Perspective on the Half Shell

Ten years ago today, my life was in shambles. I was jobless, my on-again/off-again relationship was off again, and I was hopelessly upside down in my mortgage. I was reminded of this thanks to a Facebook memory that popped up from March 2, 2011. It read:

Well, crap. My Groupon dream just went up in smoke. Tough competition…and somebody else got the gig. I’m having a serious “now what am I going to do?” moment here.

At the time, I’d been out of work for a little over four months. Had I known my unemployment would stretch out for a total of 20 months, I probably would have contemplated jumping off a cliff or something in order to save myself a ton of misery. I’d been trying to eke out a living as a freelance writer and, despite the fact that I had no professional experience at the time, Groupon came calling with an opportunity I could not refuse. They had put me through a rigorous trial period in which I was paid to write a bunch of coupon copy using their cleverly humorous brand voice. I was confident I’d nailed the assignments and looked forward to the landing a full-time job with them, but alas, it was not to be. One decade ago today I received that rejection and it crushed me.

Seeing this pop up today in my newsfeed sent me down a rabbit hole of old gmail chats with a former flame (the “on-again/off-again” gal). I couldn’t help but cringe because every third word that leapt off the screen was a lie. Hindsight is both a beautiful and ugly thing.

Anyway. I finally tore myself free of those ancient conversations, feeling a little dirty, like I needed to purge myself with a long soak in a hot shower. But also supremely grateful for my current life, which is 1,000 times better. Things felt so hopeless on this date 10 years ago, and today, I feel like I’ve got it all. In fact, I was reminiscing about all this with Tara after work, as she was shucking oysters for a pre-dinner appetizer. In our cozy and beautiful house in the great Midwest, minutes after we got home from well-paying, soul-satisfying jobs. The dichotomy was not lost on me, this complete 180-degree turnaround. Tara sometimes says life is so good that she can’t help waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I told her we both went through some pretty shitty years and put in a lot of hard work to build this life for ourselves, and today we are reaping the rewards.

I think she’s finally come around to my way of thinking.

Why yes, you can find decent oysters in the Midwest.

Anyway. Inadvertent trip down Memory Lane, one I didn’t plan on taking but I’m glad for the detour because it helped spark gratitude.

In other news, looks like I’ll be getting a COVID-19 vaccination soon. I’d signed up on the waiting list, and received an email notification today that read, The SD Department of Health recently made a change to the 1D priority group. The requirement of two underlying medical conditions has been reduced to one underlying medical condition. We would like to give you the opportunity to move to this group if you meet the updated criteria. If you have one of the following conditions please click the button below to be automatically updated on the waitlist.

One of those underlying conditions is Diabetes Mellitus Type 2, which I was diagnosed with at the end of 2014. I hadn’t initially “claimed” any underlying condition because my diabetes has been in total remission for six years now after I implemented drastic lifestyle changes. My doctor told me the medical world doesn’t believe a person is ever “permanently cured” of diabetes, though it has sure felt that way to me as I haven’t taken medications since 2015 and my A1C levels have been in the normal range for years. But still, technically, I have this diagnosis and do, in fact, qualify for an earlier vaccination.

Despite all that, I didn’t want to “jump the line” given my overall health. Today, I only meant to click on a button in the email for more information, but didn’t realize that in doing so, I leapt to the current group because I had accidentally said yes, I have an underlying condition. Oops. I actually went to the clinic’s website and tried to “reset” my status, but there was no option to do so. I felt bad about this and started chatting with my boss, filling her in on the background. She assured me I’d done nothing wrong under the circumstances, and said that every person who is vaccinated is helping protect those who have not been vaccinated. That’s an excellent point, and after hearing it, I felt much better.

So, now I wait. According to the website they are now “actively vaccinating” my group, so I could conceivably end up scheduled for an appointment any day now.

Bring it on!

19 thoughts on “Perspective on the Half Shell

  1. Isn’t it great to look back at how we used to be, and what we’ve overcome? Sure, it didn’t seem like fun at the time, but all these experiences, even your rejection from Groupon, makes who you are today. Thanks for sharing your story with us!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right. I wouldn’t be where I am today if the Groupon job had worked out. It could have been a fantastic opportunity or might have gone to crap anyway, but regardless, I wouldn’t change a thing now. I just wish we had some way of knowing how stressful things like this would positively impact our future lives while living them!


  2. My husband decided to clean out the garage this weekend, hoping to find the small critter leaving footprints on the car. I went through boxes of old photos and down the rabbit hole of memory. Found photos of at least one cheater ex and one narcissist ex and, even though I am an atheist, thought, “There but for the grace of God go I…”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The question is, what did you do with those photos?

      I still have a shoebox full of high school love letters from my ex. Even though things didn’t work out and I haven’t looked at them in 20+ years, I can’t quite bare to part with them. Maybe someday they’ll go to my kids.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I tossed most of the photos. I’d held onto photos and letters for decades, sure someone would want to read them. But since I don’t actually want to read them anymore, it was time for the purge!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Nothing like a rotten past to make you appreciate a wonderful present. Though I have to question you saving chats with an ex.
    And don’t feel guilty about the vaccine appointment. We need everyone protected as soon as possible. I’m anxiously waiting my turn.. probably sometime next month.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the thing…I didn’t save those chats; Gmail automatically archives everything. They’re saved for eternity unless you manually go in and delete them, which seems like far too much trouble. Plus, they are part of my history, which…even though bad…still helped shape who I am today. Like the old love letters I referred to in a reply above, I can’t quite bare to get rid of them. If for no other reason than gaining perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! That’s great that you could get the vax so soon! Our state sucks with distribution. My 82 YO mom is still on the drugstore waiting list. It’s nuts because I know 20 something grocery store workers who already got their first dose through their employer.

    Life can sure change and most of it’s just pure luck. But if you don’t have your health, none of it matters. Glad your health turned around as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re absolutely right. Money doesn’t buy happiness and if you’re too unhealthy to reap the rewards you have sown, there’s little point.

      Crazy how vastly different every state’s vaccine distribution plan is, huh? Your mom should DEFINITELY have already gotten her vaccine!


    1. See, that’s interesting. Both my dad and brother got it, and they said it was a piece of cake – even easier than the first. Guess that just goes to show how different everybody’s reaction is. I’m glad you got vaccinated. Start making those 2021 travel plans now!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I appreciate the presentation of your perspective. I have had some shitty times, too, and I think that’s one of the reasons I live in gratitude. It’s nice to be healthy, well-partnered, happy at work, up on a mortgage, enjoying a lovely meal, Sometimes it’s the best relief for any sense of frustration, too — thinking about how bad it could be, because it once was, and could be even worse. Shoe drops. Ick. Best to pay attention to the abundance and happiness, revel in it, share it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I totally forgot about Groupon until you mentioned it here, Mark. I appreciate your candor and how it is always worth putting one foot in front of the other, even when desperation sets in. A 1,000 times better life is a darn good life. I read on another site the identical phrase “…waiting for the other shoe to drop…” Hmmm? You have a very wise boss and I wholeheartedly agree with her. Thank you for sharing a positive, uplifting post, Mark. Yes, bring it on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Groupon certainly isn’t as popular as it once was. Can’t remember the last time I bought anything from them, but it was prior to our move to South Dakota, so at least three years now.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting how one small moment in time encapsulates a whole era in a person’s life. I’m with Tara, btw. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Am impressed that you got your first vaccination. I/we are a long way off from that time, as everything here is going slowly. Like glacial speed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t gotten my vaccination yet…I’m just in the group that’s currently being vaccinated now. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks.

      Tara is a pessimist and I am an optimist. That’s really what it comes down to, and she will freely admit that.

      Liked by 1 person

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