The one zinnia that could

Remember how I mentioned September was hard? Well, I got a resolution to my challenge, and while it wasn’t surprising, it wasn’t as I was hoping either.

I lost my job on October 1st. I had a gut feeling I would not be working at OldJob by the year’s end, whether it be from moving onto a new workplace (best case scenario) or getting let go. My job search started in early August, and I’ve been having good interviews with some places that interested me. However, the right opportunity just isn’t here yet and my original plan had to detour.

So I’m job searching and moving pretty slowly. I know it’s better for a job seeker to be employed while they’re interviewing, but to be honest, I’m kinda glad I’m not working while I look. There’s no pressure to take phone calls on the sly and hope nobody from the day job sends an urgent email or IM for something that Must Be Done Right Now Or Else. I can focus one thousand percent on the next task, and then enjoy the quiet time at home.

Although I don’t like to be super open about it, I am a Christian, and leaning on faith has helped me stay sane through what should be the most frightening, horrifying, end-of-the-world time ever (this is me being facetious, by the way.) After all, there’s a pandemic! And a presidential election year! And probably radioactive catfish coming up out of Lake Erie to sword fight their way to world domination!

… Goofy catfish thing aside, I’m absolutely not making light of the fact people have lost jobs, gotten very sick themselves or lost loved ones. Frankly, 2020 so far has sucked. But, in my life, if losing a job in October is the worst thing to happen, I’m pretty damn lucky, all things considered.

I’ve been thinking about the last time I was unemployed in 2016, when losing that job was a shock and I spiraled into a serious depression. Back then I struggled to come to terms with the fact I had been fired, sentenced to the capital punishment of working life. Nevermind the job sucked, but having my income yanked away and everyone coming out of the woodwork to berate me over not getting a new job fast enough, not taking bad job searching advice, and not being “hungry” enough did nothing to help the situation. I have forgiven myself for it, but at the same time, I’m not proud to admit I developed a habit of drinking rum at 8 a.m. to get through the day ahead.

Then I accepted a new job in 2016. And then a month later I discovered the recruiter lied to me about it being a permanent position and I was unemployed a second time with Christmas coming up.

However, the second time around, I didn’t drink. I didn’t want to drink, and I didn’t want to go back to where I was. In October of 2016 I sat on my dining room floor, petting my cat while she ate her wet food and I drank my coffee. I had a talk with God and told Him to send me wherever He wants me to go. I didn’t even care where.

Now it’s October 2020 and I’m feeling the same way I did four years ago. My cat has stayed very close to her mom, and I’m still drinking my coffee. Although this time, I haven’t been hearing from God. Granted, He’s gotta be all over the place comforting everyone who needs it, and in the silence I’ve been having a lot of those talks with myself and looking for little signs of where to go.

On my patio I have two pots. This past May I decided to plant some zinnias, which were the only things that could survive an Ohio summer and the full sun exposure. Actually, the flourished when nothing else did, full blooms of magenta with sunny yellow centers. They lasted the longest before starting to dry up. I pulled them up last month after they got brown and brittle, and I thought I pulled up everything. About two weeks ago I noticed a sprout in the one pot. I guess I didn’t pull them all up, but I decided to leave it alone in case it was a weed or something.

The other morning I cracked open my back blinds and saw the small petals, the pink and yellow I remembered from summer. The bloom isn’t voluminous and vibrant like it was then, but it’s there. It’s hanging in there. Interestingly enough, zinnias are symbols of endurance, and my single flower is living up to its reputation.

I guess the moral is that I have no idea what the next few weeks will hold. I’ve received no divine signs and I don’t think I will for a bit of time. Although I’m the furthest thing from a Potterhead (which doesn’t make me think of the four houses or child wizards, in all honesty), I definitely agree with J.K Rowling’s assertion that rock bottom “became the foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” So far I’ve had more rock bottoms than I anticipated. All I can do is follow the example of my lone zinnia – endure, endure, endure and eventually bloom when I’m least expecting it.

I hope you all are able to endure through this bizarre, challenging time we’re all living in.

My best,


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