The last summer in which I did not work full time would have been 1993. I was in grade 8 that year, and I remember I did a summer camp for technical theatre and probably spent the rest of the summer being a suburban teenager. I think maybe there was some babysitting.
From Grade 9 until now, I have worked. I may have taken off a week in the summer, but I’ve never had more than 3 weeks of vacation in a year; there were no extended summer breaks. My current employer has, from time to time, required me to take time off when I wasn’t billable, which further reduced my vacation available. Finally, there has been school and projects and vacation while I went to Montana to help with the kids and Chemo and Radiation. What there hasn’t been are days where I had no professional responsibilities.
The anxiety, between J. and my job loss, was blinding. Blinding enough for Ativan, blinding that my friends and my doctors have kept close tabs on me. Blinding enough that I was frightened for myself. I’m still anxious; still worried about what happens if I don’t have a job at the end of September.
But for now, for July and a part of August? I’m going to stop thinking of unemployment as a bad thing and start thinking of my great good fortune. I cannot work because there is no professional work for me to do. My protestant work ethic and workaholic nature must be still and silent. I am supported by a social safety net that I have paid into for more than 25 years. I have some savings. It will not be a glamourous life, but I will keep body and soul together, a roof over our heads and the animals and I fed.
I’m going to call this a summer vacation.
I will learn python and read novels and knit and weed. I will re-teach myself statistics and R, and sit in my chair in the garden and stare at the fire. I will restain the deck, but be glad that I’m not trying to shove it into a few hours because I’m busy. I shall do what suits me when it suits me.
Sure, I’m an unemployed bum. But this bum is on summer vacation.