Days and days

It’s been 531 days since I last worked in the career I love. 411 days since the event that to me marks the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its raining hard right now, with thunder and lightning, as I’m mentally preparing to head to work. Bracing myself. Giving myself a pep talk. I don’t love this work, not the way I loved the last one. But it’s work, it pays ok, and the people are mostly good to work with. I’m appreciated.

I’ve been a mood the last few days where the pep talk was necessary. I had a chance at getting back into the work I love, but it didn’t happen. Did I fuck up the interview? Is the other just more qualified? Move on.

the disappointment has been crushing. I’ve found myself wondering if the sacrifice of my brewing career in order to stay up here was warranted. I felt ripped off, denied, disappointed, disheartened, depressed.

Snap out of it, I tell myself.

This is not how I want to spend my days, moping and letting my mood suck the sunshine from my life.

Make the sacrifice worth it. Learn to play the ukulele. Work on the garden. Write in the green room. Go for long walks on the trails nearby. Take the long way home and see something new. Reconnect with your friends, who are also struggling.

Be present, here here rather than there. Yes, I could have found a job in my career if we were still in the city. But we’d have to be in the city.

It feels so final, one of the four or five breweries up here hiring someone else. It leaves me two or three places left. People keep saying it will happen, and everything happens for a reason. I have to resist the urge to throat punch them and have faith that they may be right.

And now, i will go put on my shoes and raincoat, and head to work. I will have a few laughs with my coworkers, and take enough Tylenol to stop my hands from hurting so much.

2021

The house is quiet. The coffee has the perfect amount of Bailey’s in it. The cats are watching the birds outside the window. Keith is in his office. And the sun is coming up in a clear sky.

It’s an auspicious beginning to the new year. I am warm and safe in our yellow house, surrounded by everything and everyoneI love. Well, not everyone. Family is still too far away, and friends are in lockdown. So it’s not perfect.

Current state

  • Still unemployed
  • have made 2 home brews and 1 large scale
  • but a lot less stressed out about it all
  • because, well COVID-19
  • And social distancing is like permission for introverts to be unapologetically themselves
  • everything is closed and could be for months
  • which sucks huge
  • am ok though, my EI is good until September.
  • completed some ongoing projects
  • have added more projects to the list (mending, sewing)
  • I am writing again!!!
  • technology lets me be close to people without being close to people.

It was fun while it lasted, but it’s over.

It’s been four weeks since… since what? I’m not even sure what to call this. The language for this life event seems inadequate.

I wasn’t fired, I was assured that it wasn’t me, I was doing a good job. I know this. Not laid off either as I’m sure there is no intention to hire me back, Let go? Don’t like that phrase, as it implies they where holding on in the first place. It seems a bit passive anyway. Employment terminated is very cold and clinical. There are joke-y terms: the old heaved-ho, the bums rush, given my walking papers. I don’t feel like joking right now. I’ve been saying FUNemployment but really, there is nothing fun about it. The one I especially dislike is “lost my job”.

I didn’t lose my job. I know exactly where it is. Someone else is doing it.

There was a word the CEO kept saying like it was an explanation as he walked me from the brew house to the room where the HR person waited: restructuring. I don’t much like that word either, but I guess it works better than anything else.

I am the victim of Side Launch’s restructuring.

No, I don’t know what it means. No, I wasn’t the only one let go that day. Yes, they made the other brewer, the head brewer, a victim of restructuring too. Yes, they gave me a good severance package, a generous one. Yes, I was assured it’s just business. And no, I don’t know anymore than that. Yes, I have theories, but they are just that; you can draw your own conclusions.

And no, I am not ok in general. I am sometimes ok-ish though.

It’s a pretty paradoxical time actually. I’ve been good. I’ve been not so good. I’ve been OK. I’ve been terrible. I understand that it’s just business. I wondered what I did wrong (nothing). I’ve been resentful af. I’ve felt resigned. I felt hopeful. I’ve been scared I will not find another job in my field. I’m confident I will. I feel strong and capable. I’ve felt ike I’m going to shatter into a million pieces. I want to stay active and busy, finding things to occupy my time – a part time job, volunteering, knitting, visiting. I also want to crawl under the covers and come out a few days later blotchy and tear-stained. I hope that the powers that be at Side Launch know what they’re doing and the company will be successful for the sake of my friends who still work there. But there’s a small dark part of my heart where the hope is that they founder and fail. I am grateful for my time there and would not trade the experience of the last two years for anything. I also kinda wish I’d taken the other job that was offered to me at the time. I’ve had people I barely know reach out and offer my sympathy and support. I’ve had close friends I love go radio silent (it’s ok; I don’t know what to say to me either). I want to use this time to reach out and connect with people. But I can’t seem to pick up the phone. I want to write because I know I will feel better if I do. Alas, even five minutes of free writing is a struggle. It’s taken me five tries to finish this bloody blog post.

There are three things I have been most grateful for over the last four weeks. First and foremost is Keith. He’s not a demonstrative man and needs to be reminded to hold me when I’m anxious, but he loves me and supports me. He reassures me we’re going to be fine, and proves it by being the same as he always is. He’s not letting me wallow, and is good with making tea and tea cookies and self care suggestions.

Second: I am very grateful for my communities. My beer network has been full of hugs and well wishes, suggestions and job leads. My friends and neighbours have been wonderful with texts and coffee visits and casual dinners filled with candlelight and laughter. Everyone has shit going on in their life, and I appreciate any time spent on helping me deal with this big shit in mine atm.

Lastly, I am grateful to my past self. I’d hate to think what the last four weeks would have looked like if I hadn’t made a commitment last March to look after my mental health. I am not ashamed to say that I have seen a psychiatrist this year, and as a result take citalopram to dial back the panic, the anxiety and anger to liveable levels. I can feel the anxiety now, every waking moment, especially at night when the over-thinking makes sleep hard to find. But I can keep a lid on it.

And that’s not nothing, as a friend would say.


Let me preface this part by saying I’m not a huuuuge believer in the tarot. I think it gets it wrong as much as right, and some spend a lot of thought into shoehorning the wrong readings into their situation. But I like the symbolism of the cards, and feel that often you can pull something relevant for yourself, even if it’s only inspiration for some fiction free writing. I just got a deck I quite like, the Modern Witch Tarot, which is the old Rider-Waite deck with a female-centric modern twist.

I was shuffling and breaking in the new deck on the second or third sleepless night, thinking about my new employment status when this card flipped over:

Everything is Fine

It seemed so apropos for the moment, I had to laugh.

It’s now three+weeks past that, and I’ve been in a bit of daze. I’ve been productive, but also vague and distant and feeling not-quite-here. The anger has faded somewhat, and left a heaviness, a depression in it’s place. I don’t like this stage, and woke up feeling like it’s time to get active and work on getting past it. To all those who are now saying, don’t rush it, feel the feels, I say sshhhhh. I want to see the small delights again.

I pulled a card today for shits and giggles. Again, it seems to fit the moment.

Excelsior, my dad would say, onward and upward.

well, that worked about as expected

A post a day for a month. Who was I kidding?

It quickly went from a good idea into today-nothing-happened-maybe-tomorrow.

To start, some small things. I’m laying in the hammock in the back yard. It’s a bit like being by a campfire: my front is warm where the sun hits my black hoodie, my back is cold where the wind chills me through the thin hammock fabric. Add in the smell of woodsmoke from Mike’s place, and it’s kinda nice. My fingers smell like concord grape – I touched my marijuana plant and the stickiness of the resin first smelled dank and dark as I expected, but it’s changing to grape, and now a bit chocolate-y. I need to talk to Mike about drying it for me.

Breakfast today was a hot chocolate and three spiced date cookies from the Kimberley General Store.T he loaf of sourdough I bought was still warm. I went to my swimming spot and sat on my camp chair and watched golden leaves fall into the river with every freshening of the breeze, helped milkweed seeds float away on their fluff, opened my notebook and wrote maybe 8 words. I gave it up in favour of enjoying the sunshine and the beauty spread out before me.

Day 6 & 7

I didn’t last a week. (insert image of me shrugging) Whatever. I make the challenge, and I can bend it or break it however I want. I am long past the point where I can be bothered to feel guilt for failing a self-imposed deadline.

Call it self- care. Call it laziness. Call it coming to grips with how my mind works. It truly doesn’t matter.

Friday was a long and almost difficult day. I bailed on the Wellington Cask Fest because once all was said and done, it seemed too far to go to hang around by myself. Better to come home and be with Keith and the cats.

Today was the pleasant normality of shopping, cooking, canning and baking. It has not escaped me how much I enjoy and am deeply satisfied by the activities that I mocked so thoroughly for so long.

Middle age is finding out just how wrong you were about everything.

Things I did not do

The other day, I wrote a long, loooong list of things I can do when I get home instead of reaching for the iPad or phone and plopping my aching body on the couch. Things like

  • write in my journal
  • write a letter
  • knit
  • work on some sewing
  • read a book
  • plan the garden

You get the drift.

And if you know me at all, you’ll know that I’ve done exactly zero of those things in favour of reaching for technology and plopping my sore self on the couch.

I really need to keep working on getting my shit together.