So I’m mentally lining up those personal projects I haven’t been attending to well enough. And I think: finally, time to clear those away! Part of me is beginning to look forward to at least a brief break from the job. People in other countries routinely get three or four weeks of vacation, don’t they? When I’m employed I tend to take “vacationlets,” rarely more than three days off at once. A bigger chunk of time might be a fine thing. And I wonder: hey, could I take a few days to drive along the coast like I’ve written I wanted to do? If I was really conservative, and if I get unemployment benefits and figure out how far they’ll let me stretch things…
Then I look at my finances and I think: how the heck do I think I’m going to be able to coast a few months without pushing things on that? I don’t need to be thinking about vacations, I need to be thinking about ramen. I go back and stare nervously at my Excel spreadsheets, but they don’t feel very convincing. I talk to friends who have cash reserves five or six times the size of mine and look back and try to figure out just where it is I went wrong with my planning. Hitting just a five-digit figure in savings some time would be an accomplishment.
On job boards, I alternate between hey, this isn’t going to be so tough and everything either wants experience I don’t have or requires a degree. (And generally a specific degree, not the general humanities one I’d have ended up with.) This morning I was feeling irrationally cheerful about my future. Right now I’m feeling irrationally downbeat.
Were I able to quantify my emotional state and plot it out, though, I think the moving average over the last few days would be creeping toward the positive side. I’ve applied for another job, have some others to think on, haven’t yet looked at a couple job boards I intend to get to. I don’t have a strategy, per se, but maybe I’m moseying toward one.
I’m strongly considering a self-imposed blackout on news for a while, though. This’ll be tough—my home page is historically My Yahoo!, carrying AP and AFP wires; I’ve become a NewsGator junkie for reading various weblogs (my “blogroll” is exposed on my home page) and I can see a high potential for NewsVine; I listen to NPR more often than not on my drives into and out of work. Why would I do this crazy thing, then? Because it’s too easy for me to get stuck in a mental loop thinking about current events and politics, to spend all my time sitting around reloading news web sites. There are enough things to become nasty and bitter about without seeking them out. I’m sure I’ll return to browsing those sites (I’ve even thought about trying my hand at writing a blog “column” on one, although just for my own amusement), but I suspect I’ll be in a better head-space if I do some mental decluttering for a few weeks.