Ken Leighton 5 p.m., Jan. 24
The Road to Recovery...Reclaiming the Perfect Slice of San Diego
While moving back with mom and pop’s after a devastating job loss and a heart wrenching engagement break up to join the ranks of California’s 9.4% unemployed during the worst recession of a lifetime isn’t every 24-year-old bachelorette’s dream summer; I couldn’t have picked a better place to lick the wounds of a quarter life crisis.
I arrived home from my 2-year stint in Jamaica at the beginning of June. There are some benefits to returning to the United States from a Caribbean paradise. For example, ordering a triple non-fat sugar free latte and a chocolate chip cookie the size of my face would result in some head scratching in Jamaica yet it is considered normal behavior in the comfort that I call home. Nestled in between the 94 and 805 freeways is the Chollas View/Oak Park border community and what I consider the perfect slice of San Diego. Near enough to all of life’s necessities and just a taste away from everything else. It is the home that I was born in, and with just as much choice, have been catapulted back into.
I have learned to recuperate in a recession is difficult but not impossible. In order to claw my way through today’s job market and simultaneously nurse a broken heart I have learned to take care of myself while keeping “my eyes on the prize”. Everyone has to have the heart and determination of Rocky Balboa in these times. But when the, “Gonna Fly Now” theme songs dies down in the background, or your ipod runs out of batteries, it is likely that you will have to do what I did and find your own peace. Luckily, I have the support of my family and friends and also have learned the ropes to swing to a plethora of free and low-budget activities within 5-minutes drive of my home.
Just around the corner I frequent Kensington video where I can grab a post-break up movie like “Sweet November” and curl up with the Ben and Jerry’s and a tub of homemade popcorn. To burn off those sweet calories I jog to the nearby estuary of Chollas Lake located on College Grove Ave. is the perfect place to catch fish or jog into the sunset over a birds eye view of spanning from Downtown San Diego to San Diego State. Holy Spirit church is right across the street from the lake and always holds mass everyday at 7:30 am where I can get my dose of purposeful and inspiring recession themed messages. Including the classic, “Jesus calms the storms of life” from Mark 4:39. For the more spiritual side of me I have been taking advantage of free meditation sessions every Tuesday at 7:30 pm from Pilgrimage Yoga in Normal Heights. Thanks to the desperation I was wearing on my face last Tuesday the nice yoga receptionist lady even gave me two free passes to yoga classes. A little kindness goes a long way.
The most important thing that I have learned thus far is to keep the hope alive any way you know how. The road to recovery has been depressing, life-changing, revealing, and exciting. And for all the recent-graduate, recent job loss, love seeking, job hunting, slowly dying to have a job people out there just know that you are not alone in the struggle and you will find your “peace” of the pie. I know I will, and through the heartache I know that someday I will look back at this and smile knowingly.
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- Week 1 and Day 2 of Being Unemployed — Sept. 15, 2011
- Out of the Woods: How to Build a Career with Your Own Two Hands — Feb. 4, 1999