Catching You Up with Me

Looking for work sucks. I’m glad that part of my life is officially over.

I’m returning to my old job. I’ve worked there off and on since 2000. No, I don’t see myself there for the rest of my life. I don’t see myself at *any* job for the rest of my life.

But I sure see myself enjoying my coworkers, having a job that fits into my life, and having the freedom to write and live as I like for now.

Oh, I won’t be raking in the cash, I’ll be living a reasonably budgeted life, but I’m excited.

The last time I “returned” to this job, I promised myself I would change my life in every area but work. And I DID. I beat the depression that had been plaguing me, lost 50 pounds, and generally improved my life in a lot of ways. Then I blew my back out.

Now, I’m recovering from a REPEAT of that back injury and I’ll be getting the gift of medical coverage. Yay!

I’ve been very quiet about that recent back injury, but now I can share, because I’m no longer looking for work. The injury was a lot worse than I was letting on. Like, Steff-in-tears-on-hardwood-floor-for-hours kinda bad. I had a lot of really scary nights involving a lot of tears and fear for my future.

April was among the darkest months I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t even want to write about some of what I’d been through that month.

One week, though, was EASILY in the Top 3 darkest, saddest, tear-stained weeks of my life, when I re-injured my back the second time in five weeks.

And if you’ve never HAD a serious back injury, YOU DON’T GET IT. It cripples your entire life. Every move you make, task you do, rest you have — it’s ALL affected with a serious back injury. If you know someone with a back injury, please ask if you can get them some groceries, help tidy — anything. You have no idea. It’s a scary place to be. Without a job or medical, it’s terrifying.

Between working anything I could get, rehabbing, looking for work, trying to catch up domestically with all the things I was physically unable to do, I was facing 60+ hour weeks for the last six weeks — and, injured, that’s just no good way to live.

But, all you can do is tough it out, and I did. Now, no more toughing-out. I have the promise of work, the means to care for myself, and a lot less weight on my shoulders.

That time’s over now. My back’s come a long way. Ain’t FIXED, but at least I can work. My social life will return one day but I really don’t give a shit about seeing people, as hard as I’ve been working, and as stretched as my time has been. But that’ll change. Soon, too, I hope.

And now, with a guaranteed job and medical, and a social safety net back under my feet, I know I’ll get to where I need to be.

I’m really trying to hold onto that experience though — the black-as-hell, darkest-before-dawn, all-hope-is-gone fear — because it teaches us what’s important in life, and where our focus needs to be.

Today, I make the same pledge to myself as I did in September 2007: A year from now, I promise myself, I will be stunned when I look back at how I look today. I will be strong. I will be fit in a way that works for me and my life.

Starting today, my health is my first priority. Work, writing, and creativity are my second priority. Then, it’s the rest of life.

Wisely, I’ve set myself up with 30 hours a week. I can always work more, but right now that’s what I need.

In the last year, I’ve learned:

  • I don’t like “self-employment” of the meet-and-greet give-a-business-card variety. I’m not that girl.
  • I do indeed like doing some freelance, but I’m not really structured to be a natural at the business side of that. Maybe one day. Not today, not exclusively.
  • Contract jobs that only offer 15 or 20 hours a week with an unfocused objective and a “but you’ll figure it out” because it’s a “new” position can screw yourself over while giving someone else your value.
  • I need a routine in order to have success measured equally in my life.

I wouldn’t want to do the last year over again, but I’m sure happy I’ve learned this much about what I need for happiness, and what I want in my life. I think I’m on the road to making that all happen.

So, here, today, my New Year of Me begins.

I rocked it in 2007-2008, and I’ll do it again. This time, I’m still down 60 of the 70 pounds I eventually lost. This time, I’ve already got the injury and I’m working to strengthen myself — not just a desperate pushing-300-pounds fat girl like I was in 2007, trying to lose weight without the know-how or help, and damaging myself in the process. This time, I’m finishing the job I started, but properly.

I’m excited. I’m mostly tired after what’s been a really long hard time of life, but… I’m excited.

Some people can be unemployed and it’s like a vacation. I didn’t get that experience. I don’t want it now, either. Employed, this is good.

Have a great week, minions.