JBB’s Final Thoughts Episode 23: Six-Months Later – Search for Meaning Continues

JBB’s Final Thoughts Episode 23: Six-Months Later – Search for Meaning Continues.: Half a year has now gone by since my lay-off. That’s the longest I’ve been unemployed since 1979. The process really makes you think about what’s really important in life… like I need any more encouragement to be reflective. What will this next chapter bring and what will it demand from me?

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JBB’s Final Thoughts, season 2 episode 1: Six-Months Later Search for Meaning Continues

Joe Bustillos, here. There’s been a bit of gap between this episode and the last and I’ve decided to give the video version another go. New this season, I’ve cooked up a DIY TelePrompter to help keep my ramblings down to a minimum while keeping some semblance of eye contact AND I actually have a show sponsor …

Today’s sponsor is Audible.com®. Audible is offering our listeners a free audiobook of your choice and a free 30-day trial membership. Just go to audibletrial.com/jbbsfinalthoughts and choose from over 180,000 audio programs – download a title free and start listening. It’s that easy. I’m a big fan and just recently finished listening to “On the Move” by famed British neurologist, Oliver Sacks, which is more of a personal memoir than his previous works which were based on his studies. To get your own copy of “On the Move” or any of Audible’s many title go to audible trial dot com slash jbbsfinalthoughts – that’s audible trial dot com slash jbbsfinalthoughts and get started today. Thanks to Audible for supporting podcasting and this program.

JBB’s Final Thoughts, S02E01: Six-Months Later – Search for Meaning Continues

So, I wanted to share my status, but am not entirely sure what I should or shouldn’t say. It’s a very weird place for me to try to work from. Basically after being unemployed for the past 6-months I’ve accepted a local full-time position, but it’s not nearly for what I was making before and there are no health benefits. At the same time I’m also hoping to hear about a part-time gig that does include benefits. Between the two, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to make ends meet, assuming that I get the second gig (which, of course, it’s not very smart to make based experiences over the past six-months).

All of this leads me to continue to explore both what is important to me in my work life and how do I balance that with my financial responsibilities. I’ve made it this far thanks to being able to dip into the 401k that my previous employer thankfully set up for me. But I cannot continue to shave off any more of what was supposed to be there for me when I retire (…if I retire…). So, what do I do if I can’t find a job that pays me enough to get back to the life I was living before I was laid off? Hmmm…

I really enjoy my place, my townhouse. Because I haven’t had to share it with anyone until very recently (and roommate Ken keeps pretty much to himself in his bedroom), the place pretty much expresses my personality with the mostly Beatles or NASA artwork on the walls and the many bookshelves. When Tricia and I were together she was comfortable staying here, especially given that her office was less than a mile away, but also communicated that this was my place and if we were going to move in together we’d have to find a new place that would bear both of our personalities. I agreed with that assessment. But the question now is, how important is this place to me, given my financial down-turn? Would I be better off finding less expensive lodgings so that my debt doesn’t get completely out of control? How important is having this place to my quality of life?

I have a few friends who are fans of the tiny home movement (https://www.facebook.com/TinyHouseBlog) and had an interesting conversation with best bud, Jenny, about this whole idea of living smaller. She admitted that despite have a good size home, she spends the vast majority of her time in her bedroom, kitchen and bathroom and that’s about it. My place is much smaller but these days I spend the vast majority of my time at my desk in my living room. So, even though I have much more space than when I lived in my studio apartment in Long Beach, I’m still living as if I were limited to one room. In as much as there’s just me, how small is too small and how big is too big? Granted, there is the investment part of buying a home (or in my case a townhouse), but unless I double my payments I’m still 24-years away from owning this place (which will put me in my 80s… yeah, that’s kind’a funny). Conversely, can I really find a decent smaller place for less than I’m paying right now?

I guess a lot of this depends on whether I stay in Orlando, working at lower paying jobs. And that point leads me back to where I want to go or what I want to do as my work life. I’ve been an educator for 19-years and it has always been much more than a job. It became my mission. And what I learned over the course of the past 19-years, especially the last six-years of teaching fully online, I’d hate to see what I’ve learned from those experiences evaporate because of some corporate budgetary adjustments. But I can’t see myself going back to being a drone in the public K-12 environment. Maybe taking these non-teaching jobs will give me the freedom to communicate what I learned and how important this may be as education transitions from what it was to what it can be. Right now I really don’t know. I still believe in the cause, but I can’t see where I might be able to support myself and pursue this mission. But then again, looking back, I took a huge cut in pay when I went from my technician job at the phone company and began my teaching career. And then I took another cut in pay when I left California to teach in Florida. Question is, how much further do I have to go, so that I find the balance between supporting myself and doing whatever it is that I’m supposed to do with my life? Funny, 56-years-old and I’m still trying figure out what I want to be when I grow up.

I don’t think that I’ve ever taken the easy or safe route. But looking over the challenges I’ve faced over the past four-years, with my health, a pair of relationship-us-interruptus and getting laid off, clearly I needed a pretty severe kiss in the ass to get me to ponder my path in life and not slavishly maintain the course I was on. My health, my home, those closest to me, how many layers do we need to dig through before we uncover the real me?

I’m reminded of the great scene in the film, “American Beauty,” when Kevin Spacey’s character sets his severance price, one-year salary with benefits, to remain silent about his company’s wrong doing, to which his soon-to-be-former boss says…

“Man, you are one twisted fuck.”

And Spacey responds, “Nope, I’m just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose.”

I don’t know how much further down this road I have to go before I grasp which direction I’m supposed to go in. But I do recognize that there are things and distractions that I’ll probably have to shed before I get there. And there’s a pretty good possibility that there’s no “there” there, but that I’m already doing what I was meant to do. During my studies at Pepperdine we were strongly encouraged to remember that it’s not the destination but the journey that’s most important. Clearly I’m on my way to somewhere…

Thank you for spending this time with me at JBB’s Final Thoughts, please check out my website at joebustillos.com (spell out)… for more of my musings and thoughts, and leave a comment or “like” where-ever you happen to find this episode. And give my sponsor a look at audibletrial.com/jbbsfinalthoughts

Catch you later, bye-bye

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