With no job in sight and Burning Man receding in the background, I knew it would come slinking by eventually: depression. I’ve inherited from my parents the manic need to stay busy, both a boon that motivates and a curse that torments relaxation. With the apartment sorted and unemployment paperwork filed (like enrolling in health insurance I’ll never use), I’m both flustered and sad. What the fuck am I supposed to do with all this time?
Working stiffs may envy my free time, cushioned by a small amount of dwindling savings, yet I’m paralyzed. My life has been shaped principally by career, and not by residence or relationships. No career now means I’m a nobody. At cocktail parties, I still state that I’m still working for the employer that laid me off in May. “Between jobs” implies moral and fiscal defectiveness.
I’d like to travel, but I don’t want to spend a lot of cash on flights. Furthermore, I don’t want to go off alone. Stephanie offers her car for a solo camping trip. I’d like to have a difficult vision quest alone in the stark outback of Arizona and Utah.
I can’t figure out what to do closer to home, I’ve already spent decades seeing the tourist sites here. I plucked off the Cartoon Museum last week: uninspiring. I could hang out some more with Stephanie and Ruben, but hanging out seems a cowardly way to hide from the pressing reality of unemployment. Plus, it’s expensive
So I thrash around in my little apartment. Weekends are hard because I ought to be social when I don’t want to be. Weekdays are hard with their unending alone time. As I cook all my meals, I hunker down between tactical forays for provisions.
I spent the early part of the week building a giant LED Snowflake in my living room. I’m grateful for the task, but wonder: is this what I’m supposed to be doing? At least I am answering the age-old question of “what would you do if time and money were not a consideration?” Build Snowflakes. It’s fun. It’s embarrassing.
Stephanie and friends try to pull me out of my hole. I resist, partially because I’m not feeling so good about myself but also because social events in the past were the corresponding antidote to the work environment. With the taking away of work, I don’t feel the easy urge to be social.
Jokes aside, this thrashing is what I need now, possibly for months. I’ll hit a wall eventually whose scaling will spur me to find work and pick up a career again. I’m not there yet. I haven’t even updated my LinkedIn profile. Recruiters and possible employers, I still have three more Snowflakes to build.