I’ve always chuckled to myself that I would be a great retiree or that I could completely enjoy unemployment for a while when I’ve heard of people taking a month of between jobs. Funny how that changes when you are thrown into an unexpected situation…
Just over a month ago, I lost my job and entered the world of unemployment – for the first time in my entire adult working life. While the initial shock was tampered by the small pleasure of knowing I could turn my daily alarm off and cancel my transit pass, I’ve found this to be very much an ongoing process on an emotional, personal, and deep level. The realization that I have, unknowingly, defined myself by my job, by the salary that I earn, and by the daily routine I followed.
From day one, I haven’t stopped doing something during the week (weekends have always been “my” time to relax, hang out with family, and to reset) – right out of the gate, it was making sure I was signed up for EI (don’t be fooled, this is not something you ever want to rely on), took care of important paperwork, and ensured that anything I could remove from my monthly cost of living was at the very least paused.
However, once that was done, I threw myself into catching up on charity work that I hadn’t been in the right head space to get into for a few weeks – almost as if there was some kind of personal guilt at not getting up in the morning to go to an office and work. I wasn’t sleeping all that well as I would wake up at the crack of dawn, with everything playing like a movie through my head, over and over and over – almost obsessively like it was going to solve something and could change the past. I would get overly emotional at absolutely anything, and also at absolutely nothing. There were regular tears, whether they were from upset or more focused on the anger I felt, it was hard to differentiate at times.
Despite feeling as I did, I had one clear thought in my head – I was going to take the summer for me. To give serious thought about finding my passion and creativity once again, about where I wanted to direct my efforts, and how I was going to overcome this hurdle that had been thrown in my path.
It’s been 5 weeks…and every day brings its own unique set of stuff. Some days are better than others; sometimes I feel like I can do this, other times, quite the opposite. My anxiety comes and goes in waves, I get fixated on things and can’t get myself out of the loop; and then there’s the panic that ensues when I start to worry that all my hard work over the last few years to get myself remotely financially stable, is going to disappear in a few short weeks.
While I know that this happened for a reason, while I know that I will be OK, while I know that I have the most amazing family and friends in my life to support me in my time of need, it’s sometimes hard to get past the fact that this is all on me. The emotional impact of this experience is one that has hit me hard and is one I won’t forget quickly. The lack of strength I feel at times as to who I am, where I am going, and what I am destined to do, haunts me daily, sometimes to the point where it brings me to a grinding halt in everything – growing my own business, finding a new job, taking those next steps. My confidence overall has been somewhat shattered and I never thought it would be so hard to rebuild.
I know that I have to do it, I know that I will do it – I have to get into that head space. Getting this out in writing was the first step to helping that process, and since starting, I’ve made a couple of phone calls to help somewhat too. It’s amazing what hitting a wall and letting it all out can do…
Thanks for listening 🙂