One prominent aspect of my temporary unemployment is the fact that I’m home. Alone. All day. Every day. This is a phenomenon that I have not experienced since I was 15.
On one hand, in theory it’s fantastic. I can spend all day in my bathrobe. I don’t have to be anywhere, talk to anyone, I barely have a reason to brush my teeth in the morning. Which is somewhat of a shock to my system after my previous situation, where I was working 10/12-hour days, and frequently being called in on nights and weekends. Foreign as it is to me, it’s also kinda amazing.
But on the other hand, having no responsibilities carries a lot of responsibility in itself. I still have this unshakeable urge to be productive, to still feel accomplished at the end of the day. So while I technically have the freedom to just veg out and watch Dance Moms reruns for eight straight hours, I have yet to actually take advantage of it.
Instead, I am plagued with anxiety that I’m not doing enough, and holding myself to an even higher standard: With such an open schedule I should surely have time to do EVERYTHING, shouldn’t I? I still wake up at 7am every day, and I make sure to create a rigorous To-Do list to ensure that not a moment is wasted. Registering my car in this new state, filling out change of address forms, switching banks, transferring my prescriptions... Similarly, I would feel like a failure if I didn’t allocate a portion of this free time to self-improvement, so I make an effort to work out daily. I also just moved in and am largely still living out of boxes, so I try to consistently devote time to unpacking, decorating, and generally making the place more home-y… On top of that, this move brought me closer to several friends and family members, so I’ve been trying to pencil in a lunch here, an outing there, etc…
And then there’s that tiiiiiiiiiny little detail (minor, really) of the fact that I. Don’t. Have. A. Job. And so it feels like every minute that I’m not spending poring over career websites or tweaking my cover letter is time squandered. I find myself worrying that I’m missing something – a website I’ve overlooked, or a resume-writing rule of thumb that I missed. Can I be sure that I’m leaving no stone unturned? Until I’m safely employed again, I cannot afford to trade in one minute of job-hunting for channel surfing.
I guess it’s tragic that this is the first time in the better part of a decade that I’ve had the luxury of free time, without the ability to indulge in it. I suppose my bathrobe and Dance Moms will just have to wait.