I think John Lennon said it best: “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans”. It has been a crushingly difficult month so far. The unexpected and abrupt end to my job contract at the end of July has left me in a bit of a spot, and I would be lying if I didn’t have a feeling of blind panic building up inside of me every time I open my eyes or try to close them to sleep. At a time of year and in a place where unemployment is extremely high, this is not a very good position to be in, and even though I have quite a bit of experience built up over the years, this latest road block is serving as a wake up call for me. In among the emotions that are brewing in me, I also recognize a need for stillness, for healing and an unavoidable request to stop what I have been doing because it just isn’t working out.
There is a process I am going through – a grieving one over the loss of an important part of my life. I have been through the first stage – disbelief. I slept a lot. I tried to stay positive, to see that not having to work more than 80 hours in a week and only be paid for 40 would in fact be best for me to stay healthy. I have recovered almost completely from having the lumpectomy at the end of February, but there is still pain in my left side, especially if I have to do something very physical for more than eight hours without any breaks or lunches. This week marks six months, and I am due back to the hospital for more tests to make sure everything was removed and nothing as grown in its place.
I have been trying to see the ‘extra’ free time as a chance to just rest. I went from one short term job contract to another without any break. I know I am still grieving the loss of the Orchestra and feeling the pain of what it going bankrupt has done to not only myself but my friends as well, but there is still quite a bit unresolved there. What is happening now for me feels like a more critical time for me now. A breaking point possibly.
It isn’t that I have nothing to do. I can do a lot of things (except juggle. I seriously can’t seem to get the hang of it, though I have tried many times… I also am a terrible card player). I have been painting. I did some photography with my oldest. My youngest has requested a photo shoot with her best friend before they go off to university in September. I have gotten out the yarn and started some new knitting projects at the request of some friends. I have done some writing. None of these things, of course, pay the bills or buy food.
Relying on assistance is something I have never done in my life. I don’t know how the system really works, having never used it, and as I am going through it, I understand why it is deliberately slow, painfully so. I just don’t have to like it. It is out of my control, however and worrying about it is making me unwell. I suppose that is the lesson – to stop worrying, do what I can do ie. find something new for work, be grateful for everything I have, hope for the best, and try to not let the negativity bring me down. I am not the first person to be unemployed for any length of time, and certainly won’t be the last. But it still sucks.
I have let a lot of bad moments get in the way of my creativity over the past five years. Some days, it has brought me to my knees and ground me down to nothing, to the point where no words were left. I suppose I am also mourning that loss – not being able to write the way I used to. Maybe that will change too. Everything does.
When everything falls apart, all you can really do is look at what remains, find what is important and be still until it is time to go again. That’s where I am at now.