This entry is brought to you in part by insomnia

I hate not being able to sleep. I can remember when I was a kid, I would wake my parents up because I was so upset about not being able to sleep. Eventually, my dad told me a story about a man who used to work for him; he said this guy only got a couple of hours of sleep each night, but that he was perfectly fine. As my dad explained it, “Some people just don’t need as much sleep as others.” For whatever reason, that was oddly comforting.

It didn’t hurt that when I had these episodes of insomnia, I was allowed to go downstairs and watch television. The only programs that were on at that time (back then) were “classic/old” movies, so I actually received quite the education. I watched things like Lawerence of Arabia, the original Parent Trap, and all sorts of musicals. It was then that I cultivated my love of Busby Berkeley films, as well as Barbara Stanwyck. If I wasn’t able to sleep, at least I was becoming a more well rounded, interesting 12 year old.

Since becoming an adult, I haven’t had to deal with insomnia as often as I used to. These days, it’s typically situational … there’s something I’m anxious or excited about, or in this case, I can never sleep well when my husband is on the road. There is something about this house that keeps me from feeling truly comfortable and safe, but for the life of me, I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s too quiet? As someone who spent many years attached by walls and ceilings to my neighbors, it’s different having a free-standing house. We can’t hear neighbors televisions, stereos, vehicles with bass thumping .. none of that anymore. Now it’s just the occasional gunshots, snowmobiles, or dogs barking.

We are also in a very rural area, which is beautiful and peaceful, but also a huge departure for this city girl. I have to sleep with a fan on to mitigate the intense silence (and I realize that makes little sense). It’s true what they say about “silence being deafening,” as I was awakened around 2:30 this morning by some animal sound I couldn’t identify, but was loud enough to wake me. And of course then my brain woke up and I couldn’t stop thinking … and I was up until a little after 5am (after being up past midnight in the first place). I was able to go back to sleep for a little while, but I don’t feel rested.

In the mean time, I’ve had caffeine, and I’m now debating on whether it’s OK to have sweet mini gherkins and some mashed potatoes for “breakfast” (even though it’s almost noon). I feel like, as an adult, I have earned the right to eat whatever I want, and I shouldn’t be restricted by certain foods being only “dinner” or “snack” or “breakfast” foods. Am I right?

I hope my husband comes back tomorrow night so I can get some sleep…

Hope

Shortly after I posted yesterdays entry, I received a call back from the health insurance guy. I may have an issue with the friend who put me in contact with this person, but I cannot deny that she did me a huge kindness (without even knowing it).

He spent over a half an hour on the phone with me asking me questions and basically putting my mind at ease. He did agree that my situation was “challenging,” but he made sure to let me know that I did have options. The biggest bonus is that instead of having to make a decision by December 15th (the sign-up cutoff), I actually have until the end of February. I don’t intend to snooze for very long before making a choice, but at least I don’t have to rush it.

He also let me know that I don’t have to sign up for insurance because there is no longer a penalty for not having it. However, I can sign up for a “worst case scenario/catastrophic” policy that can cover us for 6 months so that if there is an accident, we won’t end up in financial ruin over medical bills. That could be an option in case we can’t find employer sponsored coverage sooner than later.

When I brought up my concern over prescription drugs, he actually taught me a few things. Apparently there is a website called GoodRX, which I’ve vaguely heard about, but never really considered because I didn’t need to worry about it. But, if I choose catastrophic coverage only, that won’t cover my meds, and a quick lookup of a couple of the scripts shows that my husband and I are on a couple of very expensive medications. This website helps find the cheapest local options so we can save the most possible money. He also suggested I look into online Canadian pharmacies. I know that years ago, lots of Americans used to go to Canada (and Mexico) for cheaper prescription drugs, but for some reason I thought that was illegal. He tells me it’s not, so I guess it’s an option. It’s always good to have options.

Basically, I feel a lot less hopeless than I did when I posted yesterdays entry. I still have a lot of anxiety, but the glimmer of possibilities is within my view now … it also might be the effects of the Immitrex and Xanax I took for my migraine. I’ve spent the day by myself, on the couch, streaming random Christmas movies and napping. I had a brief moment where I felt bad for not going south with my husband (because it gets very lonely and quiet up here), but he went down to work and not to socialize. That would have left me with my mother, and I hear she wanted me to go so I could help her start decorating. No, thanks. If I have to have a migraine, it’s going to be in the privacy of my own home without worrying about having to pretend to be OK and lug boxes of decorations around.

I also don’t want to spend any extra time with her before I have to. I know that sounds bad to say, but I know my limitations and I just can’t handle it. The job searching, money woes, and added melancholy of the holidays is just too much stress. I know it’s getting to be too much when I cry over those iPad commercials with the kids who made a video with old footage of their deceased grandmother and gave it to their grandfather. Have you seen it? Ugh. Christmas makes me miss my dad even more, and it’s been about 12 years now since he passed away. People say it gets easier, but you never forget. I really wish I could sit down with him and ask him for advice. Of course, I kind of already know what he’d say, but it would be nice to actually hear his voice .. even if it was tinged with disapproval at my crazy life choices.

 

 

 

Stress

I just don’t know, you guys.

I am not OK.

It is now December 6th, and I am losing hope that my husband will find a job anytime soon. I shouldn’t feel so hopeless because he’s currently on his way south (to our original hometown) to help his buddy with his start-up (again/still) and that will give him gas money and $1000. He’ll be back home on Tuesday, and then he has a meeting down south on the 16th that sounds promising, but is not an actual interview.

Against my better judgment, and due to a misunderstanding on my part, we are going to be staying with my mother from December 15th until December 27th. Basically two weeks. At Christmas. And I only have one therapy appointment scheduled.

But, that’s not the entire reason I’m upset.

I just started our health plan sign-up on Healthcare.gov, and I’m in tears.

How do people afford this? I thought this was supposed to be “affordable healthcare?” Is $800+ a month supposed to be affordable?! And only 8 of the 12 prescriptions I put in are covered, but it doesn’t say which prescriptions aren’t actually covered?

I’m at a loss. I put a call in to a local insurance person (the name of which was given to me by the self-absorbed friend from the previous entry) to see if maybe we could get some help deciphering the plans and requirements, but I haven’t heard back yet. And I put the call in (and had to leave a voicemail) before I started the process on the government website.

I put in an income for my husband because he technically is getting paid up until the end of this month, so because of that, we don’t qualify for any tax credits (we are just above the cutoff). But, if we don’t have any income when our insurance benefits expire, then how can we afford insurance? I’m really hoping this local guy calls me back before I have a complete and total meltdown … as opposed to the minor one I’m having now.

I’m going to say this and it’s going to make me sound bad, but this is my truth … I grew up in a firmly middle class home, and the relatives on my dad’s side had money. Like, I grew up going to a country club at least once per year where my great aunt and uncle would take us to brunch for my dad’s birthday. We were not fancy, per se (I didn’t have a pony or anything like that), but we definitely had advantages that other people didn’t have. The house I grew up in had a pool, and my sister and I had our own rooms. We were given a used car on our 16th birthday to share, and we only had to make the insurance payments. My college was paid for by the money my dads parents left to us to cover our tuition, but we had jobs to cover extras. So, we were very lucky. However, my dad always made it clear to me that he had money, but I did not. I was taught how to live within my means, but I was keenly aware that I had an advantage. And I respected that as much as possible. When I graduated from college, I started work immediately, and I never asked my parents for money. I was grateful for what I had been given, and I paid them back by being responsible for myself.

That worked great for a couple of decades, and then I moved out of the state, got a job that paid less than half of what I had been making, and then I quit and made nothing. I depended on my husband to take care of us, and then that fell apart (through no fault of his own).

So now I’m here looking at “budget” health plans which are not, in fact, “budget friendly,” and I don’t know what to do. What happens if we don’t have an income at the end of this month? I’ve been saying I can go out and get a job, and I have no issue with doing so, but what if it’s not as easy as it’s been for me in the past? And what if that job doesn’t provide enough income, or health insurance, so we can cover our mortgage, car payments, utilities, etc.?

I don’t know how to do that. I know that is the reality for millions of people, and I know that I’ve been very lucky in my life. I understand that most people have to pick and choose which bills to pay, and they work multiple jobs to cover it …. and that’s what I will do, but I haven’t had to deal with this kind of situation since my divorce in 2002. Back then, I was dealing with the thousands of dollars worth of credit card debt my ex-husband ran up on my credit card, along with an expensive apartment. I couldn’t pay all of my bills, and my car got repossessed (the most horrifying experience of my life because they took it from my workplace parking lot where all of my coworkers watched). So, it hasn’t been all sunshine and roses my whole life, but at least at that point I only had myself to worry about and I had a good job.

I made it through that bad time, and I swore I’d never allow myself to get into that situation again (if I could help it). I don’t buy extravagant things, and I pay off my credit card every month. Once my current husband got his financial shit together, we were making a nice enough income where we could eat out more often than not, and buy certain things (books, beauty products, etc.) without batting an eye.

I know that sounds super bougie, and it probably is. And now our reality is that we may not have an income sufficient enough to support us. I have already canceled our cable TV, downgraded our cell phone plan, and only buy food items that are on sale (or have coupons). We rarely eat out anymore, although cooking at home is almost just as expensive. I have cut every expense I possibly can to help save money. I just hope it’s enough.

And then there is my husband who leaves all the lights in the house on and is asking me about some video game he wants to buy. Are. You. Fucking. KIDDING ME?! Clearly he doesn’t have the same level of worry I do. It’s amazing to me that he can over-think absolutely everything, yet he doesn’t stress out about much. He’s convinced this will all work itself out and we’ll be fine.

I just hope he’s right.

Wherein I prove that I can complain about anything

So, my request for information from my readers went silent yesterday. I’m not too surprised, although it was a bit humbling. “Likes” and “comments” are definitely two different animals. I know I have a way of writing that doesn’t necessarily leave things open for comment, but I hoped that a direct, obvious question might garner some replies. Maybe later.

Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend who I had been avoiding for weeks. Come to think of it, it may have been months, but I wasn’t counting. All I know is, it had become impossible to dodge any more invitations, and I didn’t want her to end up showing up at my house out of concern for my well being.

Don’t get me wrong, she is a nice lady, but frankly she is exhausting to be around. She means well, but she has a habit of making everything about her. She badgered me for weeks wanting to get together and talk, yet I knew as soon as I did, it would be all about her. She also repeats herself, so I end up hearing the same stories over and over. I’ve experienced that with former coworkers who either lived alone or had spouses who ignored them. Work was their only social outlet, so they would take advantage of any warm body who was willing to listen. This friend is kind of like that – she’s retired and lives alone, and while she has a huge social network, I think she just forgets which stories she’s told to what group. So, she repeats herself and dominates the conversation.

For example – she knows my husband is actively looking for a job and that things are coming down to the wire. She also knows that I suffer from anxiety and depression, and that I’ve been avoiding social outlets for multiple reasons. Instead of asking me how things are going, she said she was sorry I was dealing with all of that, and then she proceeded to tell me all about her home repair needs, her missing mailbox, her upcoming drive to see family for the holidays, and every other random thing under the sun. And she talked about her ex-husband (who has long been out of the picture) after I had already heard about the scumbag umpteen times over.

But, she was elated to see me … which made me feel like a world class asshole. I mean, what do you say to someone who you genuinely care about, but who has no clue that they’re coming across as a selfish know-it-all? That’s right, you say nothing because there’s nothing to say. She can’t change how she is, and I’m not asking her to. I just wish she would back off. I have explained to her that my issues with anxiety keep me from making a lot of plans, which I feel was pretty direct. She says she understands, but if I don’t return a Facebook message or a phone call, she’s reached out to mutual friends to have them tell me to call her. I mean, who does that? She’s not my mother, and I feel suffocated.

It also occurs to me that this woman and my mother share a name. Hmmm.

While we were at this 2 hour lunch, I’m pretty sure I spoke for maybe 5 minutes total. I just sat there and drank my coffee and listened to whatever she had to say. Every time I tried to interject with something about what was going on with me, she’d say something like, “Ohh, that’s a bummer,” and then immediately change the subject. I honestly don’t think she even noticed, but I sure did.

It would be one thing if I still enjoyed her company, but it’s been a while since I can honestly say that I do. I’ve only known her since I moved up here (she used to work at the same company I did), and we spent more time together after I quit my job and she had just retired. At first it was nice because we would take day trips to shop or site see, and there was some genuine back and forth in the conversation. She would always dominate the conversation, but in the past, I had the energy to interject and make myself known. These days, it takes all of my effort just to get showered and presentable, and I no longer care if she knows what’s going on with me or not.

I used to be a damn good friend, and I still think I am, but over the years I’ve noticed with certain friends that I’m the one making all of the effort. And I’m over it. I will allow my feelings to get hurt for so long until at some point I reach a breaking point and call it quits. This particular friend was never so close that I feel hurt by her, I just started noticing more and more that it was all about her. I used to think it didn’t take a lot of energy to just listen, but I was wrong. It takes more than I have available.

When lunch was over, she hugged me goodbye and suggested we get together after the holidays. I said sure because I don’t even know where I’ll be after the holidays … who knows, maybe I’ll have to live in her house?

Asking the audience

When I was with my family over Thanksgiving, I considered giving my aunt and cousins my blog information. It would give them the opportunity to find out what’s going on with me in a very personal way. Maybe too personal. At the moment, I’m pretty anonymous, and I have hesitated to share my writing with family members and certain friends (for the most part).

It’s not that I’m (too) afraid of judgment and criticism – hell, I can get that from complete strangers (some can certainly cut to the quick without even knowing what they say could be construed as hurtful or negative). I’m also not afraid to tell it like it is (my blog = my truth and no one else’s), but I’m also not here to hurt any feelings (at least not intentionally). While I’m pretty honest with what I write (even if it makes me look bad), I feel like I might change what I write if I knew certain people were reading. After all, sometimes people think they know you, but they really have no idea…. and they may not really want to know.

So, I have some questions for those of you who are reading … If you have a blog:

  1. Does your family/friends know about your blog?
  2. Does your family/friends actually READ your blog?
  3. Do your family/friends ever criticize you for what you write and if so, has it changed your relationship?
  4. Do you censor your writing because you know certain people are reading it, or do you continue to write with abandon?

If you have time to comment, I would really appreciate the insight. Thank you!

 

Round one of the holidays down..

On Saturday, I returned home after spending a whole week with my mother (and half the week with an additional 9 relatives). I don’t want to talk to anyone, or think about talking to anyone for as long as possible, but I have a lunch date with a friend tomorrow.

But, let me back up.

Thanksgiving.

On the one hand, it was eleventy-billion percent better this year than last year. Even though I was extremely anxious going into it, I forced myself (as much as anyone can “force” it) to try to let things go. I embraced being “in the moment” as much as I could, and I tried not to live in the past or worry about the future. Living in the present, as all the self-help gurus will tell you, is the ideal way to live – I’m just typically not very good at it.

But, when I arrived at my mother’s house Monday night, I made a conscious choice to enjoy myself. I kept my expectations low, which I find makes it a lot easier, and I sincerely wanted to have a good time. She was happy to see my husband and I, and we had two nights before my aunt, uncle, and two cousins (with their respective girlfriends) would join us. I just wanted to relax and have a nice time.

Those first two days were actually pretty nice. Honestly, I don’t even know where the time went because I had a list of things I wanted to do (well, let me be honest – it was mostly a list of favorite restaurants I wanted to visit) and I didn’t get to do any of it. The one thing I did do was visit my therapist. Since I can only visit her while I’m in town (she’s not licensed where I live now), she squeezed me in on Tuesday afternoon. She had just returned full time after her maternity leave, so I felt lucky to see her.

In my session, I let loose about my frustrations about my husband’s job(less) situation, how I’m terrified of what’s going to happen after January 1st, and just generally catastrophizing about what may or may not happen if our situation doesn’t improve. She suggested that I stay grounded and live in the moment as much as I could, and she reminded me that things are not actually as bad as I’m making them out to be (you know, catastrophizing). Nothing bad has happened (yet), so I should not focus on worrying about what might happen, but to put together a plan in case things don’t work out.

So, the number one priority is that I need to do some research on obtaining health insurance and getting that in order for after January 1st. Regardless of whether my husband is able to find a job before the end of the year, it’s doubtful that benefits would kick in that quickly, so we need to have a plan in place so there’s one less thing to stress about.

Aside from that, I don’t really have much else. I know my husband is holding out for an “amazing” job, but at this point I’d rather he take anything. I don’t feel like we have the luxury of him finding his “dream job,” but it would be nice if he could find something that doesn’t make him hate life. There’s got to be a good middle ground, right? The only problem is, he’s getting turned down for every job he’s gone for, so it’s not like he’s ignoring legitimate options in favor of some pipe dream.

At least that’s what he’s telling me. So far, I have no reason to doubt him.

But, I’m not going to lie – my anxiety is getting to epic levels, and enjoying the Christmas holiday doesn’t look very likely … at least not for me.

Speaking of holidays, let me get back to Thanksgiving.

My husband was getting irritated with my mother at all of her snarky comments directed towards me, but honestly, I didn’t even notice. Since I had made a deliberate choice to let things go, it’s like my brain tuned out anything that wasn’t either neutral or positive. I literally didn’t even hear it if it didn’t pass the filter I had set up. It worked for the first two days, and then something broke.

My extended family started to arrive Wednesday afternoon, and that’s when things started to deteriorate. My mom asked me to ride with her when she went to the airport to pick up my aunt and uncle. Since I didn’t have anything else going on (and why wouldn’t I go?), of course I agreed. Except my mother has become the worst driver I’ve ever seen. She’s quick on the gas pedal and heavy on the brakes, which meant I was tossed around her car (even with my seatbelt on) like a sack of potatoes. She disparaged my “lack of core strength” because I couldn’t keep myself from being thrown forward every time she’d slam on the brakes, but I honestly couldn’t help myself. It was that bad. All the while, she bitched about everyone else on the road, and the 15 minute drive seemed like an eternity. She dropped me off at the terminal (of the local tiny airport – my cousin was coming into the large international airport later in the evening) so I could go meet my aunt and uncle while she found a place to park. I was so happy to have other people to talk to because I could sense things were starting to go a bit sideways between me and my mother. I’ve learned, since we recovered from our big blowout, that my mother can only control herself for so long until her mouth lets loose. With the arrival of my aunt and uncle, that would give her two other people to focus on, so I knew I had more time.

They had a list of stores they “needed” to stop at on the way home, so while my mom and her brother braved the stores on the day before Thanksgiving, my aunt and I sat in the car and took advantage of the quiet time to catch up. She and my uncle were still very raw about the nastiness that occurred last Thanksgiving, but I did my best to assure her that my mom was in a better place this year. I explained that it felt to me like my mom was as back to “normal” as she could possibly be, and I wasn’t feeling the least bit uncomfortable, so they shouldn’t worry, either.

After three stops where various items where picked up, we finally made it back to my mom’s condo in time to head back out for dinner. My cousins weren’t going to be there in time, but my sister, brother-in-law, and niece were able to join the rest of us. It was actually pretty fun. Well, I say “fun,” but my mother’s behavior was starting to grate on everyone … especially after she had a giant margarita. My sister and my 15 year old niece are very good at ignoring my mother’s bad behavior, and I was smart enough to sit at the opposite end of the table. There was a point where, after some “look at me!” comment from my mother, that my niece and I made eye contact with the exact same annoyed look … and we burst out laughing. Like we had caught each other thinking the exact same thing at the exact same time, and we couldn’t help but laugh. Of course everyone asked why we were laughing, but we managed to pass it off without assigning it to anything my mother said or did.

Later that night, my aunt and I went to the airport to pick up my cousin and his girlfriend, and when we got home, my other cousin and his girlfriend (who had driven into town) had also arrived. There were 9 of us packed into my mom’s condo. She had given my husband and I her bedroom while she slept in her tiny “computer room,” while the rest of the crew fought over the 2 bedrooms and open loft area with a sofabed upstairs. It was close quarters for sure, but we all like each other so we made it work (and it was easy for me to say because I had my own room where I could escape).

That was Wednesday.

Thanksgiving morning, my uncle always insists on making a huge breakfast (and a huge mess). It drives my mom insane, but now that the Thanksgiving meal is held at my sisters house and not at hers, she is less bothered by the breakfast making production. But, she’s still bothered because, as I mentioned earlier, she can’t help herself. Once she started overhearing comments about her house – her toaster is too slow, the sink in the upstairs bathroom is awful (and it is, actually), the cousin/girlfriend who had to sleep in the loft got no sleep because they had no privacy and they could hear every little sound (including my mother’s noisy neighbors who she shares a wall) – she started to unravel. Her attitude turned irritable, and a little bit of her passive aggressiveness started to show.

I tried to stay out of the fray, but instead of responding to the negativity towards the ones who were spouting it, she turned on me. She is very opinionated, and she has a way of inserting her opinion and judgment into a conversation, even if she isn’t asked. And heaven help you if you don’t agree with her opinion or her memory of the situation because then you are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

It was at this point that I started to lose my tenuous grip on the sense of calm I had tried to cultivate, and I started to get annoyed. And I heard every negative comment I had previously turned a deaf ear towards, and I was pissed off.

By Friday, which is traditionally the family “day of movies,” I kept my distance as much as possible. We went to see two movies (Knives Out and Ford vs Ferrari), so I was able to have a couple of blissful hours of not having to talk to anyone. But, by Friday evening, the whole family assembled again for leftovers, so I was forced into being social.

You guys – I’ve spent the better part of a year living in the woods by myself, with only my husband as a daily conversational outlet, and I’m perfectly happy. Being within 10 feet of 9 people for 3 days put me near my breaking point, and then add my mother and her negativity, and I felt like a trapped dog. On the drive from my mom’s place to my sisters (which is about 2 miles), I almost lost my shit. I was close to tears (after my mother went in on my driving ability – which was just another one of her opinions she felt the need to share but didn’t have anything to do with me at all, or my driving ability), and all I wanted to do was drop the carload of people off and then drive away into the night by myself.

But, I couldn’t. I desperately wanted to be by myself, but I couldn’t. No one would understand (except for my husband), and I couldn’t explain it to them in a way they could understand. All they know is that they enjoy my company and they like being around me, but they don’t understand anxiety or needing to have alone time. People who don’t suffer from anxiety or depression just don’t understand – you can’t just “suck it up” and “be happy.” If it were that simple, it wouldn’t be an epidemic. Sure, you can make certain choices to be grounded or focus on positivity, but sometimes your brain just doesn’t allow it. I wish it were that easy, but it’s not, and it wasn’t the time to try and explain it to a bunch of people who just don’t get it.

So, I made my plate of leftovers and sat in a room by myself … until my husband found me, and then my aunt found the both of us. We had a nice conversation and I was able to pass through the panic of the drive over and settle down. The fact that my mother and the rest of the gang was in the other room was also comforting because I didn’t have to make conversation or dodge verbal jabs.

Due to an impending winter storm that was heading towards my house late Saturday afternoon/evening, I was able to explain the need to leave early Saturday morning instead of staying another whole day/night. Originally, we had planned to stay until Sunday, and my mother wasn’t happy that we were leaving “early,” but I didn’t care. I knew if I stayed that it would be a bad scene, and I was having a hard time keeping myself together as it was. It was time to go home.

I was never so happy to get up and start a 7 hour drive at 8am as I was on Saturday. I took that drive time to decompress, acknowledge the good (seeing my family) and bad (mom’s snarky commentary), and let it go. And unless there is some sort of miracle and jobs are procured before Christmas, I’m doing it all over again for Christmas …

What’s the definition of insanity again?

*sigh*

Is That All There Is?

I was working 5 days a week for 4-5 hours per day. I was answering phone calls, scheduling clients, making coffee, and doing laundry. I was bonding with my coworkers and catching on to the salon lingo pretty fast (if I do say so myself). I was enjoying working with an all female staff, and I felt like I was really growing in my abilities.

Except…

Every single night, I would go to bed anxious and wake up anxious. When I got to work, I was fine, but up until then? I was an anxious mess. I don’t (and still don’t) know what was triggering me, but it was a constant struggle. And because I wasn’t sleeping, I was exhausted all the time. My feet and legs ached to the point where I bought at least 5 pairs of boring, functional shoes. You know, the kind of shoes they advertise to people who are on their feet all day – with extra cooling and padded insoles? Yeah, those. Not cute. All of the other girls were wearing super cute boots and shoes, and I had to wear orthopedic nightmares. But, I can’t imagine how much worse it would have been if I didn’t wear those shoes because I could barely walk to my car at quitting time.

I can remember, back in my younger days, of having stamina. I worked day shift at a greenhouse (in the sweltering heat, all day on my feet), and then second shift in a warehouse (also sweltering heat, but seated at a big, noisy machine lifting boxes of product, etc.). I also had a stint at a big chain restaurant working their famous breakfast bar, so I know what it’s like to do hard work.

Except back then I was in my late teens and 20’s. Today? Ow. Ow. Ow. And additionally? No.

The longer I worked there, the more I realized that this was definitely not a long term gig for me. Sure, my anxiety did subside a bit the longer I worked there (not as much as I would have hoped), but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it just wasn’t my thing.

I had gained a lot of valuable experience in the sense that it was something I had never done before, but I didn’t think it was going to help me in the long run. It pained me to think about because I really did enjoy my coworkers and the salon itself, but they were “lifers (most had worked there since the opening of the salon),” and I knew in my heart that I would not be among them.

It all sort of hit me in the face as I was hunched over the washing machine doing the eleventy-billionth load of towels – I went to college for this? What am I doing here? Didn’t I spend all that time and money on college so that I wouldn’t have to do back breaking work anymore? Accounting and IT weren’t the most exciting things to do all day, but at least I could walk to my car without limping. I had to make a break for it.

The thing was, when I accepted the job, I had every intention of working there for the foreseeable future. I’m one of those people who, when they get a job, they stay there. Well, I was up until I moved here. I worked almost 22 years in one job, and then I moved and I worked for 1 year and 2 months, and then I didn’t work for a year, and now I’m about to quit this job after …. 2 months. I felt some shame, and I felt my bosses disappointment.

They wanted me to stay, and I really wish I could have convinced myself to stick around for a while longer, but that would have made the parting even worse. I didn’t want to jerk them around, so I put in a 3 week notice. I couldn’t tell them, “Well, I don’t see myself working here forever, and without that kind of longevity, I’m going to have to peace out now,” which was kind of the truth. I’ve never been one to prolong a situation – I was a “slash and burn” dater, and I’m someone who doesn’t even commit to a television show unless I don’t have to watch it live. If I don’t see the point, then I don’t want to waste my time (or anyone else’s).

I was also dealing with the reality that my husband had still not found a job. In a couple months time, we would have no income and no health insurance, so my ultimate reason for leaving (which was what I communicated to the salon) was that I had to find a full time job with benefits. Unlike many of the jobs in this area, it appears that no one cares what you look like if you work in an Accounting department. You can be old and experienced and that’s fine. So, I’m the most likely one between my husband and I to obtain full time employment, even though the salary will likely not support our bills.

So, here we are. I am unemployed again.

I miss the salon and my coworkers, but I don’t miss the pain and exhaustion that came with it. It’s been about 6 weeks since I left, and I’m back on the couch. And I’m not really happy about it.

My husband is working tirelessly on finding a job, but it hasn’t gone well. Since his is the primary salary, and we’ve decided to look outside of our current area (where moving is a real possibility), I can’t really do anything until he’s settled. Because while I could probably find something, I wouldn’t make enough money to support us both. So, I wait.

And I sit on the couch.