No Hawaii for me :(

Some people I know are in Hawaii for vacation.  I had the opportunity to go and would have only had to pay for airfare plus whatever I wanted to do when I was in Hawaii so the decision to not go was not an easy one.  If the store wouldn’t have closed I definitely would be kicking back on the beach with a coconut drink right now but sometimes life happens.

I went back and forth trying to decide what I should do and it definitely wasn’t easy when most of the people I talked to were very pro-Hawaii (of course, who discourages a trip to Hawaii?).

The pros are that I’m not working so I didn’t have to worry about getting the time off work and when might I have this kind of free time again?  I technically have the money.  I can always job hunt when I get back.  It’s Hawaii.

The cons are that I’m not working so I don’t have a steady income.  Some people encouraged me to find a job before I left but I didn’t want to find a job, move, then go on a week long vacation plus I’m sure most employers aren’t fans of new employees asking for a week off.

Part of me thinks it would have been fine but I didn’t want to take the chance of finding a great job and either risking it for a vacation or losing money on plane tickets because I couldn’t take the time off.  People reassured me that any employer would understand but as a manager I can tell you that if someone said in an interview that they would need a week off right away I would be hesitant, especially if I needed to fill that position right away.  Sometimes I hate being responsible.

Last week when I talked to a friend I finally came to the conclusion that I was not in a good place to take a vacation.  Who wants to go on vacation when they’re wondering when they’re going to find a job?  I also would have been worried about spending too much money and I know from experience going on vacation when you’re worried about money does not make for a positive experience.

It’s a bit surreal being unemployed.  I’ve kind of fallen into a routine but the thought that I don’t have money coming in right now is always on my mind.  I did finally apply for unemployment so that will help with the bills and I’m still in a good place but that doesn’t always stop the anxiety.  I’m applying for jobs that I really want right now but in a few weeks I’m going to have to swallow my pride and start applying for jobs that might not be my first choice but would get me moving in the right direction.

Basically while I stare out the window at the gray cold I can’t help but think about what I might be doing in Hawaii right now….I push these thoughts aside because I know I made the right choice and there will be other vacations in my future.

Trusting my Decisions

I appreciate all the comments, concerns, and even the criticisms I’ve received from friends and family since the store closed but some of what’s meant to be helpful actually makes me feel more anxious.  This is not to say I’m not extremely thankful for the many wonderful people in my life (friends, family, fellow bloggers) who support me or offer advice because I am (more than anyone knows) but I also have to learn to trust my own choices.  I constantly worry about being judged for my choices but ultimately I’m the one who lives with any consequences and I have to accept that not everyone will understand my decisions.

I worked the same job for 12 years, before that I worked for another company for over 2 years, and before that over a year at a fast food restaurant, so basically 15 years of working.  This isn’t a tremendously long work history but what’s been missing in all this time working is happiness, the feeling that when I wake up in the morning I don’t dread going to work. Some people have told me I’m being unrealistic or too picky in looking for a career that I love but I can’t believe that everyone working right now hates their job.

At my last job I had almost 4 weeks of vacation every year but would only use maybe 2 weeks per year, which was usually taking one week for an actual vacation then a few days here and there in an attempt to use up the hours.  I made decent money but rarely had time to do anything and missed out on so much time with friends and family because of my obligations to work.  I’ve already enjoyed extra time with my family and friends over the holidays, plus look forward to planning a visit to the coast once I start my job search.

My decision to delay my job search is not a conventional decision because from the time we’re old enough to work we’re taught that not working is bad.  If you lose or quit your job you get another one right away.  My primary concern is explaining to a potential employer the gap in my employment history, which is why I’m continuing to improve myself during this transitional time.

I’m signing up to volunteer with the Red Cross since the organization is everywhere so I can continue in just about any city. Writing this blog is also helping me on this journey because it gives me an opportunity to write out my emotions during this time.  I know it helps because I started out my day anxious and just writing out my thoughts helps me relax.  I’m working on my health and removing both the physical and emotional clutter from my life so I can make a truly fresh start.

In some ways I feel like I’m having a mid-30’s crisis but whether or not this time in my life needs a label, I’m grateful to be in a position where I can take this time to reinvent myself, shake off the emotional baggage of the past, and move on as stronger version of myself.

The Variety of Life

The majority of life decisions from the minuscule to the major involve making some kind of decision but I sometimes find it so challenging to pick just one when they’re so many choices.  Big decisions I research and trust in my gut instinct to help guide me on the right path but the smaller ones I sometimes find overwhelming.  I feel like so much of my day is spent choosing between varieties of unnecessary options.

The primary reason I started this post was because of how often I spend more time picking out a movie or TV show than I do actually watching TV or movies.  I have DVR, Netflix, cable, and movies sitting in their wrappers on the shelf so when I make the decision to watch a movie it often becomes a process.

Tonight I decided to watch a movie, choosing to quickly pick something out while I pop some popcorn; however the popcorn was popped and I was still scrolling.  Do I want comedy, horror, documentary, independent movie, a thriller, maybe a good TV show?  Popcorn halfway gone I finally pick a movie.  One day I just gave up and grabbed a book (although the variety there is just as bad but for some reason easier to choose most days), which is what I should do more often.

This wide variety of options also extends to the grocery store where the food options are limitless.  I almost sat down in the aisle of the store one day because I was so sick and couldn’t find a simple can of chicken noodle soup in the vast rows of cans.  Of course it’s not just soup but pretty much every item in the store has a minimum of 10 different choices.  Most of the things I buy I know what I like but every once and again a new option appears that causes me to pause to reconsider my choices.  I don’t buy ice cream very often but when I do it’s like a 15 minute process in the freezer aisle.

In some way I appreciate all the choices and variety but there are days when I just want maybe 3 options to cut down on the time spent making decisions.  Choices are always going to have to be made but I think to help myself I just need to narrow my choices and be more decisive.  In some ways I worry so much about making a poor choice even about the small things that I question my decisions to the point where I nearly make myself crazy.

I know in the coming weeks I will have some major decisions to make, hopefully once I start applying for jobs I’ll appreciate having so many options available, and will trust my instinct to make the right choice.  In the meantime I’m thinking about starting a new TV series so I better start narrowing down my choices now so I can maybe have one picked out by the weekend.