Sarah wakes up, scurrying around, trying to find her cell phone. Did she get any Facebook “likes” while she was asleep? How about Instagram? Did she gain any followers over night? Disappointed, and with a bit of a hangover, she sits down her phone and hops in the shower. She has to be at work by 7:30 for a big meeting with the other HR managers so she skips breakfast and heads out the door. Heading out the door, she tries to psyche herself up. She was living “the dream”: working for a big corporation and actually getting to hire and fire people, and counsel and admonish her underlings on their “effectiveness”.
Sitting through all those boring lectures at MSU in the business school were worth it, now that she was living out her dream and had the power she always craved. A few more years, and even if she didn’t marry someone wealthy, she could pay off her loan and credit card debt and afford to buy that furniture from Restoration Hardware like her friends have, and get rid of that old IKEA stuff she’d had for 4 years.
On the 35 minute drive to work, she turns on the pop station to hear the latest news and listen to some celebrity gossip: Jane became John, the presidential candidate was in a Twitter war with Ellen, US women only make 78.5 cents on the dollar compared to men, and apparently Peyton Brady had an affair with his maid! These hits of indignant-fueled adrenaline are not quite enough to keep her stimulated and feeling alert, so at the red lights she checks “Slate” magazine and Facebook on her phone. At least she got 3 likes. After a long day of TPS reports, meetings, and Equal Opportunity / Sensitivity classes, she leaves work at 6:15, starving to death. Managing a healthy snack on the way home, she’s able to fight for a bike and make the 7 pm spin class where loud techno music is blasted for an hour, drowning out her uneasiness at turning 37 next month. What a brutal workout!
Luckily, Fresh Market is open until 9 so she stops by for some pre-made sushi and a bottle of wine after the spin. “The Bachelor” comes on at 9, and if she hurries she can make it home in time. As “The Bachelor” plays and she sips on her 2011 French Sauvignon Blanc, she reminisces about the black lady at the cafeteria at work. Why did she seem so damn happy every day, with a job like that? As the sentimental “Folgers” coffee commercial plays during the commercial break, she feels a tinge of loneliness and takes another sip of wine. When the drama of “The Bachelor” returns, she quickly forgets the feelings of loneliness as the excitement of the dramatic story unfolds.
At 10, exhausted, Sarah gets ready for bed and crashes at 10:30, reading a bit of 50 Shades of Grey, which Oprah has been talking about, before bedtime. Glancing down at her Crate & Barrel rug as she turns off the light, she feels a tinge of pride at how far she’s come in life and how “free” she is, compared to her Mom, who still lives in her little hometown in Iowa.
Sara wakes up, scurrying around, trying to find her journal. What did she dream about again? What was it that was bothering her? Was that what the dream was trying to tell her? She knows she really shouldn’t allow that person to mistreat her, and she wants to get her feelings out on paper so she can think through the situation and take a few minutes of quite time, so she’ll know the right thing to do. At peace, she sits down her journal and hops in the shower. She has to be at work by 7:30 for a big meeting with the other HR managers so luckily she’s gotten up early enough to have a healthy breakfast.
Heading out the door, she couldn’t believe it. She was living with integrity: out of debt, working for a company which shares her values and getting to encourage and love people through her work. Sitting through all those boring lectures at MSU in the business school were worth it, now that she was living out her dream and sharing it with so many of her friends and family. Another year, and she would have enough money to start her own business, or move closer to home, or take her parents on a trip overseas, which would be great because they sacrificed quite a bit for her to get to go to college.
On the 35 minute drive to work, she turns on the radio and hears the latest news and celebrity gossip and quickly turns it off, repulsed. She has a half-hour to practice Spanish on the way to work. After a long day of working on an important project, avoiding meaningless meetings, and taking a continuing education class, she leaves work at 4:15, with plenty of energy to go to the gym. Managing a healthy snack on the way out, she’s able to make the 5 pm cardio class with her friend Jill (who is turning 36 next month like her and is trying to lose weight) so she can encourage and motivate her. She even met a nice Hispanic man in class, Julio, who asked her out after he heard that she knew Spanish.
Luckily, Fresh Market is on the way home so she stops by for some fresh vegetables and a nice bottle of wine after the workout. After all, her best friends from her book club are coming over this weekend and she wants to serve some wine to them. The 60 Minutes interview with the President comes on at 7, and if she hurries she can make it home in time to watch. As 60 Minutes plays and she sips on her sparkling water, she reminisces about the black lady at the cafeteria at work. Why did she take so long to get to know Michelle in the cafeteria? After all, it’s amazing how far she has made it considering her childhood and she really looks forward to seeing her every day and values her solid friendship and admires her joyful attitude.
As the sentimental “Folgers” coffee commercial plays during the commercial break, she feels a tinge of happiness and excitement when she remembers her parents who she will see this weekend. I’m one lucky girl and have so much to be thankful for, she thinks. When the interview returns, she quickly focuses on what the President says, since he doesn’t share her exact political views and she wants to understand where he’s coming from to see if they have common ground.
At 10, exhausted, Sarah gets ready for bed and crashes at 10:30, reading a bit of Solzhenitsyn before bedtime. Glancing down at her Crate & Barrel rug she picked up on Craigslist for next to nothing, as she turns off the light, she feels optimistic and peaceful about her life and the way it’s heading. Since she really decided to make some positive changes in her life like opening herself up to new friendships, focusing on her family, achieving self-directed work projects, setting boundaries, avoiding negative influences, eating better, getting out of debt, and not trying to shop her way to happiness, she’s beaten her addiction, her depression, has all sorts of meaningful relationships and is sleeping better than she ever has.
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