Open Your Box

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A small cardboard box sits at the entry way of my apartment, next to our coat closet. It is neatly closed and inconspicuous…this innocent box contains all of the items that I packed up when I was laid off, and I’ve been too much of a wimp to unpack it. The contents you can see aren’t offensive, but that damn box represents all of the hurt and shock that I felt that day.

We all have lots of boxes. Some of us put our emotions overall in them, hoping to keep them contained so that no one will see them. Some box up likes and dislikes, and refuse to experiment and go outside of that square comfort zone. A limited view is comforting for many people.

My main thought for today is just how important it is to open yourself up to new experiences, and even to accept unpleasant emotional experiences as they occur, because you can learn a lot about yourself in doing so. I think most of us have heard that phrase in a work-related setting…”think outside of the box.” Have you ever truly thought about what that means in your own life? For mine, although I try to be adventurous, I do at times struggle to go outside of my neatly packaged circumstances. If I had gone “outside the box” with my career sooner, would I be having as much difficulty as I am now finding a new job? Not to say that anyone should leave a job for the sake of finding something new – what I am referring to is moreso being widely aware of what’s out there. I had looked around before my layoff, but never seriously considered where I would go next if I ever lost my job. I did not truly consider a different type of career, and now I want to find a job in a new field altogether. Lesson learned – be as prepared as you can possibly be at all times, just in case! Keep an open mind to where life can take you.

Day 7 and 8 of Unemployment:  Yesterday was a productive day and one in which I did take the opportunity to explore. My former director sent me a job listing for a position that I would have never even thought to look for on my own, which was great. If I had boxed myself in and not accepted offers of help, I would have never been aware of it. It will be great if I get a call for an interview 🙂 Although it has been painful telling people that I am unemployed and to please keep me in mind if they see any job openings, it has been well worth the discomfort. The same goes emotionally…I don’t know where I would be without the support I’ve been getting on a daily basis.

After my “work” for the day, I went to Fells Point in Baltimore with a very dear friend of mine, and we spent the evening being adventurous and going outside of our “alcohol boxes” ;). To any readers in Maryland, if you have not been to a new bar called “Rye” in the main square, I highly recommend it. http://ryebaltimore.com/ I learned about some very unique and historical cocktails. New hobby, perhaps? Here is an example of one that I tried:

Corpse Reviver No.2
Edinburgh gin
Cointreau
Fortified white wine
Fresh lemon
Absinthe rinse
Brandied cherry

It was so good! We took a shot together, and even that was an experiment. Normally, a typical shot for me would be some type of vodka or a mixed shot. These shots were mixed, but it was elderflower and rhubarb spirits. It was so much fun…if anyone is interested in learning more, the bartender for the evening gave me a book recommendation:

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Part of what made our evening so wonderful was that it was filled with fresh experiences, even down to all of the strangers we talked to. If you are looking for an interesting conversation, do yourself a favor and go to a small, uncrowded bar on a weeknight…you will likely find some fascinating people there who can teach you a lot.

Today hasn’t been nearly so exciting, but I felt in higher spirits today. I will unpack my little box of ex-job memories. And I will continue to stay open to opportunities as they arise. Challenge yourself! What is something new that you would like to try?

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