First there was roller derby and then came the new job: two of the biggest changes in my life since 2009, the year I went back into therapy & back on meds for depression. Well, one of those new things turned out to be not quite what I hoped for and instead of sucking it up (which I did do briefly, for the record), I decided – was able – have the luxury – to be honest with myself, my family, and my employer: I quit.
It was me, not the job.
It was the commute, not the job.
I haven’t worked since June of 2004, when I went on maternity leave with Henry. That’s 7 years that I have been doing the stay at home mom (SAHM) thing. I was only in the workforce for 9 years (9 years!), with 5 of those as a working mom. For me to go back to work was a sizable transition – a huge transition – one that I just can’t make right now, a transition I’m not willing to make right now. I thought I was, but I need to get my feet wet and get used to the water before I jump from the high dive into the deep-end of traditional employment.
Traditional employment. You know, a 9-5 (or 8-4 or 10-6) job. You show up, do something there, and they pay you. What’s not to like?
I cannot stand the sensation of being a sheep/cow/stock animal of some sort as I fight traffic (or in Chicago, traffic then people for a good seat on the train) with all the other sheeple doing their duty by going to work. I am not sheeple. I don’t like to be stuck in traffic, cut off, beeped at. My reaction is to floor it when given the chance, like Thursday June 2, when traffic broke up on the Toll Road/Greenway and I went 90, weaving in and out of 3 lanes of lighter traffic to maintain my speed. I’m not sure what the solution is to congestion woes (public transport? alternate fuel/transport? telecommuting? an unrealistic utopian society based on discrete, self-sustaining communities?) but sitting in it makes me think about it (see previous parenthetical comment), which ultimately leads to me thinking about Humanity in general (it’s a blog: I’ll make humanity Humanity if I want to). We’re killing ourselves and the planet. [insert tree-hugger, crunchy granola rant here.]
Being stuck in traffic is like having insomnia: I tried podcasts, I tried playlists, I tried silence, I even knit almost 2 rows one night when the road I was on was shut down because a pedestrian was hit (and is reportedly doing okay) and traffic was more stop than go. It’s too much time to think, too much time when I’m not learning anything or doing anything physical (even mundane housework solves this problem for me).
Too much time on my hands. Wasted time. Time I can spend doing something entertaining, like theorizing the fate of my race. At least I was driving a hybrid car, which is like a smoker using the patch/gum/lozenge to quit.
I know a lot of people who would not be able to do what I did, who would love to do what I did. 1995-me couldn’t do it; I passed up grad school because I thought the people at my job needed me. But 1990-me did it when she got sick (really: I was throwing up, but definitely milked it) and couldn’t finish her last 2 weeks of waitressing shifts at Howard Johnnson’s before going to college. 1999-me couldn’t just quit either; but 1999-me wanted to work because she was an overwhelmed [too-]young mother looking for an escape. Even 2001-me had given up on her own career in favor of her husband’s (money won).
Wait – am I talking about myself in the third person? ::hangs head in shame::
I’m lucky for it to not be just about money, though having health insurance again would have helped all of us feel a little more secure. And I’ve just put a whole load of stress back on Mr. Q, who did an amazing job as Mr. Mom (no one’s woobie got sucked into the vacuum), who has been diligently applying for all the exec level IT jobs he can find and then some.
I don’t know ultimately where or how this will end, but I know I won’t be stuck in traffic or sitting at a desk when we figure it out, or if I am at a desk, it’ll be my Yarn Office desk.
I took over our formal living room and most of the dining room last year (or the year before?). All of my knitting books & girly doo-dads are in one spot, away from the boy-stuff that overtook the library/office. I have 4 windows in the living room, plus a bay of 3 in the dining room looking out over the backyard. My spinning wheel is here, along with an armoire with yarn & fiber. In trying to distinguish it from the other office/library, Ethan called it “your Yarn Office, Mom,” and so it is. And they all lived happily ever after. <— I still have hope.