Since getting laid off from my full-time day job on the last day of 2012, I find I am just as busy as I was before, but things are definitely different.
First and foremost, my stress level has dropped significantly. I know this goes without saying. Working forty-plus hours a week while taking care of a large family and elderly parents, volunteering and trying to launch my freelance writing career while stalking literary agents would make anyone’s blood pressure rise, right?
Funny thing is, I miss it.
The adrenaline that kept me going (along with lots of caffiene and refined sugar) left me feeling more productive than ever. The word count of my to-do lists rivaled that of “Gone With the Wind” and I was spinning my plates at warp speed.
Still, there were moments when I actually wished for a bit of a break – a sabbatical, if you will. I’d fling myself full-time into my freelance career, publish not one, not two, but maybe all three of my manuscripts, all while purging every closet of clutter and doing a deep clean on my entire house.
Be careful what you wish for…
When everything came to an abrupt halt, I reeled. Which freelance endeavor should I focus on first? Which manuscript should I hawk the loudest? Which closet should I tackle? Are the cobwebs behind the entertainment unit really that bad?
Thankfully, my boys’ schedules remained the same and this gave my days some structure.
I filled the hours with making stick-to-their-ribs dinners, baking way too many batches of cookies, logging mile after mile to burn off said cookies, and curling up with books I’d put aside for way too long – only they weren’t written by me.
I struggled long and hard with the writing projects I never seemed to have enough time for when I was working and I couldn’t figure out why.
Were my aspirations to become a full-time freelancer misguided? Had I convinced myself that a spot on the coveted NY Times bestseller list was not mine to have?
Then my husband nailed it. I had too much time on my hands. The urgency was gone.
This revelation hit me like a thunder clap. Of course, he was right. Just take a look at the number of posts I published on this blog last year compared to this. The numbers speak for themselves.
But no worries.
I’m back. The dark circles under my eyes may be gone, but I am back.
As my wise mother keeps telling me, all things happen for a reason. And she’s right. If I hadn’t been laid off, I wouldn’t have been home to take care of my second oldest son when he recuperated from a recent surgery. My dad would’ve missed a number of doctor’s appointments that my sibs were unable to get him to. My middle son would’ve been scorned by his peers who demanded that he bring homemade muffins to his high school English class when it was his turn to bring breakfast. The list goes on.
Still, I do yearn for the days when my level of productivity is not measured by loads of laundry washed and folded, but by the number of procedures tested and documented.
I can dream, can’t I?
In the meantime, I’d better go. I smell a batch of snicker doodles burning in the kitchen…