The Resignation, Part III

Friday March 2 was my last day. After nearly 12 years of employment, I wiped my machines, turned in my laptop and badge, hugged exactly 7 people and then walked out the door. I would like to tell you I am in tip top shape, filled to the brim with confidence and purpose and direction and momentum, but Thursday March 1 it all hit me and it continues to hit me. First I began crying on the street walking to a last-minute dentist appointment after finding out from HR not 2 hours earlier that my benefits debit card, transit and limited FSA funds would all cease to be available to me at 11:59pm the next day. Next I began circling my own tail, effectively spinning out considering all the possibilities that lay in front of me.

Aside from one year in the early 2000s where I was living with a romantic partner for the first time and unemployed, I have never not had a job where there was a schedule in place and someone or many someones telling me what to do. Despite not being able to sleep these last few weeks because I could not help but go over all of the many many things I was eagerly and anxiously waiting to get started on, I am a bit paralyzed with indecision. I don't know where to start. Also the crying thing is still happening—I'm pretty sure they're tears of gratitude but it's inconvenient and annoying.

I keep reminding myself that I am more than capable of handling this and that it is my nature to work and make and do. Friends keep reminding me that I am not the kind of person who can sit still. And all of these things are true! During that year of unemployment I was busy every day, sending hundreds of resumes and cover letters, making lunches for my partner and cooking fresh meals every night. I began painting and dabbling in turntablism. I wrote an impassioned manifesto. I volunteered for a citywide open studio campaign and wound up being the sole designer responsible for an entire suite of materials. Even when employed full-time, I would create projects to be busy with after hitting my limit for internet surfing (generally I was able to veg out for about one week max). So why am I so convinced that I am doomed to spend my days sitting on my ass like a useless sack of skin?

Today is almost a week from my last day of official work. I gave myself the weekend to have a breakdown and then when Monday hit I began working on taking care of logistical tasks around my house, preparing myself and my environment for the great unknown. The breakdown was much less dramatic than anticipated, which I'm sure is largely due to just giving myself permission to be a mess. I cried, I sat in paralyzed fear, I ate carbs—I also managed to sleep through the night. I finally did my laundry and today I changed my sheets for the first time in two months. I have done the dishes, rearranged my furniture and purged a surprising amount of useless objects. I arranged a specific, inviting and large area devoted entirely to use as a workspace and I began tackling the overwhelming amount of mail and random papers I've been hoarding for months. I am writing this post. I am doing things; these things may not yet be the magical writing projects I am intent on producing but they are actions and steps at clearing a path to the next thing. And maybe that very next thing is the magic.