First Day

One week ago today, I started a new job. These are my thoughts from that day.

I forgot how much I loved this part of me. I just got out of a four hour intake meeting where we not only had to review services with a client, but we had to talk them back into services that they were having second thoughts about. Not only that, I got to brainstorm with them on some business ideas that weren’t necessarily anything we would handle, but I got to share my expertise with them and that felt so good.

It was time.

Time for me to get back. I think I’ve been ready to come back for a while, but I was too scared. That whole experience with the marketing group that shall remain nameless, when the divorce was at its nastiest and the car was taken away, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to stay in the house we were in… that was such a crazy time. I had no idea what was up or down and my brain was beat. 

I wrote about scrambled divorce brain and how I felt like it had finally unscrambled. I was ready to get back to work. I had tried while we were at the beginning of the nastiness, and that didn’t work out so well. It didn’t help that the training sucked and the boss who strongly identified with his bro side was mildly aggressive in all of his conversations about anything and everything he said set my PTSD on fire, but the divorce brain didn’t help any of that.

And then Larry died. 

I’ve said that so many times in the last year. It’s not an excuse. It’s a reason. It’s a reason for putting my life on hold… for taking time to heal. I had to lean in and grieve and care for my mind, body, and health. Now that time has passed and the grief has mostly subsided, I’m back in an office, more peaceful and more confident in my own abilities.

I interviewed with this group back in January, it was not the time, nor the position for me. I was bummed, but I still had a lot to process. Taking on a new job at that time could have been a disaster. This new position is a better fit, too. There’s a lot of client interfacing in this project coordinator role and I love it! I mean… I love the technology of social media, but I don’t love putting my head down and working for hours on it. I’m a people person who loves nerdy stuff. So this role is just the right fit.

The client even hugged me on the way out of the intake meeting, for goodness sake! I’d say it was a home run kind of first day.

The Bronco

He picked me up in an old Ford Bronco. It’s cool to think about now, but at the time, “doesn’t drive a truck” was on my Boyfriend Wish List. It had been my experience that an unsavory attitude came along with guys that drove trucks and I was looking to avoid that. Before any truck owners chime in, I have since owned a Land Cruise and currently drive a 4Runner. Back then, I was driving a Ford Taurus, so I wasn’t exactly in a position to judge anyone else’s choice of vehicle.

I can still see the big smile he had when I opened the door. The porch light was glowing on his face and I remember thinking he looked like the Man in the Moon. He was wearing glasses and looked adorably nerdy. We walked out to the street and I saw the Bronco. I winced inside for a moment, but thought then I decided to count the jet he flew as his main mode of transportation. It was a minor concession, I thought. But it was how quickly I threw that “rule” out that I think about now.

It was the first in a long line of concessions that would happen over the years.

We had dinner at Karl Strauss Brewing Company’s newest restaurant in Carlsbad. Craft beer had only been around for about ten years in San Diego, and brewery/restaurants were still quite the novelty. We sat at a tiny two-top on the far side of the place. The place was packed and loud, as usual, but we had no problem talking over the noise while we got to know each other.

He told me about his flying while I hid my fingernails. I have a terrible pattern of biting my nails during stressful periods in my life. You know there’s little to no chaos in my life when my nails grow and I paint them in bright, beautiful colors. But just a week before that date, the engine in my car had blown and I was having a hard time trying to figure out what to do. So while Larry told me more about how he took his savings and learned to fly, I awkwardly folded my hands in on each other, hiding the evidence of my gross little habit.

We hid a lot of habits from each other, didn’t we, Larry?

We clicked from the moment we met. I was 29. He was 38. We weren’t kids, but we were immediately goofy for each other as though we were still in high school. I loved his smile and the stories about the places he’d flown. Those stories eventually got old and I saw the smile less and less. But back then, it was all new and I was falling hard for him… about as hard as he was falling for me. So hard that he bought me a new engine for my car. I paid him back a couple of months later, but still. Who does that for someone they just met?

I remembered all of this today on the way to church. I was driving with our daughter past the airport he used to fly out of when we came up behind an old Ford Bronco.

“Your dad used to drive one of those when we first met.”

And then I told her about the night he picked me up for our first date.