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 I feared the day that this guiding force in my life was retracted as I never knew how to approach life on my own, as an individual.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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Sunday Rain

It’s cold and gray this morning. Just like his mind.

He walks out to the kitchen, socks barricading him from the sharp chilled bite of the tiles beneath him. The granite benchtop offers little remorse for the heat it steals from his wrists as he eases them against it, if only for a second, as he pushes himself onto the brown clothed stool.

He sits hunched, as if that will shield him from the chilly air. Outside, it comes down still. The rain falls ceaselessly. It sheens the dams as the thousands of drips on the waters’ surfaces increase their reflections by a thousand percent. The trees are dark with dampness. The grass is a deep wet green speckled carelessly with glistening leaves and shining sticks that have long since fallen from where they began their journey in a branch of a tree. Overhead there is an endless blanket of cloud; a heavy colourless mass that weighs down on and even envelops some of the treetops fogging along the horizon.

His eyes take in it all in a just a lazy glance. His mind doesn’t, however. Its attention is turned inward. Somehow the worries and frustrated thoughts in his head seem more interesting. As if entertaining them will save him from his fears more today than any other day.

Why today? Because it’s Sunday. The day when he hears from nobody. It’s the day after Saturday, where all the excitement usually resides. Today offers nothing but time and the isolation needed for one to reflect upon the week preceding it. It’s a moment of self evaluation where the mistakes are brooded upon until hopefully a golden lesson emerges from the churning chaos of the cerebral cortex. In his eyes, this is not a day. This is only an empty bridge from the past week to the next, with nothing but a vast lake of flat gray water sitting underneath. The relentless splashing of raindrops and puddles outsides only help to complement the hues and tones of the pictures that swirl endlessly in his mind.

Cold and gray. At least for today.

An Introduction of Sorts

This has been a long time coming

I have flirted with the idea of starting my own blog for a few weeks now, but have lacked the commitment to finally begin. I had to work. I had a book to read. I was about to go out. I was too tired.

And so, here and now on another Saturday night, I still have all of those excuses but now there’s a difference. I’m not buying them anymore. It’s time I got to work on something important to me.

I don’t know how long this will last. I don’t know exactly what it’ll be about but I have some ideas. I hope to share them in time.

But for now, I think it’s time I set some rules:

  • First, I need a routine. I believe motivation will only get you so far. There’s a point where you need to push yourself to do even the things you want to do. I need a plan. I’ll write at least once a week. That’s my start.
  • Second, it’s time for honesty. If I cannot be honest with you, we can’t connect. I can’t grow behind a wall of insecurity and shame. I expect many coming posts to make me uncomfortable or exposed. That’s when I know I’ll be doing this right.
  • Third, to have fun. I will talk about what makes me passionate, in hoping to inspire the passion in anyone who reads this. I might plan things out or I might be spontaneous. Either way, I want to enjoy doing this and I hope, if you read this, you do, too.

I’ll be 23 in a few weeks. My name is Jake. I like people. I like learning about them. I like learning about me. I also love the snow, despite being an average snowboarder best! I’ll be going there in a month’s time. I graduate from my university in a month and a half. I’ll be a mechanical engineer… Maybe.

It’s raining hard tonight, nothing but the sound of raindrops tackering and thwacking away on the roof is breaking the silence. It’s nice actually. When I stop thinking about how I wish I was in the city under multicolored lights and lost in a crescendo of bass and treble and laughter and shouting, the natural relentlessness of water gives way for a thoughtful stillness.

It reminds me that life is happening.

Let’s see where this goes.