I have been unemployed for two weeks. Hard to believe so much time has passed. Without the structure of work, I float through one day after another, the rhythm of my movements dictated by my energy and clarity at each moment.
In truth, I am content. Much more content than I expected to be. I don’t missed my work. I don’t miss my job, the responsibility, the stress. I just don’t. Not-working has finally brought something important back into balance in my life. A chance to rest, after pushing so hard for so long. A chance to heal, after re-aggravating my injury on a daily basis by doing too much. I can finally, finally, relax. Let go. Let the rest of the world blur a bit more as I focus on being alone, resting, healing. Knowing the only responsibility I have is to myself.
Of course, this is all possible through the generosity of friends, family, acquaintances, and even a few people I don’t know. This is all possible because others have given me money to meet my expenses while I wait, wait, wait for Social Security to come through. Thank you all who have donated to my medical campaign fund.
It probably would never have occurred to me to ask for help, if Mary hadn’t prompted me. My default is to go it alone, not really tell anyone else how difficult things are, and just push through somehow. I guess one lesson of this injury is – Kim – wake up – You are not alone! There are people out there who care, who love you. You don’t have to be strong all the time, to do everything alone. Really.
It’s been an adjustment, for sure. I had trouble sleeping for over a week, finding myself tossing and turning all night. Doing my best to distract myself with videos or audiobooks or anything that was within my capacity, so I didn’t have to think, didn’t have to face that I was unemployed. Turns out it is possible to crochet aggressively when upset. I made quite a few granny squares during this transitional period of time. That fear and anger and general freaked-out-ness finally passed a few days ago, thankfully. At least the first wave of it.
Now, my days are taking on a rhythm. Turns out that I still am a morning person, after all this time. I naturally wake up around 630 am every day. I roll out of bed, put my walking shoes on (and some other stuff), then motor out the door for a 20-30 minute walk. I tried exercising other times of day, but found that I just couldn’t reliably have the energy to make it happen. Mornings are my best time, so I do the most important thing first – mild exercise to raise my energy for the day and experience an important success before I even eat breakfast. After a walk, I stretch for about 10 minutes. Then, I wander over to the garden (while it’s still cool) and weed or harvest or generally poke at it for a bit. Depending on my energy, that might be 3 minutes of looking, or 30 minutes of weeding and watering.
Next, breakfast. After breakfast, I usually lay down for a rest. Then comes the most productive chunk of time – usually 30 min to an hour (sometimes zero) where I have the mental capacity and energy to deal with the challenges of every day life. Fixing a window shade, entering joint expenses into a google spreadsheet, making a phone call to reschedule an appointment or initiate a service, look on the internet to find a product I need but don’t have the energy to go shopping for in person., writing this blog. Most of it minor, throw away stuff (not the blog, though!). All of it energy consuming.
After that, nap. Then lunch. Then… well… I haven’t figured out the afternoon. Harder to know what to do once the high quality energy of the day is gone, and there are hours left in. Certainly a nap. Some sitting outside with the cats (assuming I can stand the noise of cars on the road).
Mary has recently started writing on my calendar the task “swimming / go sit by the lake”. The idea is I’ll take a camp chair, my crochet, and sit and enjoy the lake each day. It will get me away from the noise of traffic, and allow me to cool down some on hot days. Fans only go so far on 85 or 90 degree days, and we don’t have air conditioning. I went yesterday for 1 1/2 hrs. Made a few granny squares. Watched the water and the kids at play. Swam. Very soothing. Maybe I’ll do the same today, and tomorrow.
I am beginning to picture this summer as a peaceful interlude in my life. Not a lot of talking, not a lot of events or activities. Instead, a quiet, slow healing. Small daily choices that create a solid foundation for my new life. Lots of sitting and watching of the world around me. Cats and trees and water. And granny squares. Can’t forget the granny squares.