The Unemployment Diaries- Identity Shift

Send me out into another life Lord because this one is growing faintI do not think it goes all the way.

From Words from a Totem Animal by W.S. Merwin

When I first saw these words I almost wept. Like a sliver of glass they pierced my soul and awoke a part of me I didn’t even know was sleeping. To some they may sound like a lament or a complaint. Waste, loss, regret. To me they are a request but not from sadness and without reproach. This life, while good, is not enough. I am stronger, I need more. I have so much further to go.

That is where I am today. Previously, I’ve written about unemployment and loss of identity. I still understand that post and was thrilled (odd choice of word but accurate) with the response it created. I wrote from the perspective of a woman without children and yet, women with children, women whose writing I admire, responded to say, ‘no, I feel this too’. I realized I had no monopoly on identity theft. It can be and is felt by many, at many stages of life.

Here now is the shift. I may still believe my identity was stolen because I did not quit my job and it is unlikely that I would have done so in this economy but I am coming to accept that it was not a loss. That life was growing faint and did not go all the way. I’ve just slipped past my 50th birthday and feel certain there is another life arriving. That the only way to face it is to throw off the person I was, with all her fears and baggage, and truly open myself to what lies ahead. To unclench my hands and stand palms open, waiting for whatever it might be. It has nothing to do with what I was or the profession I chose- those things no longer serve me. I have no control and for once it’s all right. I’m content in the now, relaxed in my skin like a happy cat. I’m going to pursue the things I love and believe that the rest will follow.


  1. And I would love to follow you wherever it is you go...especially seeing as I'm ready to shed the skin of this life of my own and crawl into something else, anything else at times.

    I love this post. Namaste.

  2. Yea for you! Acceptance (and the ability to move on) is the secret to contentment.

  3. Life is a roller coaster we must ride. I am so happy that you are ready to embrace the stage of thrills!

    Have a great weekend :)

  4. I love this post! I'm proud of you for being open to your next adventure, and tossing away the old luggage.

    I really think being open to life's possibilities makes them easier to spot once they come along. And I bet whatever happens will be a lot more satisfying than your last endeavor.

  5. The turning point has arrived. Acceptance and now moving on. Love it! I hope you find complete contentment in wherever this new stage takes you. Thanks for Rewinding x

  6. Be brave Catherine, I totally believe there is so much out there for you if you're open to it. Loved this post. You're going to rock 50. x

  7. I'm adding you to my blog roll. xx

  8. Send me out into another life
    Lord because this one is growing faint
    I do not think it goes all the way.

    ---as soon as I read this, I Understood Immediately.
    This is exsactly how I've felt for one year since my sister's murder.
    Yes. I . Understand.
    Loved your post.

  9. Thank you everyone! It's an odd feeling- calm and acceptance but I'll take it. Knowing that a whinefest could still happen!

    Karen- thank you for adding me to your blogroll- I know it's a pretty select list! Love your writing.

    Sue- love that you used the word endeavor- very clever!

    Abby- it's going to happen. I KNOW it is.


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