Saturday, May 23, 2009

Invisible Ocean

My favorite way to get to the farm is down a shady winding road that starts at my house at some 2,500 feet above sea level, snaking it's way down the backbone of the mountain ridge separating the ocean from the valley, heavily wooded on both sides. About two thirds of the way down the hill the university-owned land begins, alternating between forest and lovely open meadows with bike trails. I adore meadows, they are one of my favorite landscapes. After a series of hairpin turns further down the road, all of a sudden the road straightens out, the trees disappear and the vista you see pictured here appears. On a clear day you can almost see forever (or Japan), with the sky and the water clearly demarcated different shades of blue behind the emerald green fields speckled with purple lupus and orange California poppies. On a foggy or hazy day, the ocean completely disappears and it takes a real leap of faith to still believe that its really there.

On Thursday I accepted the offer put forward by the large software company that has been vetting me for the past month. In four separate visits to two different campuses I was interviewed 10 times by 7 different people, 3 times by my manager. This position has been open since last November when they let go the prior resident of my new desk, but having a consultant in the role has meant they could take their sweet time and interview many different candidates. In fact, they had hired another candidate recently who ended up getting very ill and would not be able to start for six months or longer, so they mutually agreed that she would decline. This re-opened the position and gave me the opportunity to let them know they should take another look at me. I worked very hard to get this job, it's the only job that I am aware of at my experience and salary level in my field of experience in the entire state, never mind my general geographical area. I should feel lucky indeed not only to land a job, especially one that maintains my prior salary plus gives me equity in the company (stock), and all the standard benefits you would expect. Add to that the cache of working for an-almost-household-name which is well-respected by employees and their peers and is not doing layoffs, and...well, what else could I really ask for. Did I mention an 800-acre pasture boarding horse facility is at the end of the block? I will post pictures of that in a separate post.

I should feel lucky, and I do. I am sure that if I did not get this job I would be completely apoplectic within a month. However, I am having a lot of difficulty getting excited about the opportunity. Ambivalent doesn't even cover it. The truth is I am overwhelmed. Not by the job itself, I've had this job a dozen times with a different wrapper, but by the sheer physical task of waking up early, choosing an outfit, doing hair and makeup, driving an hour on crowded freeways to get there then being in corporate world for 8+ hours. I realize that this is normal, what almost every working person in the world does, and in fact I did it myself for over 20 years. But, I haven't done it for more than 5 years and in that time I enjoyed increasing autonomy and flexibility, working from home about half the time. I feel like I am giving up a lot and I'm resentful that it wasn't on my timetable.

Also, I have never owned a horse and worked full-time before. I went to see my orthopedist last Friday and he sentenced me to six more weeks of physical therapy. He said by the end of that time I will have lost the ability to gain any more range of motion, whatever I've got by the time the scar tissue sets is all I'm going to get. I know six weeks is a long time, but I believe I need to prepare myself for the possibility that I will not get back to 100% use of my left arm. I will ride again, I have no doubt about that, but I need to be realistic.

I had hoped to negotiate being able to leave early a couple of days a week so I could get to the farm in time to ride, but now that I will have to arrive late twice a week because of physical therapy, that's not going to be possible. This is a critical time in our relationship, with both of us getting over injury and downtime, and I don't think I need to tell anyone that a thoroughbred mare in her prime is not a weekender kind of horse.

Right now the ocean has disappeared. I have to believe it's still there behind all the cloud cover and I will need some help to make that leap of faith. I do believe that it's time for some (more) professional help, in fact. I looked up my old therapist the other day and bookmarked his contact information.


  1. I believe that when life presents us with challenges it is inviting us to discover something important about ourselves that will encourage growth and the opportunity to partake of something bigger & better than we could ever imagine on our own. Unfortunately, we're required to do the hard work first. I sense that you are someone who knows first hand, what it is to go inside in an effort to make sense of your circumstances. Perhaps this new job is merely a stepping stone to something better. A means to an end. Hang in there. It will all become clear in time.

    In the meantime, wear your favourite rocketship underpants to work. ;o)


  2. Donna, The farm and surrounding lands sound beautiful. I agree with Carolynn that sometimes opportunity is a way to test our strengths and tap into greater hidden potential in ourselves than even we realized we had. Having this job frees you up from immediate worries and allows you to heal your wounded shoulder. Hopefully, once the economy gets stronger you can go back to your freedom and Missy on your own terms and enjoy more time with the beautiful meadow and away from the madding crowd and exhaust fumes.

    For right now, congratulations on the job! I am thrilled for you because trust me, I know from experience that the alternative is even less pretty. Hopefully, this is a turning point and things will start to get better.

    The ocean is still there. I promise.

  3. Wow, your new job sounds tremendously promising - congratulations!
    Now that you'll be gainfully employed, maybe you can find an agile teenager to exercise the mare for you a couple of afternoons/week?
    (I know that feeling of wanting to do it all YOURSELF, but sometimes it just ain't possible. I hated sending my B-baby away, then I STILL didn't have enough time w/him - I joke around that maybe by the time he's 10, I'll have a good trail horse! & that's not a complete joke ;-)

  4. It all sounds good, even the part where Missy will have to see you only on the weekends. That will straighten out in time.

    Congratulations. It is truly a step forward.