Whistling in the dark

Photo of Maira Kalman's The Principles of Uncertainty

Job hunting is – at its best – a voyage of discovery. At its worst, it is terrifying and overwhelming.

I’ve been fortunate to have family and friends (framily) who cheer me on and take me seriously when I ask for accountability.

Still, much of the day of searching and “discovery”  I feel like I am whistling in the dark or talking myself through shadowy swamps and unknown places.

When I served as the marketing and development point person for Sunset Zoo, I would close the Zoo at night and whistle the same tune as I walked the park. That tiny little tune comforted me as I looked for animal shenanigans of every kind. After 4.5 years of the same tune whistled several times a week, it seemed that some of the animal collection recognized me by my song.  I’m hoping that Bob, the Tiger, liked the song and wasn’t planning his response to an ill-thrown snowball that justhappenedtohithimbetweentheeyes…

Did you ever see “The King and I” with Yul Brynner (King) and Deborah Kerr (Anna)? Early in the movie, Anna and her son prepare to leave the boat that has taken them from England to Siam. The boy is afraid and his mum comforts him and sings about “whistling a happy tune” so that she does not have to be afraid. I get this mental gymnastics towards courage. So many of us do.

Whistling in the dark is not misplaced bravado or denying the fear, but that thing or those things that we do to help summon courage in times when the way is dark.

Lay-offs and job hunting are not the worst things in this short life, but they sting and raise shadowy fears in the dark places of the day.

But there are even worse things.

In the last 24 hours I’ve heard of many folks facing the dark or unknown

  • a first triathlon
  • college move in day
  • sickness
  • hard news
  • failure
  • learner’s driving permit
  • loss of a loved one

What do You do to remember your courage?

Many people pray, folks run, we call our friends, we cry or become quiet. I know folks who drive when they are stressed and have put many miles on their old cars.

I am going to keep whistling and reminding myself that we are all in this together. Though praying is no longer my default (it would be sweet to have those deep and invisible assurances again), I will be quiet, run, and ride my bike a bit.

But I will keep pursuing meaningful work that aligns need with my skills, that is safe and healthy; and that serves.

Every day.
Read the emails.
Ask the questions.
Make the phone calls.
Fill out all of those forms.
Tweak the resume and cover letter.

And always rememberingIn good company we can be brave.” –John Irving

Still searching for the North Star.


About allielousch

Engaged in everyday adventures and derring do.
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2 Responses to Whistling in the dark

  1. Karen Mestrovich Seay says:

    I so enjoy what and how you write, Allie—This post was particularly meaningful and spot on for me today. Thank you and hugs to your heart and journey…Karen

  2. Glad we don’t travel alone. Much love.

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