Advantage #345 of being out of work: You can take time off from biting your nails in front of your empty email inbox to go stuffed-kangaroo hunting.
(Yes, I’m trying to look on the bright side of things, especially after a new acquaintance told me yesterday that The Secret really did work for her, and while I felt like saying that as far as I’m concerned The Secret is Money, Wealth, Power, and Connections – none of which I have – and to tell The Secret to go screw itself – I am not being my flippant, negative self but yes, trying to be positive. So. Not so secret but definitely better than being a bitter whine-o.)
Back to the story. I have no idea why I thought it was a good idea to let my almost four-year-old daughter take both mama and baby kangaroos with us on our trek to the downtown library, and then why I let the baby ride in my pocket, which it promptly fell out of on the way.
After many tears, I promised we would find the joey, and, on our way home, we did. My daughter scooped it up and fell asleep in her stroller, while I mulled over my joblessness.
Well, when we got home, the joey was gone again, and again, many tears and promises of finding it again.
But seriously, what was I thinking? The kangaroo is the same color of all the leaves that have just started falling from the trees along Locust Avenue, and just as small. I didn’t notice the darn thing falling out of her lap – obviously having the keen eyesight of an owl is not one of my strong points (though I have many – stay positive, Amy!) – how the heck was I going to find it AGAIN?
Today I ran and reran yesterday’s route, scouring the ivy and wincing at the drains, my heart aching for the poor kangaroo. The whole time I was searching, I kept trying to have hope; we found it once – certainly a miracle could happen again – right? Or is that kind of serendipity non-repeating?
I jogged along, feeling all the worry, anxiety, and fear focused on the stuffed animal that’s been plaguing me about not finding a job. I couldn’t find the kangaroo. I can’t find a job. My luck feels like it’s run out. Secret or no secret, having hope and enough energy to keep on looking feels not only hard but foolish. And it feels like if I were only better, if I’d been more prudent, if I’d done this or that, I wouldn’t be in this situation, letting everyone down…
I don’t know how I’m going to tell Jo about the kangaroo. We have plenty of little animals the mother kangaroo can adopt. I can invent a story about the Teeny Tiny Fairy finding the joey and taking her to a safe tree. I could go out and purchase a similar-enough looking toy to replace it. I could hope she forgets.
The thing is, I was so glad the first time we stumbled upon the lost kangaroo, because it felt like a lesson in trusting the universe, in finding what is lost, in hope. But not finding it a second time seems an equal lesson in the complete opposite direction – you can’t always get what you want. The universe is not always benevolent. Sometimes we lose things we love, despite all our best intentions and hard work. Despite all our hope and good energy.
The secret of happiness isn’t getting what you want. It’s following your bliss and learning to love what you have, let go of what you have not. I can’t control the job situation, but I can accept that it is what it is, and enjoy the ability to kangaroo-hunt in the meantime.
It’s not as easy an answer as I’d like to know for myself or teach my daughter. But probably, as the kangaroo’s disappearance proves, it is a more accurate description of the nature of things.
Goodbye, little joey. I hope you have found a happy home.
And hey, future job, I’m going to find you, someday…