Pretend you’re walking along the beach, minding your own business (or at least pretending you’re not studying that couple making out). When who should appear? Stop looking at the couple, sicko - I’m over here. Ah, what a surprise! We’re just two old friends that haven’t spoken in over a year. So, what have you been up to? Family, work, not enough vacations. I hear ya.
Yes, you say, noticing my cagey behavior. My eyes are shifty and I keep kicking at a piece of driftwood that’s tied to my leg by tangled up seaweed. Your overactive imagination weaves a story about me being on the lam and have come in from sea for supplies. And yet, you’re too curious to leave. Where have I been? What have I been doing? Is it more interesting than not having enough vacations?
Finally, I make eye contact and start to speak…
“I blew up my life and am now drifting.”
Shit, my grandma’s done that like 5 times, you think. Okay, that might not be true for you. But MINE actually has, so perhaps it’s a genetic trait.
I digress. We’re on the beach. I inexplicably have driftwood tied to me. You think I’m a homeless pirate. We’re talking and I’ve just decided we’re both wearing white.
I’ll say it again…I blew up my life and am now drifting.
What is your first reaction?Do you feel pity? Are you envious?
The truth is, I’ve gotten both reactions. It’s always in the first five minutes of hearing that I went through a divorce, had to sell my big dream house and was laid off all within a span of 16-months. Their unguarded expression or first words uttered give it away.
“I’m so sorry…
…you must be dying!”
…are you okay? How awful!”
…what’s it like?”
…You look so great though! What do you get to do now?”
No matter the reaction, my core answer is always the same. I’ve had to get to know myself all over again. Only when stripped bare, is it easy to recognize the labels I wore with pride. This blog devotes itself to it. I liked having to juggle everything. My “To Do” list gave me a sense of purpose. I liked being a married working mom considered capable with a dash of quirky crazy. If I’m not any of those things, who am I? When people ask me what I do, what will I say?
Out of habit, I gave myself new labels. Divorced. Single Mother. Alone. Poor. Unemployed.
Except who the hell wants to write about that?
WAIT – this isn’t the bloody Facebook Hit Parade. I can write whatever the hell I want to.
Except who the hell wants to be those things?
WAIT – I don’t have to wear those labels. Just because it’s a fact doesn’t mean it has to define me. I’ve never minded being alone and contrary to Jerry McGuire - being in a relationship doesn’t complete anyone. I won’t be unemployed forever. Though my god it feels like it.
So, I begin again.
Hi, my name is Aimee and I am a Labelholic. I’ve landed on this beach for my sobriety coin.
Mad Hatter Tips for Domestic Juggling
What worked this week…
Unemployment is a bit of a drag. A good way to stay out of depression is to keep a schedule. Set the alarm. Work out or walk the dog. Take a shower. Read articles about your industry. Read articles about changing industries. Read articles about freelancing. Make your lunch. Look for a job. Clean the house. Make Dinner.
Do not watch daytime television. Do not spend all day on Facebook. You’ll feel like crap.
If you are drinking wine with people in their late 20′s, be aware that you will have a hangover and they will not.