I had a job interview with the NHS today, my first in a very long time. I spent all week preparing for it. I was made for that job. That job was made for me. Or so I told myself. I refused to think I wouldn't get it. I bought a new suit, researched the company, thought of answers to questions they would ask me, thought of questions to ask them.
And I didn't get the job. I interviewed quite well, the would-be boss told me, but there was a stronger candidate with more recent experience who had worked in the NHS. It hit me hard, of course, because I had allowed myself to take ownership of that job. And I thought what more could I have done? Nothing, the woman said. But there must be a way around this 18-year gap in employment. Yes, I put down all my volunteer experience. But how am I to get more recent experience if no one will hire me?
That job was going to be the ticket out of my misery. It was going to allow me a new life. Never mind that it didn't pay that much. I was all set to go out and buy new work clothes (from Tesco and Asda, being the spendthrift that my future ex-husband accuses me of being). I was going to be a working woman again. Maybe I could even afford to move out.
Tonight, while watching TV (by myself of course), I had a few revelations.
One is that I'm a "grass is always greener on the other side" sort of person. Always have been. Job not going great? Get another one and move on. Unhappy relationship? Leave it and move on. Life is always better on the other side. Except it's not. I have done this before with potential jobs, expecting my life to be magically changed by the mere fact of a different set of employers.
Another revelation I had is that I like to make grand gestures to show my love for someone. I move countries and give up my career. I give up a marriage and cause serious ructions in my relationship with my children. And do you think I get the same grand gestures back? Of course not because not everyone is as stupidly naive as I am. Not everyone is as willing to fuck up their lives. Hubby refused to give up his job and move to America for me. So I moved here, and then felt seriously homesick and depressed for at least 10 years.
The third revelation is that I expect the men in my life to fill a void. As I sat there on my own (my kids won't watch TV with me anymore), I realised that this was what I did every night even before the split with Hubby. There has been an emptiness and a gnawing hunger inside me for a deeply fulfilling relationship. I am lonely, but I've been lonely for years. Hubby just couldn't or wouldn't fill that void. He wasn't the first man in my life who couldn't do that though.
So what to do about these revelations? I don't know. I don't know what the next step is after revelation. I will continue to look for a job. And if I'm lucky enough to get another interview I will try that bit harder. I have to shine. I thought I did today, but evidently not enough to overcome 18 years of sitting on the sidelines. I have to work harder and longer. Somehow I will get there. Someday I will get there.
And the grass will be lush and green.