change, big change, and food

I’m sitting here looking out at the millions of diamonds floating on the harbour and I’m filled with contentedness. I don’t know what that has to do with this post, but it seemed like a good way to start it. We’ve just finished our weekly brunch of frittata – this time with purple kale, asparagus and tomato and accompanied by couple of slices of nitrate-free bacon. I don’t know what that has to do with this post either, but it certainly reflects my rather limited perspective of the last month and a half. Cooking, was, I suppose, my way of coping; it felt productive and healthy and financially responsible. Back when I was a single mother going to university, I could stretch a grocery budget like nobody’s business.

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One would think that when one is suddenly laid off from her job, she’d find all kinds of time to go to the gym, write a first draft of a novel, while away hours creating dolls and collaging and all the other things that stimulate her creative self. Most certainly she’d find time to blog. What really happened was she went into some sort of shock.

Not that it was a surprise. Most of my office had been laid off in the months before I was. My company’s industry had gone into a holding pattern and one by one, engineers began to go and then supporting staff. And then the business development group was dismantled too. One by one, ending with, I’ve heard, my boss, its director. I guess things are pretty bad when business development isn’t seen as useful anymore. It’s a giant company – our industry was a small part of it and they’d focus their pursuits in more profitable areas. Fortunately for me, my career isn’t centred on any one industry; I can write proposals for any kind of company and I have done so in a number of realms.

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So the shock that wasn’t really a shock sent me into finding employment mode. I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to find another job. And I did. Lucky me – proposal writers are needed everywhere these days.  I started with a new company last week and the fit seems great.

But for five weeks my alarm clock was retired and I wore yoga pants every day and I revised my resume. And I tried new recipes. Food was comfort and my creative output. Likely it was a way to divert from the shock of the sudden retreat from the work world. North of that harbour I see from the vantage point of my sofa, the work world went on without me. Suits hopped off streetcars, blank faces filled the subway cars, couriers delivered packages and crews tore apart roads. I made soup.

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Food might also have something to do with the other big change in the wind. After I was laid off, Ceri and I talked and it seemed like a good time to go forward with us and move in together. It occurred to me that I haven’t shared a home with a man in more than twenty years. But that’s not entirely true. Ceri and I have lived together, either at my place or his, every weekend for almost a year and a half. We have dinner together every Wednesday. It’s time. There is no need to be paying for two residences. Or be apart. Before Ceri I never knew a relationship could be so consistently pleasant and uncomplicated. Cooking for us and our family is an extension of our relationship.

I haven’t moved over to his place yet, that comes next month. We’re really excited about the challenge of merging stuff and making a home together. The Co-Habitation Project has given me new ideas about my blog space too, and I expect its documentation will be part of some needed change here.

In the meantime I am adjusting to the big changes. I love change – in many ways I have always lived for it. But as I discovered during the last time of major change in my life - when I sold my home and quit my job and took a big trip then relocated to another part of the province – big change causes system shock. But today as I look out at the diamonds floating on the lake and contemplate a different beautiful view out a different window, I feel grateful that the shock is giving way to living back in the world. And knowing that I have the capacity to keep putting one foot in front of the other, having trust in that the road that unfolds beneath them is the right one.

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  1. Reluctant Blogger March 17, 2013

    Sigh! Yes, I know what you mean. You write about it all so eloquently that it reminded me of my Big Change times and took me back to how it felt, rather than how I now think it felt, if you get what I mean?
    I’m so glad that you have found another job. I bet you would soon have been inundated with offers.
    And congratulations on becoming a “we”. I wish you much happiness xx

  2. Jennifer March 17, 2013

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean RB! You expect to feel a certain way in advance, and when it happens, and then your mind, spirit and body are saying something else, well, it’s confounding. Thanks, lovely friend. That I can abandon this space for so long and friends come back and read what I write and have something to say about it – it means the world. Xo

  3. Carol March 18, 2013

    I think no matter how prepared you are it still comes as a shock when it finally happens and your told that there isn’t a job for you there anymore. Really pleased that you’ve found another and over the moon about your “we” news :-). Sometimes change is really good as the evaluation it makes us go through means that we take positive steps towards that next chapter in our lives.
    C x

  4. Mike March 18, 2013

    all the best to you and Ceri… “always keep a diamond in your mind”…

  5. Jennifer March 18, 2013

    You are so right my friend. I KNOW these changes are in the right direction. Bring on the next chapter!
    *hugs* back!

  6. Jennifer March 18, 2013

    Thanks Mike! And for the wise advice too. You and Tom Waits are smart blokes.

  7. Susannah March 19, 2013

    When life changes it usually means things are evolving to be a better fit, a more accurate reflection. I love your new reflection. 😉
    Much love to you and Ceri and the new and beautiful phase in your ‘we’.
    Wonderful news.

  8. Jennifer March 20, 2013

    Aw thank you my friend. You always have such wise things to say. Much love back and it’s great to see you. xo

  9. Jeff Griffiths March 25, 2013

    Hi Jen
    Holy big change. Congratulations on all of it. I have been checking in yet not commenting so much, seems now the kids are just slipping out of the ‘needing full attention’ I can engage more….comes in waves.

  10. Julian Cope March 28, 2013

    As a child of Thatcher’s lost generation of the 80’s in the UK I was primed for a life embracing change. Loss was not a part of our emotional vocabulary. Still struggle with the concept of funerals – needless expense and if it wasn’t for the after party, which are always fuelled with time to move on passion and general “hey ho lets go” fun I wouldn’t ever attend. Thatcher’s lost generation are also referred to as the damaged generation. The sociologists may have a point; aimless as their points tends to be ;-p
    My damaged generation view is that most non-damaged generation cheerleaded themselves into their triple dip depression. The bankers loaned, the advertisers created, the dreamers borrowed. Thatcher’s damaged generation never experienced the deluded joy….better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all…and all that.
    As a member of the damaged / lost generation I love many things…they tend to have less risk involved. I’d take the love of a dreamer all day long.

  11. The Querulous Squirrel June 22, 2013

    Gorgeous post. My latest Aprons post reminded me of you.

  12. Donald Kinney December 5, 2013

    Thanks for that beautiful peek into your world. I wish you all the best! And those tomatoes–oh wow! I am salivating just like one of Pavlov’s dogs!

  13. Tricia April 13, 2014

    So, So . . . How’s it going?

  14. Jennifer April 13, 2014

    I’m great my friend! Feeling a little ashamed at not responding to some of the kind comments above. But won’t feel apologetic or remorseful about the retreat from writing here. I accept it as something that was natural and needed. Well, and this current job has me writing so intensively every day, I don’t have the gumption to do more of it when I get home.
    Anyway, I will be back. You’re piece of today ( was the last inspiration I needed.

  15. Ronin August 6, 2014

    I think our brain really try to cope with change by diverting our attention to something pleasant, tolerable, entertaining, and at the same time to allow yourself to be creative – that way it somehow neutralizes the tension (or excitement)we’re feeling.

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