When I opened my eyes and searched for the morning light in distance, there was none today. It was dark, and cold. I heard the usual morning sounds of the newspapers being delivered, of the neighbor starting his car and letting it warm up before he drove to work, and the clanking of the charms on the leash of my neighbor’s dog. I didn’t want to get out of the warmth of the blanket and take on the world and my multiple roles for the day.
On mornings like this, I want to lie down in the bed and wait for someone to make coffee for me. I want to lie down in the bed and wait for the morning light to wash away the darkness of the night. I try to wake up, remembering the schedules that would be affected if I got distracted, but the whole body hurts and I drift back into sleep. I have the rare fortified flu, one that the daughter brought home, one that husband strengthened and gifted me with all his love and affections.
Between Nyquil, Dayquil and Spiced Apple Cider, life hasn’t been fair in the past week, but it’s already November, and we are not allowed to whine about things that don’t matter. Instead, we should focus on the beautiful things in life, and be thankful for the gifts life gave us. I am thankful for the sun, moon and stars for aligning in a favorable way, and earth for completing all its mandatory rotations and revolutions without being distracted, but then, I am supposed to take all that for granted, and move to other things in life that don’t matter on astronomical proportions. From today to Thanksgiving, it’s twenty-one days, so I will make a list of twenty-one things that I am thankful for.
I am thankful for the Great Housing Depression.
I will not brag about my investment with equity, nor will I brag about the virtue of patience I displayed by extending our sweet life in the townhouse till the bubble burst, but I will share how life has changed after the Great Housing Depression. I am an Architect, but I DON’T design houses. My first and last residential project was done and gone when I was in my first semester. I work for commercial and retail projects, and but when the housing bubble started bursting, we were affected too. Without new houses, there was no necessity to build new shopping malls, and the little remodels and renovations were also put on hold as most companies grappled with the drop in consumer spending.
In the Spring of 2009, my career came to a screeching halt. During the brief time when there were no job vacancies for Architects, and companies that I knew and worked for were shutting down, or merging with other companies, I grew delusional about having any future in doing what I did best. I went on Federal Unemployment Benefits. It wasn’t so hard dealing with what life had to offer, but it sure was hard dealing with the people life had to offer. Many of them who I called friends, felt entitled to brag about their minimum wage job to belittle my new unemployed/ seeking employment and projects status. I refused to be bogged down by such people, even though it hurt momentarily to be put down like that. The economy had the power to take my employment status away, but not my education, and yes, this too shall pass.
Solopreneurship kicked in, and I have never been happier even though things haven’t been rosy always. There are times when I am swamped with work, and then there were periods of lull. I survived on hope, and will continue to do so. It is beautiful, to shut down myself in the home office, and work while everyone at home is still asleep, and the phones haven’t started ringing yet. It is beautiful, to sit in a sky scraper, shift my gaze from the freeway below to the mountains I hiked in the Summer with children. Most of all, it’s beautiful when people talk about layoffs – being the single employee of my company, my job security rocks!
Patience and hyperactivity can never be friends, and I have always taken it for granted that there will never be a dull moment, professionally and personally. Between the periods of lull, I did not sit and watch TV in my pajamas, munching on popcorn. I did not read a book cover to cover in one go, neither did I go on lunch and movie dates with my friends. I reignited my passion of writing, I even compiled my writings into a book. I was proud when my picture appeared in local new magazines, and shared the television interview date with everyone I knew. I blogged, I day traded, I wanted to open a motel at one point when my dad gently told me motels weren’t the nicest idea, I wanted to develop technology but my mentor told me that the six million loan, if not paid within a year, will never get paid. From the bucket list of things that I wanted to do, I tried anything and everything.
Looking back, if not for the Great Depression, I wouldn’t have found the courage to lead, and to take charge of my life, my career. Post bottom of housing depression, life has changed a lot. Like the composite indexes of the economy, I have hit personal highs and lows, and with every low, found the energy to bounce back even higher. So, Great Housing Depression, thank you for letting me climb on the rocks from the bottom, and for teaching acceptance. What acceptance? You might laugh at a Stepford mom who is balancing home, children, beauty and volunteering, but trust me, those women work hard and get very little gratitude. It is hard to look happy and presentable doing a thankless job. Thank you, for baking cookies for my child’s classroom, and for correcting their homework, filing paperwork, and fund raising to bring iPads in the classrooms, calling other parents to support/educate them about Measure S. Schools in my city are what they are because of your efforts, and teachers couldn’t have achieved this success with your day to day help. House prices are inflated because of the good schools. People who love their houses and schools work hard and earn money, rarely commit crimes. So, all thanks to you, we are the sixth most fashionable city in the world, and safest city too.
Thank you to my two girls, husband, parents and in-laws for loving, spoiling and pampering me, and letting me keep the prefix “only” against all titles that you gave me. It means a lot to me to be the only daughter, only daughter-in-law, only wife and only mother to my children – and yes, I understand all of you had other options! Thankful for the friends who have been like a family to me- living in a country far away from my family, their love and support matters a lot.. Thankful to the warm breakfast on the table before I leave to work in the cold and dark of the winter mornings.. Thankful to the smile that lights up on your face when you spot my car pull over… Thankful for picking up my call before three rings, it tells me you waited for the call even though it’s only been twelve hours that we talked last.. Thankful for my some friends that I have never met in real life, but have become an integral part of life..
Most of all, thankful to have that special person in my life for becoming my unicorn while I chase the rainbows..thank you, for believing in me, trusting my abilities and providing me vital insurance coverage of sorts when even I had stopped believing in me.