A Look Back

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that’s all.”
-Oscar Wilde-

I revel a lot on the contentment that retirement has afforded me.  In fact, we had a good chuckle when I announced that I had finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grow up.  Mike gleefully piped up…”retired”; he was not too far off.  It is pretty awesome to be retired.  What I was actually getting at, though, was that I took on a lot of different “jobs” over the years before I found one that fit.  My first job was not so much a good fit…it was all that I could manage.

I turned 18 in the summer after I was finished with Grade 12.  I “was finished with” not passed or graduated from.  I had no desire to go back and make up the classes that I lacked, nor did I have the motivation of any further education at that point.  Getting into the workforce was simply the next expected step.  The job hunting process for an extremely shy young woman with zero self-esteem was daunting to say the least.

I had managed the tedious task of typing up some resumes which clearly outlined my complete lack of any kind of useful experience.  I had not even so much as had a paper route or babysitting job to list.  Nor, coming from a tiny French-Canadian village in Manitoba, did I have any relevant references.  Add to that, the fact that I was scared to death to approach people and to do cold calls to drop off a resume.  Within the first few weeks I had managed to sit in on two actual interviews during which I don’t doubt that I looked like a deer caught in the headlights…terrified.  Both interviews which I attended were for advertized jobs and both ended with the catch phrases of “no experience” and “so young”.

I held no malice for these indictments; they were simple facts.  I had no experience and at age 18 I looked all of 12 years old; looking younger than my chronological age was not something I enjoyed until much later in life.  I, in my inexperience, had no clue how to overcome the obvious.  I began to shrink from the prospect of hearing another NO.  I found myself, after taking the long “Grey Goose” bus ride into the city wasting away the days.  I could manage to find the main spots that were known to accept resumes, and places that had hired others that I knew.  But, I could not bring myself to enter the buildings; frozen with fear I would stand outside, close to tears and finally turn and walk away, time and time again.  Once home, I would go straight to bed, defeated by my own self.

As it turned out my sister’s childhood friend came through for me when she heard of my dilemma.  She had an “in” at a large retail store in Winnipeg, told me who to ask for…all I had to do was show up.  Thusly I was ushered, by sheer good luck and human kindness, into the workforce as a sales clerk. It was one of many jobs that I was not entirely comfortable with and at times hated but I also felt “safe” to be employed.  After all it was expected of me to be employed.  Even though I had not got there under my own steam, I clung to it for my existence for decades; I even bounced back to it like a comfort zone between other job choices and moves.

Today’s “stone”  Day 225  a look back, how far I have come, now I live


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