If I have learned anything about myself this past year it’s that somehow, not working is more stressful than working. I’ve never considered myself a workaholic. However, I’ve always been the type to pick up extra shifts for extra money, simply so I could turn around and justify spending on myself. The stress of not working has increased this year thanks to being unemployed, not just once but twice due to COVID shutdowns with my previous job.
I’m aware I’m not the only one in my social group who isn’t working, but my anxiety keeps telling me everyone else is doing better than I am. My anxiety has manifested in an intense desire to lie on the floor or on my bed with my dog Josie, looking up at the ceiling and wondering: Where did it all go wrong? When is it going to get better? Why did I spend money on myself that one time three years ago? Healthy stuff.
Having free time because of being unemployed has been oddly frustrating for me. One moment I’ll be feeling proud of all the reading I’ve done, and the next I’ll be frustrated I didn’t apply to more jobs.
I spent the end of 2020 alternating between reading a 10-book series and playing long hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I stopped having a consistent schedule around the end of October when I lost my job. My regular eating patterns have long since stopped, yet I somehow remember to make myself one to three cups of coffee each day.
Sure, I still throw my resume out into the void that is the job market. I’ve started to improve at phone interviews and at reading between the lines in job postings online. I’ve started to write again.
My escapisms are both freeing and constraining. Freeing because I have more time to write. Constraining because I feel stuck in no-man’s land. Sometimes it feels relaxing to escape into other worlds. But eventually, my anxiety will remind me that I am unemployed and that escaping into other worlds won’t solve it.
I know that this limbo state will not be my life forever. I will find something new for work that will fulfill me. I just have to be patient and kind to myself.
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About the author
About the author
Mimi Schweid “Glorified nerd for all things comics, film, and television. A writer of all things fantastically strange.”