Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Catching Up, Two Steps Back

I was unemployed for eleven months. I am now back at California Pizza Kitchen, the one in our neighborhood, a mile away. The "commute" is much more favorable compared to my former fifty mile round trip.

I am very fortunate. Tips have been good and I like my new coworkers. We've been having fun even though I am about twice the age (or more!) of most of the other servers. I like the changes that have happened in the last seven years since I was last with the company, including more casual uniforms (denim jeans and no neckties!).

California Pizza Kitchen had always been my fallback job in the past, whenever I was out of work as a dancer/performer, which was frequent. I had always looked for the first restaurant job available any time I was out of work. I wish I had followed that old instinct instead of applying for unemployment benefits as a handful of people, including Domestic Partner, had recommended.

But if I hadn't received unemployment benefits maybe I wouldn't have enjoyed being in three musicals this past year. Perhaps I wouldn't have signed with a talent agency for commercial and print work this year if I had taken a restaurant job sooner. Who knows? I am choosing to put performing on hold for now, conflicted as that makes me feel, so I can work night shifts and keep my day time free for auditions.

Okay, not really, not completely. I am also going back to working part time for a children's theater company, the Imagination Machine, a group that tours elementary schools. I had worked for them twenty-two years ago! My first show back is in ten days.

So, I feel as though I've taken two giant steps back. I failed in my attempt to be a real adult, although I deliberately avoided exactly that status for a couple of decades, mission accomplished (poor Domestic Partner!). I've been joking that I tried reality but I didn't like it.

It's good to be making regular, consistent income again. I appreciate the fact that I do not have to be at a job forty-five hours a week. I still feel I should figure out how to accomplish some sort of career, maybe get some additional schooling or training - I still have no actual real-world skills! Management training at the restaurant is one option . . . I'm not sure yet if I'll take advantage of that opportunity.

I've enjoyed my year off, my "vacation," but I'm glad it's over. Here's to 2014 and new beginnings, even if they're "old" ones. Happy Sorta' New Year to me, and also to you!