How does one deal with the unexpected and often unwanted changes?
Another morning has begun here. The sunlight setting the fading leaves in the woods aglow. Morning shadows created by the trees, stretch toward the house, doing an slow ballet with each breeze that makes its way through. The hummingbird feeders out back hang nearly empty, later the yellow jackets will again be trying to claim any last bit of nectar within. I sit here, in a warm house, enjoying my coffee and contemplating the changes this year has brought about. I thought my world had been rocked and placed on a permanent tilt when my husband died, this year really shifted things to a different level. The trick, is finding ways to deal with those changes.
I was raised in a family where we were taught to work. We had jobs early and learned the importance of understanding the responsibility of holding that job. Be dependable, be present, be mindful of quality and safety of work. Do your best to get along with your coworkers. Understand that paycheck is to be earned, not something just handed to you because you simply show up or have your name on a list of employees.
I have followed that for the better part of my life. I was months away from having thirty years in with the same company. This year and Covid-19 stole that from me. Being permanently laid off- but with the word that I would be called back when things picked up- had me reeling. How does one adjust from getting up every morning at 4 A.M. being at work at 6 and not getting home until after 4P.M. to no set schedule? How does one go from a physically demanding job to staying home? What do you do, when the paycheck stops?
March twenty-seventh, I lost my job. March is the beginning of the end of winter here. I knew, I had to stay busy, after nearly thirty years of busy, I could not just stop. I got online and signed up for my unemployment then looked out my front door. At this time my hope and belief were that this would be a temporary thing. I would make the most of this time home. I would be here for mom and dad in the time of social distancing and I’d get some much needed yard work done.
There is great therapy in that action. To see the neglected and overgrown areas of a yard and begin to correct that, keeps the mind and body busy. I picked one area and worked with that until it was cleared and then moved to the next. Physically it was difficult at times depending on what needed to be done. Mentally it kept me thinking on what to clear next and what to do with the mess. I live in a rural area with plenty of space behind the house that wasn’t a problem. The problem was keeping a careful eye out for snakes. I did run across several venomous Copperhead and a few rat snakes but since the work has been completed I haven’t seen any more. Their lurking spots removed, they moved on to better places.
Being here for my folks, gave me purpose. I was a listening ear, and handy yard help, and an (unpaid but willing) Uber driver.
I’ve been very careful with money, making sure bills are paid and food on the table. I’ll admit that every time I watched a delivery van go down our road, there were moments of jealousy, but I kept my spending to a minimum and saving to as much as possible. I had no idea how long this time off would last.
The one thing I did purchase, was a few inspirational books. Most I have read, a few still wait. I know it is important to keep the mind busy. I have mentioned before, I crave long conversations that cover all sorts of topics. Conversations that have you thinking carefully about what was said, and how you want to respond not to be politically correct but to be as precise in your answer as possible. To share what your thoughts and opinions are in a comprehensive manner that remains in the right context of the conversation. The world is not just black and white, there are grey areas, red can be pale pink to deep burgundy. It is the variations that add flavor.
I love to get out into nature. I love hiking and now have plenty of time to take advantage of that. In the acreage behind the house, I can follow small creeks, sit by the pond, wander the human and or animal trails, but its hunting season so I leash up Bella and head for the state park. The only cost being the gas to get there. The rewards, priceless.
But, and yeah, it seems there is always a but, this long, unexpected weekend does have an issue. I received the letter that due to unemployment levels dropped below the stated line, the pandemic unemployment benefits were stopped. So, now what? I’ve adjusted to being home. I’ve adjusted to being here for mom and those four or more calls a day. I’ve adjusted to, and come to love more than ever those hikes up a mountainside. At sixty-three I wasn’t planning on retiring. I had planned on working for a few more years. I do have a manuscript in the works about my late husband’s life and the struggles we faced, endured and were lead through by the grace of God. I have enough poetry written I could self publish another of those. I see that places are hiring, but mom. I know how very blessed I am to still have both of my parents living and living so close. I want to be here for them and this unexpected never ending weekend has provided that. But, that doesn’t pay. The issue remains, where does one go from here?
I have been going through all of those emails I get with job openings. Most are too far away for me to drive. I have spoken to a few people and know possibilities, and I’ll be checking in to them. The good thing is I’m not desperate. The savings will carry me for a while. Its funny, all the time I was working, I never thought I would be in a position where I would envy those who got up and followed that schedule. I remember dreaming of the day I would be sitting here, not having to get up and go punch a clock. The grass is not greener on the other side after all.
For now, I keep doing what I have been. For now, I write more, bleeding words from the soul out onto a page and hope that someone finds them worthy of reading. For now, I take one day at a time and understand that there is a purpose for everything that happens. For now, I hope that in some way, readers find a moment of encouragement in these word offerings and see that they are not alone in the struggles they face. Whether it be in their own unexpected, uninterrupted weekends or other life issues. We are in this together, lets lift each other up any way we are able.