For the end of the story — #2 daughter was unemployed for one week, almost to the hour. Actually she was offered a temporary job just about 7 hours after first becoming unemployed, so she wasn’t exactly unemployed, but she was underemployed. As of Monday, she will have two jobs — organizing a music library (the temporary one) and being an administrative assistant (the permanent one). I think she is still a job huntress, but she has the coveted Day Job that an aspiring performer must have. She is singing in the Symphony Chorus and in a special choir for the performance of a composer visiting the city, and is being considered for the position of choir director at her local church. It seems to me that she is back on track.

She has an apartment with basic stuff and a roomie who will soon arrive with furniture. She has a car to drive, although there seem still to be some issues with the arrival of the actual car she bought. It is some kind of prima donna of a car which can’t be gotten out of Kentucky. She will presumably be late everywhere she goes as soon as she starts driving it. She has dates or non-date meet-ups every night, as far as I can tell.

And yet, she is not contented. To me she appears to be doing exactly what the plot calls for in the story of the rising young opera singer. Maybe she should be waiting tables, but otherwise, she is exactly on target. She has had some problems, moved the plot along a bit, and now she can make some career progress, fall in love with someone, get a new hat, whatever — depends what kind of story it is, and we don’t know that yet. It may be time for an amusing misunderstanding with the male lead, if it is going to be that sort of story. There should be some picturesque moments, and I think she is managing that with meals of reheated pasta (she learned to cook for a family and hasn’t gotten the hang of reducing recipes yet) and bottle of celebratory wine.

The catch of course is that she isn’t in a story, but in her real life, which is more difficult and uncertain than it was when she lived at home or in the dorms.

Except that I think we are all, in some ways, in our own stories. I mentioned that I thought job-hunting was fun, and Lostarts wanted to know how that could be. For me, when I have looked for jobs, it has felt like a smorgasbord of possibilities, and an opportunity to meet new people — like a party, or the beginning of a journey. For many, it feels like a trial. What we do is the same, but my story about it — my internal experience of it — is different and positive.

The book Freedom From Agoraphobia points out that people pay good money to be scared on roller coasters, so the terror I feel on freeway overpasses could be reframed as thrills and chills, which are fun, instead of life-threatening fear. I haven’t quite achieved that, but I do remind myself of it whenever I face those overpasses.

C.S. Lewis once wrote that we tend to accept bad feelings as real, but discount good feelings as illusory. Some of #2 daughter’s feelings don’t seem to me to hook up with her observable reality, but that doesn’t make them less real for her. For example, she has said she feels lonely, even though she is almost never alone and has lots of friends, a useful mentor, a church family, and fairly continuous contact with her family. Since she grew up in a close family, with a sister very near her age, and then lived in a dorm where stepping out into the hall brought immediate human contact, her current situation can seem lonely by contrast. But it’s a story, the friendless young woman in the big city. The fact that whenever she starts telling it to herself someone calls and invites her to see a movie gets in the way of it a little, but we can maintain our stories about ourselves in the face of real-world counter-evidence pretty well.

A bit of morning philosophy, here.

#1 son got his class schedule yesterday; it was full of surprises for me, but I guess classes in psychology and marketing can be helpful to a drifter (his career goal). #2 son will get his today — his dad is taking him, which will solve my two-places-at-once problem. The Telemark sweater has grown but would still look like a black spot on the screen, so I am not offering any pictures. I am continuing to insist on some laziness on these summer evenings, in the interest of maintaining calm cheerfulness in the crazed atmosphere that we now have all day at work. Our own family back-to-school preparations are crying out for time and money, but I know that all things will get done.

One of the singers from the Master Chorale was in yesterday, asking if I planned to sing in it this season. We are doing Brahms. I don’t get that many opportunities to sing Brahms, actually. If I sing in the Master Chorale on Mondays, go to class with Partygirl on Tuesdays, sing in my church choir on Wednesdays, and join the Chamber Singers on Thursdays, will I feel overextended? Will my menfolks feel neglected? Will I miss them? Will the housework ever get done?