Thursday, December 27, 2012


I've been catching up today on the pop music I missed in 2012.  I don't listen to a lot of music on the radio, occasionally on the rare car trip that I forget my cd case, I'll surf country/rock/pop stations, but that's usually a drop in the bucket for what's out there any given year.

Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger" has me rocking in my cube.
I know.  Pop music... cliched old cliche.... I still like it.

I really feel like 2012 was a mile marker for me.  I do feel stonger.

When I walked out of ESCO that summer of 2008, there was a large part of me that just felt broken and beaten. Life went pretty far downhill for the next year or so, unemployment, a baby born I couldn't pay for, WIC, food stamps, self doubt about my worth and my choices.

2009 saw us move to NW Iowa, to take a job I had huge doubts about. What if I couldn't do it? What if the problem was me, and not ESCO? What would we do if I crashed and burned again? Maybe I should just take the hint and switch careers to something ag related...

There were definite bumps, I'm sure I didn't have as much experience as my new company would have liked, but they didn't fire me after the first few months.  They didn't fire me when I messed up my first big project.  I just kept showing up for work, even when I went home crying.  They kept paying me, and kept training me and kept encouraging me.

Somehow, at some point this year, I finally feel like I broke past my leftover issues from ESCO. I may not be the best computer engineer in this world, but god damn it, I am not the worst.  I feel like my decision to leave them was not only the right decision, but I wish I had done it earlier. I feel like I do have worth as a programmer, and I am good at my job, and I haven't felt like that since I was a stripper.  (Yes, I know, there's a bit of irony in the fact that my last high point of self esteem was during my tenure as a nude dancer.  Let's move on.)

I recognize that programming will never be my passion.  It just won't.  There is still part of me that wishes I had stuck with geology or gone into something related to Ag, but I just didn't have the guts to switch out of Comp Eng while I was in college.   And who knows, maybe those degrees would have left me more destitute than I am now.  Hindsight may be 20/20 but we can never know what might-have-been.

So, we're finally digging ourselves out of the financial hole we fell into.  Student loans are still horrendous, and what they've done to me over the past 6 years should be illegal, but of course it's not.  I still owe more on those loans than I did when I graduated.   But, other debts are slowly getting paid off.  If the economy can keep things together for another 3 months, I think we will see our bills decrease by about 25%, as certain debts reach a zero balance.

I know our vows didn't include the classic, "for richer or poorer" but Dave has definitely seen the poorer side of things, and I'm cautiously optimistic about having some time together on the not-so-poorer side of things.

I'm hoping that 2013 sees us saving up to move somewhere closer to relatives and like-minds. Interstates has been good to me, and I will be forever grateful for the space and support to heal.  But, we aren't going to be happy here long term.

I feel good about the future. Yes, I still think our country is headed for rough times, yes I still expect to hit bumps, professionally, and personally.  But I feel stronger.
I feel confident in my abilities. I know I can lean on my partner and vice versa and we can make it through anything.

Hopefully this isn't an ego trip of a post.  (It could be argued, and probably has been, that keeping a blog at all is an ego trip.... whatev.)  I'm just in a retrospective mood, what with the end of the year around the corner. And speaking of stronger, I'm almost back to my high school weight again, after baby #2.  I need to go buy new pants and a new belt. :-D

As we head towards the new year, I'm hoping that all my readers are on an upwards swing. If you're not, keep fighting, keep striving, and don't try to go it alone.
Happy New Year.


1 comment:

Jon Lorisen said...

Happy New Year to you and your family Jennie. I hope your personal, professional, and financial situation continues to improve.

I greatly enjoy your writing, you manage to incorporate humor, honesty, and personal touches into a very informative and well-written blog. You've also been very kind to a stranger commenting away :)

All the best.