Two and a half months ago, I started a new job. And then, the pace of my life picked up. Longer hours, more distractions, coming home exhausted, spent.
Five weeks ago, my kids went back to school, and my life-pace picked up again. Mornings were shot—the primary focus became getting the kids on the bus. Evenings included picking Sophie up from tennis practice or getting her off to marching band. Some nights, we did both.
Around the time I started my job, I was doing a load of laundry. I noticed that the handle on our dryer was wobbly. Yes, the handle on our brand-new dryer was coming off. Our laundry appliances take a beating. Susan’s job, massage therapy, generates one to two loads of laundry per day. And a family genetic predisposition (passed down on Susan’s side of the family) dictates using each bath towel only once. This quirk has been fully passed on to my kids. We’ve got a towel-load every other day.
Our washers and dryers don’t last long, three or four years, tops. We tend to buy cheap units because it makes no sense to spend extra money on an expensive machine that will die in a few years.
The other night, somewhat late, I was washing Sophie’s tennis outfit. She had a match that day, and another one after school the next day. Tennis is a trying sport. They compete almost every day. But they only get one uniform. When I went to put the clothes in the dryer, I found that the handle was missing.
The next morning, I asked Susan about the dryer. That handle’s been gone for a month and a half. When was the last time I did laundry?
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My running program is in shambles. About a year ago, my weekly mileage was high. My weekend runs were measured in hours not miles. I finished the year with a 50K. I finished last year as a runner, an athlete . This spring, I backed off to shorter runs—three to four miles each—several times per week. But at the start of the summer, my calf began bugging me, and I stopped running all together. I laid around for about five weeks and then I started in slowly. Two mile runs. I figured I’d work up slowly over the next few months.
Back to that hectic life. Because of my mono-focus on my job and various other family responsibilities, my running plan never panned out. I never built up any mileage. In fact, I hardly went running at all. Typically, I headed out once on the weekend and maybe one more time during the week. My training calendar topped out at four miles per week.
I noticed this the other day. I’m starting to notice those things that I’m not getting done. The laundry, my runs, engaging with my children, with my wife. I’ve been walking around preoccupied, mentally worn out.
Yesterday, on my run, I decided to stretch out my mileage a little bit. I ran an easy, flat trail in the Gettysburg National Military Park. The park is primarily large open fields, but there are some long wooded trails used by hikers, runners and equestrians. About a mile into my run, I happened upon my friend Blair. He was hiking the trail with his wife, Katie. Blair’s another thing I’ve neglected since starting my job, so I stopped to talk with Katie and him. In our conversation, they asked me about my “new job.” I told them it isn’t my job any more. I just resigned. It wasn’t working out.
Blair knows me well. He, too, is a writer. We get together over coffee frequently to talk about our writing, hiking, life, and the general state of the world. His response. Well your mental health is more important than a job.
And so there it is. I’m unemployed now. Today is my first day as an adult that I don’t have a job. I’m working on my resume, crafting outreach letters, and knocking out some long overdue creative writing. Writing is yet another one of those things I’ve neglected for the past two and a half months.
Expect an up-tick in blogging. When things are bothering me, I find it helpful to write about them. And this terrifying decision I’ve just made is definitely bothering me.