Thank goodness, I’m glad it’s the end of the day, and I’m even gladder that tomorrow is a whole n’other day because this one, although it was fine in some ways, was also quite tortuous on the mental front. I don’t talk about the topic of work and career here very often because on the one hand, the second I mention one of those two words, I become instantly anxiety ridden, and for another, I have no idea who might read this blog and wouldn’t want casual comments made here to be wrongly interpreted by some of my work relations for instance, should they find their way on these pages.
Now that I’ve gotten those preliminary words of caution out of the way, I’ll tell you what it is that has me worried: I’m obsessed with the idea that I’ll become a bag lady shortly after my psychiatrist declares me fit to work again. I don’t care how irrational that might sound, but the thought just tortures me every single day and I usually manage to switch off that sort of nonsense, but today in particular was very difficult in that regard.
I had a thriving (and obviously very stressful) career before I left on my extended medical leave almost two years ago now, but there are absolutely no guarantees that:
a) I’ll get my job back
b) I’ll be able to perform at my job if I do get it back
c) I won’t end up being demoted to some lowly administrative position or
d) I won’t be required to grovel and beg to get my job back—the same one that sent me on this medical leave to begin with (well the job was only partially the reason but still).
e) I haven’t already torpedoed my carreer down the drain by being a hermit for the past 21 months and not giving any signs of life to anyone.
Then of course, when you go through as major a shift as I have done, you can’t help but consider the possibility that it might be a good idea to look at other career paths or ventures. And while in principle it sounds like a really good idea to do that, the fact is I just don’t have the kind of enthusiasm and drive that would propel me forward to dreaming up that shiny bright future I’ve always dreamed of. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing this blog entry to begin with.
Then I’m seeing the pages of the calendar just flying off faster and faster like that scene they used to show in 50’s movies to show time going by… and next thing I know I’m going to be turning 40 in no time at all and… I’M NOT READY!!! I was supposed to have a whole bunch of things figured out by then. I was supposed to be reaching up higher and higher in the echelons of success while going deeper and deeper into my spiritual connection. Instead I’m just seeing all these dreams I used to have as hopelessly naive and kind of pathetic. I want to dream and hope again but my mind has decided that I’m too… middle-aged to consider anything else than a steady progress toward continual decrepitude and an inexhorable descent into complete irrelevance (if I haven’t gotten there aleady that is).
Finally, once my mind has gotten a firm hold on me (as it did today) and I manage to convince myself that all is lost and I’ll be fired from my job the second I show my face, I immediately start thinking about what my options are. It’s a little mental exercise that’s supposed to be helpful—look at POSSIBILITIES instead of feeling stuck with what seems like a dire situation. But then it all becomes even scarier because I start to think, well—who the hell would want me after having retired for so long and everybody talks and would know that I’m a liability since I have such serious health problems. So I start thinking I would be forced to leave this city and seek employment elsewhere. But then, I’m not sure my knowledge base is interesting to employers at this point since it’s obviously out of date. And I also have the following thought which plagues me constantly: “who moves to another city or country or starts a new carreer at the age of 40!!”. I said this to my therapist this week and she said now that so many people are losing their jobs every day, there are people much older than I having to start over too, but somehow that’s not really a comforting thought. At all.
I don’t want to end up having to work at McDonald’s. My wardrobe is too fabulous for that (if I can ever fit into it again). And I don’t want to end up as a bag lady and have to cart all my stuff around. I need to keep a roof over my head if only so that my cats can stay safe and warm. I don’t want to have to move from my cozy appartment and share a flat with a bunch of students to save on rent. I don’t want to have to downgrade… just as I’m turning 40. I’ve struggled quite enough.
I feel like I’ve made a big mess of everything. And then again… it’s not like I did any of it on purpose!
So imagine all that… on a constant loop. So yeah, I’m feeling a little bit sorry for myself. Programing should return to normal by tomorrow, let’s hope.
Photo by guy.p, Flickr