“You have no events scheduled for today.”
This is the message that greets me most mornings on my iPad screen, a somewhat harsh reminder that I am currently unemployed. I chose to leave my former job after much thought, some might even say consternation. It just felt like the right time — you know, searching for greener pastures and all that — but it could have been nothing more than a mini mid-life crisis.
In our society, so much of our identity is wrapped up in what we “do,” and when you are between jobs or in transition (choose your preferred colloquialism) as I am, this can present some challenges — if you allow it to. But for me, the extra hours of unscheduled, unstructured time have been a gift.
During these nine months of joblessness, I have participated in quite a bit of Self-Indulgent Naval Gazing (SING), a term I cannot take credit for, but love nonetheless. As a result, I’ve learned to enjoy my own company, to practice self-belief, to discover new passions, to be patient and to be grateful, always. It may have taken me 49 years to get here, but hey it’s all about the journey, right?
I don’t know what the future holds but I do hope that it includes gainful employment. Much as I enjoy the solitary peace that comes with SING-ing, I’ve learned that I am at my best when I am part of something larger than myself. Working toward a common goal, no matter how great or small my role in that may be, is part of who I am. I like that, and I’m glad that I know it now.
Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce:
The base of this sauce is adapted from Molly Wizenberg‘s recipe for Slow-Roasted Tomatoes. It provides ample opportunity for self-reflection, given that the tomatoes hang out in the oven for a good 3-4 hours. I used this sauce tonight for my Greek Shrimp Pasta Bake, but there are myriad other ways to use it. It’s so good, you may be tempted to eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon.
Approximately 20 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 c. plus 1 T. olive oil
Cracked black pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 sun-dried tomatoes
1 t. lemon juice
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place the sliced tomatoes in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and pour the coated tomatoes on to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 3-4 hours, until tomatoes are crinkled at the edges and have begun to caramelize.
Once tomatoes are finished roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Pour the cooled tomatoes into the bowl of a food processor or blender, followed by the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil and additional salt and pepper to taste. Pulse until desired consistency is achieved. The sauce should be almost completely smooth, but still thick.