as I’ve seen so many struggle, and I’m grateful that I can give some back through my favorite organizations. And I am grateful for my own health. My father used to always say to me “you’re lucky to have your health!” and I thought, ah dad, that’s dumb!” but now I realize, you really are so lucky to have a healthy body and it’s important to take care of it. All of my marbles are still in my head (I think!) and I can write this, be creative, go workout, dance, play and do all the things I want to do without pain, without illness. I AM lucky for everything in my life right now and I’m so grateful EVERY DAY!