Monday, October 10, 2011

Thoughts on Intervals

There are few stages in life that consist so actively of thinking about how one wants to define oneself as those intervals that are spent looking for jobs. This process isn’t just about envisioning who one wants to be in the professional world, but it seems to be just as much about understanding oneself in contexts completely isolated from career aspirations.

Banana Muffins - recipe below
It’s been almost exactly a month since my job search in London started full-on. I’ve spent that time applying for positions, contacting companies I want to work for, and envisioning a possible future in various roles. I’m constantly imagining what my everyday life might be like were I to work here or there. Taking the very little I know about each place, my mind creates possible scenarios at each one, vaguely seeing myself doing this job or that. So much of my state of being during this phase seems to be spent looking towards the future, scrambling to get out of the here and now to where I’d like to be, to become who I want to be. 

Whether these visions of the future hold any truth to them is out of my control. All I can do is put myself out there for employers. And wait. Will they grant me my dreams of becoming what I envision? To find out, I have to play the game. Will unemployment last another week? Another month? Another five months? Another year?

It’s easy to forget, with all of this focus on the future, that who I want to be is not just about what career path I end up taking. It’s easy to forget that who I already am, the things in my life that make me, me, exist independently of whether or not I have a job. It seems important to think about the way I deal with the inevitable waiting involved in this process. This waiting is actually what my life is about at this point in time, and the strength and integrity (or lack thereof) of dealing with it can be just as important in defining who I am as the various futures I see for myself. These futures are, after all, only shadows of possibilities.

With this in mind, I’ve lately been actively pursuing spending time doing things that are linked with my understanding of who I am. I've been trying to see this period of unemployment as a part of life itself, not just as a period between A and B. As an end unto itself. As one of my wise friends recently wrote to me, “Stay as stress-free as possible about your job situation, because soon enough you’ll have one, and then you’ll have that to worry about.”

I’ve been trying to take time to listen to music and really hear it. To meet up with friends and talk about our situations. To go for walks and explore. And of course, to cook and bake and spend time in the kitchen, one of my favorite places of all. It is in this spirit that I give you this absolutely fantastic muffin recipe, which I recently tried out. They come out moist and fluffy and spicy and tasty. Food sure is the stuff life’s made of.


Banana Muffins

Original recipe from this cookbook.

1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 ts baking soda
1 ts baking powder
1/2 ts ground cinnamon
1/4 ts nutmeg
1 cup rolled oats
1 egg white
1 egg
2 Ts vegetable oil
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, sultanas, etc.)

Mix flour, brown sugar, soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Grind rolled oats in a blender or food processor until flour-like consistency, add to dry ingredients. Whip egg white in separate bowl until fluffy, but not stiff. Add egg, oil, bananas, yoghurt, and dried fruit. Fold into flour mixture until just combined. Spoon into prepared muffin tin and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (205 Celsius) for 20-25 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean.


R said...

Fabulous. Why did I never know of this blog of yours?

I identify with several lines in your post. It's incredible how every time I find a possible position, I switch from having seen myself in strict suits to a casually dressed junkie in a corner on his MacBook to perhaps a person who gets to travel on work and pick up jobs as I move along. It's tiring, it's exciting, and I'm loving it and hating it together. Today was all about intense hate, hopefully tomorrow I'll be smiling about a new possible face of my professional life. Sigh, I miss my professional life.

R said...

And oh, that picture made me drool. I am also picturing myself eating those at the moment. Job hunt is rather musical for me, but I love how full of flavour a process it seems to be for you!

Natalya said...

Thanks, man. Yeah, it's tiring and exciting and emotional and awful and wonderful all at once. Good luck with everything.

Anna WN said...

This is a great post. And so true! It's hard to remember who we are without a job to fill up our time and define who it is we're trying to please and what we're aiming for. I relate so so much! (plus the muffins look delicious!!)