Saturday, December 1, 2012

Taking a day off when you're unemployed

Being long-term unemployed is an insidious thing, really.  It wears away at you in a number of ways.  You start to lose self-worth because your emotional response to the situation is that you aren't contributing to the household and are just a drain on resources.  It isn't true, of course, at least for most people.  Most people spend the time getting things done around the house in between sending out resumes and (hopefully) going on interviews.  Dishes, laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, all of the things that would normally be crammed into the two days of the weekend are now able to be spread out and completed more thoroughly and without feeling rushed or like you never get to relax.

The irony is, though, that it is very easy to refuse to allow yourself a day off when you're unemployed.  The mind starts twisting it, saying that you're home all week so you have no right to just relax on a Saturday or Sunday, that you should treat them like every other day and Do All The Things!  Even when you let yourself have a lazy day with your spouse or even just on your own, guilt tends to make itself known, ruining any enjoyment that you may get out of giving yourself time to unwind.

I have been fighting that battle recently.  In October I didn't have weekends because we were working the haunted house, and even though we were home on Sunday, we weren't awake til afternoon due to not getting home until 4 or 5 in the morning.  We got up, had food, and collapsed for a few hours before going back to bed and starting the week over.  Those few hours were a haze, really, but even that haze was filled with "I shoulds".  I should be doing laundry.  I should unpack the car.  I should pull the dirty clothes out of my duffelbag.  I should, I should, I should.

October ended, and we regained our weekends, but did we?  Not really.  The first weekend after haunt ended was spent quite enjoyably (yet exhaustingly) at a convention as panelists.  It was a wonderful experience, we met awesome people and got to know some other awesome people better than we'd been able to before.  But it wasn't relaxing by any means.

Then, the weekends after that were spent in a whirlwind, desperately trying to get the house ready for Thanksgiving.  We have an open house that day, and anyone that we know who doesn't have other plans for the day is welcome to come and bring a dish to pass and share time with other holiday orphans.  Of course this requires that the house be up to standards for having people over.  As my standards differ greatly from my husband's standards in regards to 'clean enough', there is usually some added stress there as well.  But in the end the house was mostly ready, the people came, the food was eaten, and I hope that a good time was had by all.

Still no relaxing.

Today the husband had plans to be out of the house the whole day, and I decided that finally I was going to allow myself to have a day of relaxation and NOT allow myself to spend it seeing all of the things that I should be doing and feeling guilty that I wasn't doing them.  Even the unemployed need a day off now and then, and I had reached the end of my endurance. 

So I did it.

I have spent my day so far watching movies, scritching purring kitty cats, and knitting.  Once I finish this entry, I will then go online and play some Facebook games and then sign on to Star Wars: The Old Republic (tm) and spend a few hours either saving or conquering the galaxy (depending on my mood).  And it feels good.  There have been a few times when I have started to think to myself that I should be doing something, and I have made myself stop, put that thought aside, and just let it go.  Tomorrow there will be should be's.  Today there is only yarn winding through my fingers, soft fur against my cheek, and the hum of my lightsaber.  And it is good.

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