Today officially marks one month of being unemployed. What a month. What a week! Wow, I expected a big change, lots of introspection, self reflection, emotions, and new found freedom and happiness. Oh ya, I got it. After almost a full year of being in beyond uncomfortable limbo and wondering when my job was going to end, all with keeping up a happy understanding smile on my face listening that little voice in my head saying "you should be grateful to have a job so suck it up and feel blessed" all the while wanting to scream "THIS SUCKS!!!!", I was completely drained...and a little nutty, to say the least.
It's so conflicting when you hear about the terrible economy, people losing their houses, blowing through every last penny of their savings, and job cuts job cuts job cuts, but all the while wishing my job would be done already because the slow soul-sucking torture was doing a number on my mental state. I couldn't help it - I needed to move on with my life.
Right now, a month in, it's all about taking off my big stack of "hats" and just focusing on me. ME. I'm only taking care of the necessities on my "must" list (paying bills, school obligations, food in the fridge) and ignoring the "should list" (organize my paid bills, plan new and exciting meals). Recently, my wonderful friend Amy, who always thinks of everyone else but herself, did just that. With a painful back injury leaving her in total agony, she didn't want to let down her staff by not being there for them, so she worked through the excruciating pain and cried in the car on the way home. She finally said enough is enough and had her doctor take her out of work for a month so she can, GASP!!, get better and put herself first for once. She took off all of the hats - boss, employee, mom, wife, caretaker, daughter, etc., etc., etc.- and just looked after "Amy". Now, that's what I'm talking about.
But, honestly, while I'm fully aware that I'm about to go down this exciting new path, I've been feeling rather stuck. Now that I have this tremendous opportunity to sort of reinvent myself, it's almost so overwhelming that I don't know where to begin. While I can't help but think that maybe it's simply okay to just do nothing right now with no pressure and be fine with that, it's still a strange and foreign feeling.
A few days ago, I was reminded how my beloved grandmother lived. She found total joy in the littlest of things. She lived simply (a product of the Great Depression) and truly found great pleasure in the simplest of things. She often exclaimed the word "super!", hummed her favorite songs as she washed the sink full of dishes, and usually gave people a big genuine hug as a greeting when she met them for the first time. She felt uncomfortable saying a bad word about anyone, didn't like to talk about anything bad in the past, and was always on to the next thing with full enthusiasm. Me, the often over-serious one, both envied and questioned her joy, as it was hard to understand how she could get so excited about a great coupon deal, a new tv movie of the week, or a handmade scribbled card. Only now I wonder, have I been a fraud writing about "the small stuff" when I don't even come close to the way she appreciated the little things? Compared to her, am I just full of crap? Where I might smile and feel relaxed making cookies with my kids, she would squeal, sing, and laugh a happy laugh. Am I missing something? Am I being way too hard on myself?
When it comes down to it, I cannot compare myself to my grandma, but I can take a lesson from her. Where I do notice the little things, maybe I can feel it more - feel the joy - take it out my head and feel more with my heart. I'm certain it's time to take it to the next level and that's a good thing. I can't think of a better way to begin my new journey, besides winning the lottery, than to find and be open to feeling the pure joy first. It's like getting down to the basics - a good happy place - and building myself up from there.
Now that I've had this major revelation this week, I honestly feel different - like I'm healing, renewing, and preparing to move forward. Like today, with pouring rain outside, I felt no desire to go out or do anything on my "should" list. I told my husband to get up with the kids so I could read in bed for a while (I didn't ask...I told!). I read for an hour and a half. I never do that! My kids beg me to let them paint? Sure. Only this time, I paint with them. So cathartic, I tell you! They decide the painting subject would be a tree. My picture is at the top, Talia's is here (she likes to copy what I do):And yea! for Quinn expressing his unique, more abstract interpretation of a tree:Quite fitting, don't you think? Painting about a tree with the firmly planted roots being necessary in order to grow and flourish and branch out reaching higher and higher. Oh damn, there I go in my head again. Okay, bottom line, it was really really really nice painting with my kids today and they thought I was pretty darn super for joining in their fun.