Don Bauder 4:30 p.m., Dec. 9
2009: A Wasted Year
Second-Place Winner of the December 2009 Neighborhood Blog Contest!
I have been unemployed for over a year now. I left, of my own volition, a company where (1) I didn't really have to work, yet still got paid, and (2) where I was told that I would never get fired, unless I was caught stealing (mum's the word on the exact quantity of Post-Its and Paper Mate pens I walked away with when all was said and done).
I currently spend a lot of time kickin' it in my pjs, figuring out new ways to waste time. I think that I am incredibly good at wasting time - maybe I should teach a class on it. It helps that I am a smoker and drink coffee, because those 2 activities alone could eat up most of one's day.
I got married and moved across the country about a year ago. I am not good with change, but I seem to have a way of forcing myself into making huge life choices without giving them much thought, until after the fact (hindsight is 20/20 and all of that).
One of my best friends always says, "So much of life is rush, rush, wait." I did indeed do the rush-rushing part, and I've been waiting now for over a year. But what is it that I'm actually waiting for? #1 would be gainful employment. However, my 6+ years working at a book publishing company helps me not at all in San Diego, the city I left NYC for. Yes, I am a city snob, and I apologize to the City of San Diego, and to my quiet North Park neighborhood, for my constant digs and incessant complaining. I promise that it's not you, it's me, and I would like it if we could remain friends.
When I was outside smoking today (whilst seated on one of the blue plastic chairs my husband and I bought for 40% off at the Hillcrest CVS at the end of the summer season for $17 a piece), I asked myself (quietly inside my head, not out loud like a freakin' crazy person), where I was a year ago, and am I in a better place today? To my dismay, I realized that a year ago, I was in the EXACT SAME PLACE sans the blue CVS chairs. I live in the exact same apartment in North Park, and I am doing exactly the same thing (which is being unemployed). The only difference is that, a year ago, I hadn't paid out my 401k out of sheer desperation to pay rent and eat. Nor had I sold my $500 handbags for $20 on eBay, or taken in my black Diane von Furstenberg classic wrap dress (that I may or may not have kissed goodbye) and gorgeous black patent leather Marc Jacobs handbag (that was a 30th birthday gift from one of my very best friends) into Nordstrom's for cash. Thank god for Xanax.
I am prone to melancholy and moodiness (but surprisingly I'm not into the goth scene, even though I think The Cure's Disintegration album is amazing - there's just no such thing as black lipstick, or at least there shouldn't be), but after I got married and moved, I found myself in the middle of hard-core depression. The kind of depression where you sleep all day and don't want to leave the house, even to go visit your brother who lives approximately five minutes away. I knew that my depression was situational, but nevertheless, it was incredibly annoying and exhausting. Also, my husband happens to be clinically-depressed, so the two of us make quite the pair. We are near the top of everyone’s holiday party guest list (no we're not).
But today, it felt like somebody splashed my face with a glass of ice-cold water, when I came to the realization that an entire year has flown by, and I'm still kickin' it in my pjs, smoking cigarettes, sipping coffee, and waiting...