It has been 144 days since I have been gainfully employed.
To be fair, the first 73 days were planned time off with three main goals.
Spend summer with kids.
Explore new city.
Try to make my head stop spinning.
check. check. and half check (apparently my head has a fondness for spinning).
I started to look for employment in September and in my (perpetually spinning) head, I envisioned myself revelling in my dream job by mid to end of September.
But sometimes life trumps intuition.
And despite my steady effort of securing employment, I started to watch the days turn into weeks and then months with no success.
So what now?
My options included:
make the most of my circumstance; I may never have an opportunity to be this free again (until my next retirement)
Just like my university days (ah my good for nothing linguistics degree…) I chose “C” (or rather 3. because I cannot seem to make this program use letter bullets – I totally should have taken more computer courses)
Here is a list, in no particular order, of how I have spent my days of leisure since the kids have returned to school and I have remained unemployed:
- unpacked more boxes, or rearranged them anyway
- learned how to live with a boy (let’s file this under on-going process)
- applied for a LOT of jobs
- had a couple interviews
- got some ink (love love love to Tedd – check his amazing work on Instagram here: TEDD2S)
- got approved for unemployment supports – ironically the same week as getting a tattoo which makes me an official ptbo resident – when do i learn the secret handshake?
- enrolled in a public speaking course at Trent University. #FaceYourFear
- invited everyone I know for dinner – please come and talk adult to me while I feel useful and cook for you!
- felt really fucking uncomfortable with my life – I suppose that’s why it’s called out of your comfort zone.
- spent quality time outside daily (This has definitely been one of the highlights of unemployment!!)
- faced a whole hell of a lot of rejection
- found comfort in my guitar during the wee hours when plagued with insomnia
- taken the time to really talk to the random people I meet throughout my day
- daytime rendezvous with my bf: Shift work + unemployment = relationship perks (particularly when you’ve moved hours away from any previous babysitters.)
- convinced myself that I was being followed by a zombie down a nature trail. (this is clearly the work of Fear the Living Dead but for real, that dude had seriously bad running form)
- free night at the canoe museum !
- completely lost track of what day it is (sometimes multiple times within the same day)
- ensured the kitchen is always well-stocked and dinner is always ready to go
- lost my road rage
- envied those who leave the house each day with purpose
- pitied those who have to leave the house each day for jobs that make them miserable
- stumbled upon some wonderful acts of kindness and true beauty
- felt calm
- read umpteen (yes, that’s a formal tally) books
- obsessed – over EVERYTHING!! (and then obsessed over it all again)
- networked in the community (yes, I am doing some things are productive)
- created (with Keith’s assistance) a chore chart for the kids which means that I don’t have to spend my days cleaning
- day drink (oh please, this was only a matter of time. besides, the kids are cleaning)
- baked about 12 dozen muffins, 6 loaves of banana bread and 100 cookies
- Biked! In the city and also a day trip to Lakefield
- biked drunk (not highly recommended though it did give me a good idea of a possible reality show)
- toured all of the downtown ptbo coffee shops (I’d pick a favourite but I truly love them all)
- reunited with old friends on social media/texts
- lost track of old friends
- made a couple new friends (ok.. a couple is a HUGE stretch… but everyone is so freaking friendly around here, I feel like I’m friends with the entire community)
- volunteered with an amazing local agency (ongoing)
- volunteered with arts week (porchapalooza tour guide and bouncer for a drag show #truth)
- worked (one day) for Elections Canada!
- contemplated every single decision I’ve ever made in my entire life
- convinced myself that every single one of those decisions was wrong
- reminded myself that most of them were actually good
- learned how to just be..in the moment.. (mostly)
- created elaborate and urgent escape plans
- become sick and tired of the voice in my head
- fell in love with the voice in my head
- felt the loneliest I have ever felt.. ever
- taken off on my bike for hours just to explore
- decided that me and the kids should run away and travel the world
- realized that I don’t have enough money for all 3 of us to do that
- decided that I should run away and travel the world
- joined the local climbing gym
- joined a local yoga studio
- cried. hard.
- laughed. hard.
- published a video blog
- decided this was the absolute worst decision I’ve ever made
- decided this was the absolute best decision I’ve ever made
- attempted to start painting (pictures, not walls)
- realized i’m not so much a painter
- joined a local dark room/art gallery
- wondered why the coolest jobs require such specific qualifications (seriously, I could totally be a marketing strategist, professor of environmental sciences or an aviation expert…right?) and then applied to them anyway
- sent the kids off to school each morning in a calm and relaxed manner (it’s hard to feel stressed while still in my pjs drinking coffee)
- been home for the kids after school (sometimes with warm chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven)
- continued to curse and grieve for Jason every single day
- been diagnosed with a hernia (yeah, this one sucks – the dr wouldn’t even write a note insisting that I start getting breakfast in bed?!)
- schemed with my bestie’s husband and surprised her by showing up in her living room in Fredericton (#EastCoastFun)
- spent an entire rainy day watching Netflix in my pjs (only one so far though)
- lost myself and felt liberated
- lost myself and felt terrified
- become physically lost in this new community multiple times (thank you google maps)
- been devastatingly heartbroken
- pulled myself back together (x100)
- forgotten how to walk in heels
- learned how to ride a bike in heels
- been appointed to an advisory committee
- wrote a lot of random thoughts in my overflowing supply of journals
- daytime baths with books and tea (and sometimes wine)
- contemplated what my dream job looks like and how to make it a reality
I’m not advocating that everyone immediately quit their jobs without a plan to spend some time finding themselves. Okay well.. I actually kinda am..but let’s do this in responsible phases, please. This isn’t what I had expected but this is life. I might still be unemployed but I am also still figuring shit out. I am taking this forced time to evaluate and re-evaluate my options in all aspects of my life.
Now you’ll need to excuse me while I go pour a glass of wine and start making cookies; the kids will soon be home from school.