Sometimes when you're feeling a bit depressed, you just want to call up a parent and have them say something along the lines of "Aww...it's ok honey, everything is going to be fine, just you wait and see." In terms of my job search, that's kind of what I've been looking for and pretty much what I've gotten. With some helpful advice thrown in of course, but mostly a good dose of reassurance.
Then again, sometimes you don't need reassurance or a sympathetic ear. Sometimes what you need is a metaphorical kick in the ass to get you moving in the direction that, let's face it, you probably know you should be moving in anyway. And when that's what I need, I call my mom.
It's not that my dad isn't a practical person, or that he isn't helpful, or that he doesn't have piles of life experience (he is old enough to be my dad after all). It's more that...I'm his little girl. And he wants me to be happy, and he wants to give me reassurance, and he wants everything to be ok. And I love that about him. So if I call him with a general "I'm feeling down" call, he'll chat with me and do his best to make me feel better. Now if I call him with a specific problem, he will definitely jump right into solving it just like any good dad should. But otherwise, he can be what my mom would call a "tender heart."
And when my mom calls someone a tender heart, she's not exactly being complementary. It's not that she's a bad person or a mean person, she's just...not a terribly sentimental person. It's not that she doesn't understand having emotions, but she doesn't understand letting them get the better of you. She's too practical for that, and figures if something is wrong you should just get out and do something about it. More of a stereotypically male response actually, but there you have it.
So when I was on the phone with my mom the other day and said I was feeling a bit lonely and a bit down, there was no "aw honey, it'll get better." Instead the response was "is there a library in your town?" Um...yes, there is. "They always need volunteers. Go volunteer. It'll get you out of the house. Or maybe a thrift store?" Well, yes, there are several of those in town. "Good. Go check them out and pick one and let me know next week where you're working."
Straight forward, to the point, no coddling, kick in the ass. To be fair, this is a woman whose husband died less than a year ago, so perhaps she's a little less than pleased to here about how lonely I feel. But still, it's something I've known I should do for a long time, and which I've thought about doing, but have been putting off because I'm lazy and scared. And my mom knows that I can be skittish of people and lazy when it suits me, so she didn't give me a chance to be.
She made clear that there was a solution to my problem within my control, so I needed to quit my bitching and go out and do something about it. Which is something Ian, my dad, and my friends are all less likely to say because they're worried about my feelings. And I appreciate that so much, but sometimes...just sometimes...I also appreciate the kick in the ass.