April’s “what’s going on” post

As seen from the recreational trail in Gahanna

I’ve been getting schooled. Literally.

I’m still job searching and decided to focus on insurance agencies after previously working at an insurance carrier. A while back I remember someone telling me that carrier experience is transferrable, and I figured that going over to the agency side would be a no-brainer. Truth be told, I don’t think I have the juice for the big corporate life anymore. I decided I’d be better at a smaller place, away from downtown and with more straightforward challenges as opposed to the “no news is good news,” followed by the mother of all bombs landing in my lap.

On the plus side, I’ve been getting agency interviews. However, I’ve come across a roadblock. The jobs I’m applying for state that a property and casualty license is preferred but not required for hire.

Welp, that’s been a lie and made for interesting conversation when the agents learn that the folks in the underwriting department aren’t required to have any licensure (to clarify: my role as an underwriting assistant was mainly data entry and all advising was left to the lead underwriter. Most of the underwriters had designations and further education.)

So I figured if a licensure was the thing preventing me from getting on at an agency, then I might as well use my time being unemployed wisely.

Earlier this month I started my courses to get that property and casualty license.

And I’ve gotta say: this is kicking my ass!

I never realized how many details agents had to know, since at OldJob we were focused on broad explanations. The casualty side is coming easier, since I worked with commercial lines previously and I’m familiar most of the definitions. The property coverage on the other hand has been a challenge. I find myself staring at a screen and re-reading the same paragraph several times to make sure I’m understanding, but frankly, half the time it’s as clear as mud and I might as well be reading Mandarin.

I told my mom the other day that I feel like I’m back in college, specifically during exam time, but without the fun upsides to college, like the on-campus Mexican carryout or student discounts to anywhere fun.

Or Thirsty Thursdays. But then again I only did that once and that was more than sufficient for a lifetime. And I’m digressing.

I’m on the other side now, but earlier this month the stress from trying to learn this stuff caused the anxiety and depression to come back tenfold. I would sit down, look at the screen and start bawling. The bawling and physical reactions didn’t make sense then, and I’m still not completely able to make sense of them now. All of the self-care tips and mental health advice I tried putting into effect was useless – no amount of working out or foot massagers was going to pull me through the darkness. The only thing I could make myself do was take care of my cat, since it’s not her fault her mom couldn’t function.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with the sudden darkness, where I’m inconsolable and cry at every provocation for about a week, and then somehow pull myself up once it’s done and keep going. However, this may be the worst experience I’ve had with it yet. Sometimes I think the only way to get through hard times is just to suffer through it – let the sudden darkness hit and retreat so it can come out in one ugly swoop, and then you can move on from it.

That was about two weeks ago. Last week was a slow upswing, and this week I feel more like myself again. I’m fully expecting to get a migraine later on today, and probably grumble some cuss words at no one in particular while re-reading the same screen again. But I’m also refusing to allow myself to become so focused on frustration that I can’t see the bigger picture around me.

My boyfriend and I are on an old movie kick – specifically, Audrey Hepburn. We watched a documentary with her family and close friends, and it’s amazing how a woman who had so much was also marked by such a sadness. She dealt with her parents’ divorce and father leaving her as a child, as well as surviving World War II during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Those events stayed with her throughout her adult life, and based off interviews with Audrey, it seemed like she struggled with insecurity no matter how famous she was or beautiful or loved by the public.

Towards the end of the documentary, when Audrey was working as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and bringing aid to starving children, I had a realization about my own misery. “You know Sam,” I said. “Our problems really are so small. Studying and trying to learn this stuff is stressful, but in the grand scheme of life, there’s more going right than wrong.”

I’m studying for a difficult exam. That’s it. I’ve done this plenty of times before and at some point I’ll probably have to do it again.

I’m unemployed. That’s all. I’ve been unemployed before, and there’s no shame in it. All I can and will do it keep applying for jobs I’m qualified for and have faith this too shall pass.

So it’s today, and just for today I’m going to study. Then this afternoon I’m going to take a break to run around my complex. The sun is shining and my blinds are open to let it in. My ducks and the rabbits are back, and I have fresh flowers around my apartment.

That’s more than enough for me.

I hope you all have a wonderful day ahead.

Yours in writing,

Allison

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