I have settled on my first tattoo idea. I’ve decided on the ampersand, which not only has an interesting history (at least to me), but is also meaningful and just intrinsically beautiful to me. It’s one of those visuals that I don’t understand why I like it, but I do — though I suppose most things are like that.
&: The idea of more. The idea of something else, of a future, of an open door, of more possibility. More often than not, I need a reminder that life is full of ands more than ends.
About two weeks ago I was turned down for a position that I thought I would’ve been wonderful for, but a retired woman with many more years experience was hired instead. The way another position rejection earlier from the summer was a good lesson in not worrying too much about the logistics until you know whether or not you got it (I spent hours trying to figure our lives out living in Kansas …), this was a good lesson in “There is really nothing else I could have done.” I was told that while I did exceptionally well in the interview and that I couldn’t have improved on anything, the experience won out. I can understand that. You put in as much control as you can, and that is doing the best you can to try and earn the job you want. But after that, control is out of your hands. Accept it. There is an &.
I came back in late August from a genealogy conference in Fort Wayne, representing my job. It was exhausting but a good experience. I left poor Derek with all of our moving boxes to deal with. Since I’ve been back, I’ve slowly gone through things and it feels so good to make this place a home. It is amazing what a change of scenery can do. To say the least, we actively disliked our last apartment that we moved into sight-unseen, since we were coming from California. We couldn’t afford another move mid-school, but after two years it was too much. I am so in love with our new place. I feel like it was meant for us. The kittens even love it: Francesca has taken to rolling around on her back and Oslo has never found round bell toys so fun before.
It has all hardwood floors, save for the kitchen and bathroom which are linoleum. The kitchen is spacious, so much so that I had enough counter space to make both an apple pie and a batch of brownies tonight! We turned a third bedroom into a kitten room, an extension of our closet, and a reading room. Our bedroom is small, but a perfect size since we don’t spend a lot of time awake in there. We are sharing a room as an office and sometimes call it “the electronics room.” I love working with Derek by my side. Our living room is full of light and the way the setting sun hits the floor is gorgeous. We just found a couch at a thrift store that works perfectly with our old chairs. I’ve never been so in love with a home.
Along with getting settled, exciting things have been happening in potential-future-employment land. Nothing is for certain, of course, and I have definitely learned to have enough hope to give when I really want something but not so much hope that my future feels devastated. The last time I faced extended unemployment after a graduation, nothing happened until suddenly it all did, and it happened so fast. I have a feeling that is happening now, but I’m not going to have any expectations! This extended under-employment period has really taught me patience and trust. I have also learned to be intensely grateful for the people who believe in me and want to see me succeed.
For me, “&” signals to not despair, because there is more. I hope that my other future tattoos will be reminders that not only is there more coming, but that right now I have enough. Life is good. Do not despair, just go make another apple pie in a space you love for the person you love with your little kittens pacing through your legs the entire time.
(There’s also a quote that has made its round on Pinterest: “Resembling a broken infinity, the ampersand reminds us that nothing truly lasts forever but there is always an AND.” I’m generally more comfortable with endings than uncertainties. I never like the end of a good book, of course, but it has to happen.)