When I have time to do anything, I can only do nothing.

December 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

I have a question for my fellow unemployed people out there. Do you dread waking up on the weekdays? Not in a “Gawd I wish I was dead” sort way, but a “Gawd I have to think of something to do today” dread. Because I get that all the time.

I never thought I would say this, but watching TV all day gets really old after a while. (Plus, I think I’ve watched all the good TV shows Netflix Instant has to offer.) Frankly, if it wasn’t for my bloggy activities, I would have gone nuts months ago.

But it’s not like I have nothing to do. Check out my desk:

I need exactly none of that clutter. I could clean it up. This is, unfortunately, indicative of the rest of my apartment. But…meh.

At first I thought it was just my sloth. But I don’t think so. Well, not completely to do with my sloth, anyway. I don’t feel like there is any purpose to it. It doesn’t give me a reason to get up in the morning. It seems so…pointless.

Have you seen this chart yet? I found it on The Daily.

I consider myself to fall squarely in the blue, but since I had a part-time research job until the end of August, I won’t technically hit the six month mark until January. But look at that. Strain in family relations. Lost contact with close friends. Lost some self-respect. I’m living this right now. The lethargy, the aimlessness. From my own experience, I would say this is 100% true. A companion piece to this chart puts it perfectly: Being chronically unemployed changes the way you see everything.

Research has confirmed what anyone who grew up with a Great Depression survivor long suspected: Prolonged periods of joblessness and economic insecurity can permanently change your outlook, and mostly not for the better.

My grandfather — who came of age on a farm just as prices were crashing, banks were failing and loans were coming due — used to hide large sums of money around the house. My grandmother once found $10,000 stuffed into a teapot she was about to donate to a rummage sale. Until I myself went through a multi-year spell of unemployment, this was a funny family story; now it’s, well, almost reasonable.

I will certainly never again wonder why the old ladies I grew up with hoarded rubber bands and tin foil in giant balls. If you’ve been through it, you probably don’t either: Losing a job and not being able to find another one makes you afraid in a way that never really leaves you.

I believe this. I can already feel myself changing. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel really secure in a job. Which I guess could be good; I’ll never take it for granted. But the stress that goes along with that insecurity is unbelievable. I would never wish that on anybody.

Keeping myself in a routine helps. Get up, watch the news, do a couple of French lessons, write some things. That helps. But there is always that nagging fear in the back of my mind that if one thing goes wrong – it doesn’t even have to be big – I’m completely screwed. I hate it, and I don’t think it’s ever going to go away.

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You are currently reading When I have time to do anything, I can only do nothing. at Sniping in the Gutters.

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