Why being pathetically unemployed is what I needed.

I recently found a new job. Hooray!

Is it time to start patting myself on the back and putting my feet up as testament to a job well done?

Well, actually, no.

I’ve come to realize something in my past couple of months of unemployment. I am responsible for what happens in my world.

When the work at my previous job dried up unexpectedly, my mind flicked a switch which allowed a stream of thoughts to swirl around in my head. Foremost was, “Finally, I’ve got some time to relax! I’ll be able to do the things I always said I would because now my schedule is free!”

Here’s what really happened:

I would awaken at 11am. My mind would feel lethargic from it’s binge of gaming or Youtube browsing well into the early hours of the morning. Breakfast would be skipped as it was already lunchtime. After an hour of miserably lugging about the house, my mind would eventually get moving, but too quickly. All of a sudden, a panic would seize me, accompanied by a desperate urge to make up for all those hours of lost time that I could have spent productively working on my dream.

The discomfort would be too much, however, so to videos and games I would return, to escape the pain of the present. Suddenly it’s 2pm. By now, I am ready to go. Properly.
I might get things done till about 4:30pm. “Businesses close at this time, so why should I continue working?” And alas, the rest of the evening is spent playing games and watching videos. There was just one problem with all this.
I hated myself. I hated that I had allowed myself to become so lazy and unmotivated.

But is was necessary. For I had to go through that might slump to get to this realization.

I am responsible for what happens in my world.

Till this point in my life, I had always relied on others to ensure I do what I was told. I feared the day that this guiding force in my life was retracted as I never knew how to approach life on my own, as an individual.

It was during this hazy slump of unemployed moping at home that I experienced just how little I could do if given the opportunity. It shocked me. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be more social, more confident and more adventurous.

But it’s obvious that just wanting to do something was not enough. I found I had allowed myself to become paralyzed by not knowing how to approach my goals.My life began to slow. And when it slowed something great happened.
My mind began to reveal negative thought patterns that had swirled around in the background, only to be ignored previously because I was too busy. Now I had no choice but to confront them. This was an incredibly hard aspect to face. It required me to eliminate every ounce of ego surrounding the issue and simply (and humbly) own up to truths about myself that I didn’t want to accept. Doing this, however, finally allowed me to stop denying problems in my life and begin exploring ways to solve them.

I began to start asking for help for things I didn’t see myself capable of asking. I started seeing a therapist. I saw the dentist. I got my car repaired. I explored the notion of starting a psychology degree. I set myself personal goals and began listening to motivational speeches. I have set myself a weekly schedule to monitor my progress through the week. I’ve begun to do things I would always put off. I’ve slowly developed discipline. I have begun to take charge of my life.

And as a result, I’m actually feeling great.

It’s this idea that I can do these things, even when I was unemployed, where nobody is there during the day to hold me accountable, that makes me feel more confident. I never believed I could do it on my own. I never thought I could give myself permission to feel okay with myself unless I fit the mold of what society sees a 22-year-old, almost graduated man to be. I am letting go of this, and a peace is taking its place.

It’s a peace from knowing I am working towards a future. Where exactly it’s going, I can’t say for sure (who can?), but I have a few ideas now that I have forced myself to look into it. By making a deliberate effort towards these things consistently, I have started to develop a faith in myself that I don’t think I’ve had before.

I must acknowledge that I haven’t done this alone, though. I still have my family around me. I still keep in touch with friends and my therapist. These people all help me along the way. But I see now that these are people I have chosen to have in my life. They are all a part of a world that I have chosen for myself as a human being. They all help me to keep moving in the direction that I feel I should be heading in.

So is it time to sit back and relax? Not even close.

Is it time to work? Yes, but now I can rejoice at the same time. The joy of working towards a goal is far greater than laying down and imagining one.

 

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