Unemployment stirs a strange desire in... well, I almost said "a man," but I guess I should stick to talking about myself.
Unemployment has stirred a strange desire in me. That is to say the desire to justify my existence to, at the very least, myself. If I were the universe, what would I think justifies a person's existence? Lucky for me, I am not the universe.
If you find yourself suddenly unemployed right now, be prepared for a long haul. That is my unsolicited advise to all of you. If they walk you into the HR guy's office and say "We want our business to be here twenty years from now so..." Get ready for several months. Come up with a Plan B right away.
I read a very well put headline on the NPR website recently. It said, "Revenue is up across the board while profits remain down. Wonder how that can be? Ask one of your unemployed friends!"
There have been many lessons for me. I think the major one is my need to keep working otherwise my life seems entirely worthless to me. I don't get to sit beside the lake and tan. I'm not wired for that. This makes me wonder if maybe I should have pursued a career as a pastor or an artist or something else where one never retires (or rather shouldn't.)
About a month ago I started writing a novel which is about a completely ridiculous topic (I'm reluctant to tell people about it because they will ridicule it and my courage will tremble) but which I think may change the world. It's a bildungsroman and manifesto which, if successful, ought to destroy reality. So look forward to that.
I am also gardening, working on losing weight, learning French, trying to do chores to help Laurie because she still works. I haven't been blogging often because the days are like watercolors in this chapter of my life. But I have been writing a lot and researching a lot for the project.
Of course, unemployment checks run out eventually and I have a very strong desire to work and to work hard. It amazes me that I am over three months into unemployment when any employer who would have me would have a highly competent, joyful and hard working employee. So, I am taking matters into my own hands and starting up a business which I also cannot talk about details quite yet. But everyone thinks it's a good idea and it looks to start making money almost immediately.
Because when I was laid off I remember thinking (maybe writing too, I don't remember) that severance pay at a lay off is a bit like giving someone a canteen of water and parachuting them into the middle of a desert blindfolded. There comes a time when you realize you have no idea if you're even going in the right direction, if there is civilization anywhere around or if you'll ever be found and rescued, so you need to start figuring out how to live in the desert.
When I was laid off, I knew it was bad, but didn't really understand what it really meant. It was like the moment when a doctor tells you the name of the horrible disease you now have and realizing you've never heard of it before.
It's also really weird that nothing bad has happened yet. We are really fine and have not struggled at all. I know that this is God's provision for us and it is also our financial wisdom and thrift (which is a form of God's provision for us.) I also know that I am not guaranteed that this will continue. Still, I sleep better now than I have at any point in my adult life.
I really hope this is not famous last words. I hope that I don't look back on this entry and think "what a fool! Had no idea how bad it was going to get." Which may be part of why I haven't been blogging my feelings on a regular basis. Also, not too sure how helpful this is to anyone but myself.
But I was talking about lessons. First, do things all day all the time. Make things always. This does not justify your existence in a cosmic sense, but it will make you feel better. Also, along those lines: wake up at a decent hour and get dressed even if you don't have to.
Second, worry does not equal care. And you can seek work diligently happily or you can do it in sheer terror. You're the one who has to live in that head.
Third, always have music playing whenever you can.
Fourth, but do use the time. Not only use it to create new opportunities, but do use your ability to go for walks in the middle of the day or to the library in the morning before all of the movies are picked over.
Fifth, do not complain about your circumstances and never never never presume to pass judgment on someone else's circumstances. You have no idea what you're talking about and you have no idea how bad it can get. Strive to grasp some idea of how good you have it. There's nothing more irresponsible and stupid than pessimism.
Also there is a sense in which a recession ends when everyone agrees that it has ended.
Part of my secret is that I didn't expect to live this long. But part of my secret is that I am exactly where I am supposed to be and I know it. God is fully aware of where I am and it is right.
To me, the past is dead and the future unborn.
The trick is to keep moving.