The life I’ve been living for the past twenty years is about to change.
I’ve been working a minimal job which allowed me to focus on my writing, essentially as a homemaker. I had flexible hours which allowed me to exercise. I didn’t make much money, but I had a lot more time than many writers do. My husband was the one who supported us, allowing me to pursue my career.
Alas, even though I had extra time, I was constantly running out of it. I still run out of time. Now I may have even less.
My husband has been laid off. For twenty years he’s done excellent work in Quality Assurance for the computer tech industry. Now he’s being passed over for younger candidates with degrees less capable than he is.
Should we really accept this? It’s the situation we’re in, but should we really accept it? What can we do about it?
I have a degree, a B.A. history. I didn’t have the tech skills to get jobs like my husband did. I didn’t want to be a teacher. I’ve been terrified of children and their parents ever since a mother chewed me out in a restaurant for not smiling, for trying to ignore it when her child ran up to me and poked me in the back. Getting to know other children and their parents has eased the fear, but it hasn’t gone away.
Being accused of doing things I have no idea I’m doing makes me feel helpless, frustrated, and angry. I remember being accused of being rolling my eyes when I was trying to listen to someone. It made me feel the same frustrated fear.
I’ve spent my whole life trying to be nice, polite, and kind, trying to be as positive as I can. Moments like these make me feel like I’ve profoundly failed.
I know I can be outgoing, can make people enjoy themselves. I’ve been at events where I know I’ve made it more fun, helped everyone there. My failures ricochet in my head like a gong whenever I try to suggest on a resume or anywhere else that I have social skills.
I would have loved to have been a professor. This seemed like the dream job, only it took me longer to get my degree than I thought it would. Once I did, I was eager to start making money.
Maybe I should have stayed and got that Masters’s Degree. I could still do it, but that costs money. I’ve been out of the work force for so long. Returning terrifies me. Only it’s what countless people do, countless writers. I’ve only met one other writer like me who was being supported by her partner.
Now we’re facing a situation where my husband and I are no longer be able to afford our home. Not unless my husband can get a job that pays as well as the one he had. Or if we can both get jobs that will cover our housing expenses and the mortgage.
If we aren’t able to, we’ll have to move.
I feel sick every time I think of the changes coming. No more walks in the neighborhood. No more swims in the pool. No more walking down a tree-lined street, something I felt very lucky to do, even though I wasn’t a millionaire.
I was lucky, lucky to live in my home for twenty years. Everything seems so much more precious now that I’m about to lose it, including the time I’ve had to spend on writing, social media, learning languages, reading, and taking breaks from all of it.
I never had enough time. It takes time to learn how to do something, to become better at it. Now I’m going to have even less time to accomplish everything I’ve managed to do.
I hope I’ve improved at time management. I think I have. I’ve certainly worked hard at it. I’ve learned how to decide what’s important, to make certain I accomplish at least one thing. Deadlines, however, shoot certain priorities to the top of my things to do list . I need to finish a blog at inspirationcauldron.wordpress.com by the end of each week. That’s a deadline I’ve set for myself. I need to finish edits and return them to an editor. That’s a deadline a publisher has given me. I need to vacuum, mop, clean the bathrooms, dust, sweep the porches, and do other household chores within a week. This is a task someone else set for me.
Some of the memories I have of work make me shudder. I always tried hard to do the job. I did my best to get along with the people I worked with. Sometimes I succeeded. Sometimes I made friends who lasted beyond the job. Sometimes my job wore me out to the point that I had no energy for what I wanted to do. The latter happened often enough that it was a relief to leave the work force and concentrate on my writing.
I had that option. Now it may disappear. I need to prepare for its disappearance, for what comes next.
Wish me luck, strength, and opportunity in facing that future.