I admit that I really enjoyed the first month of joblessness, back then when I was eating out at all those restaurants and gaining 10 pounds. I was afraid to say it, even to myself, because I was paying attention all those years in church and I knew that if I said I was having fun then God would punish me by not letting me find a job for a really long time. But if I'm honest I have to admit that I was enjoying it then, and I still do sometimes.
Mostly I feel like I'm playing hooky from a job. I feel like I'm going to be fired any minute for not showing up since February. I can hear my hateful, hateful, petty, insecure, incompetent, idiotic (whew, that felt good) old boss's voice on the phone tell me that I'm being terminated for absenteeism. (But then I realize she wouldn't know how to terminate me without me there.) I feel like I'm doing something very wrong, especially on really sunny days. Especially when I'm at the beach with my toes in the sand on a sunny day. Very wrong.
I stay fairly busy, or at least occupied. I look for jobs. This takes up anywhere from 5 to 8 hours a day. I do it until I'm frustrated and swearing and sometimes near tears. Then I do errands. There's dry cleaning my interview outfits, trips to the bank, care packages for tiny Japanese friends, things to do with the move. I clean - the house, the garage, the car. And then I do things I enjoy - tour the Japanese and Chinese gardens, see movies, go to shows (I saw Joshua James at the Aladdin last night - woooooooooow. Wow! Yay!) I went to the Holocaust Memorial earlier this week - amazing. I read. I still break my diet and try out new places to eat. I meet friends, I do a little shopping. I enjoy those activities a lot and feel lucky to have the time and energy to do them. I'm taking those classes at my Apple store, which I love, and next week I sign up for a web design class at PCC. (Although I can't think of the software name, Dreamweaver, without hearing that terrible song. It's a problem.) I'm looking into volunteer positions. And when I have absolutely nothing else to do, there's not a thing I can think of that needs my attention, and nothing is on the television, and I've replied to every e-mail I've ever gotten, I work out.
I have times when I get down (meaning sad, not funky) that no one has snatched me up. I wonder about my skills, if I'm even good at what I do. Maybe I'm good but I can't communicate it? Is my age coming into play? My salary? Will I ever make a decent salary again? Can I live on what will likely be a major pay cut if I ever do find a job? Will I have to move out of this apartment? Why is this happening to me? That doesn't happen very often, but I know from experience those times will increase the longer I go without a job.
When I work, I'm a single-minded, intense, stressed. I put everything into my job and I have nothing left over for myself. I'm exhausted every night. I've gotten better in the last few years since returning from Japan and realizing that my time there was a study in giving too much to a job. But I still take a lot of pride in what I do, and I put a lot into it. Because of that, I am especially aware of how I feel right now - I'm energetic, fairly relaxed, I have time to notice details. I laugh a lot (although I laugh a lot all the time), I feel lucky for the fun things I do. I'm interested and exploring and learning. I feel grateful for the break. I just hope God doesn't notice.