Halloween is coming! I keep mentioning Halloween and a reader who has been following this blog might say, "Okay, I get it, but what's with this Halloween obsession anyway?". In some of my earlier posts I did promise that I would eventually get to the whys and wherefores of my interest in Halloween and now it's probably a good time to finally get to that business. After all, the first week of October is almost over and Halloween is coming very soon.
As I have indicated in previous posts, I have been unemployed since the end of February. It was a position I had held for the past 18 years. I was managing a regional warehouse for one of the largest wholesale costume and other related merchandise distributors in the United States. It was a process of downsizing and facility consolidation -- not really a factor of the national economy, but one of business economics. Not wanting to relocate I chose instead to end my relationship with the company and stay where I have been living and had established roots so to speak. After 18 years of working, being unemployed has been somewhat intriguing-- a time when I've been able to open new doors, like writing this blog, and explore some of the opportunities for rediscovering old dreams, like writing in general.
Still old habits are hard to let go of. There were many aspects of my job that I savored. I wore many hats which made for a lot of job variety, which I enjoy. As the one in charge I had a lot of freedom within the workplace. Yet at the same time, being the manager, I was in many ways a willing slave to my job. All year we would be either be preparing for the next Halloween or recovering for Halloween recently gone by. The months of September and October were a madhouse of seeming non-stop work except for a few hours of sleep each night. During those months there was a level of intense excitement and a usually positive stress level. Now with all of this no longer a part of my life I tend reflect upon these old habits now and then. And due to my past immersion in the Halloween season I maintain an interest in that final day of October.
Last Saturday as I was out and about I drove past several Halloween stores and naturally took notice of them to see what their presentations were like and how many cars were in the parking lots. All but one store were temporary stores that are only open for 2 or 3 months. That is the nature of much of the business these days. Many of the small year round costumes shops have closed over the past decade and more close every year. It's a tough business. And it is made even more difficult by the proliferation of online stores. In fact, most of the shops that have remained in business have out of necessity opened their own web sites in order to compete. It's like any highly competive business -- you have to adapt to the changes of the modern age in order to survive. The old schoolers usually just don't make it.
Not working at a job that I have been used to doing for many years feels somewhat odd. There is a poignancy that envelops me when my thoughts fall back to my old position. However, I don't stay there long. There is a sense of freedom also that sets my thinking in new directions. As is often said, when one door closes, another one opens --- the end is an opportunity for a new beginning. For me it is time and though at times uncertain, I am excited.
For me Halloween is past -- a fun memory of childhood and an important resume entry in my adult life. Halloween now has a new significance which is possibly that it will no longer be very significant to me. But still Halloweeen is coming and I will have some more things to say about Halloween.