I have teased a few times that there have been some weird things going on in my world, things that have made me anxious, depressed, and a general mess for most of the fall.
The reason I couldn’t get into detail about why I've been so anxiety ridden lately is all Dooce's fault.
Actually, maybe I should thank her for being the first one to talk about work on her personal blog and get fired for it. Thereby becoming the example of how NOT to conduct oneself on the internet in relation to employment.
Paving the way and all that jazz.
Bloggers know that something you just don't do on a blog is talk about work.
So if it takes you a MONTH to finalize a new job (YEAH!), a job that you are so excited about (YIPPEE!), the catch is that you can't spend that month before you officially get the job that is riddled with "will I get it?" anxiety talking to your internet friends about how stressed you are. You can't tell them how much you want it, what a great step this would be, you can't open your heart and let them know that you've seen what direction you want to work towards again, or that you're terrified something will happen to make it slip away a second time.
Also, if your boyfriend is applying for a promotion, a promotion that could cause you to completely uproot your life and move to another city, and you maybe have known about this relocation possibility for months and months and months, the Dooce rule means that you also can't talk about your worries, fears, joy, terror, excitement in detail on your blog.
Pictures of my dog on the blog week, after week, after week.
When what I've actually wanted to come on this space and talk about EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. was how up in the air our lives were.
Crazy, hanging upside down by our ankles, flailing around all psychotic like, a mess of drama at the Ashley and Adam house.
For someone like Adam, this situation stresses him out for sure. But he deals with his stress in a stoic manner, and his FAVORITE line over the last couple months has been, "We will deal with it when it happens."
I on the other hand dealt with all this stress and "what ifs" by FREAKING THE FUCK OUT.
The facts as of today are that I have a new job and start December 6th. It is a job I love. A job with the same company that had to let me go two years ago when the economy turned business upside down. Even weirder? I will be starting my new and improved position with this company exactly two years and ONE DAY from the day when I was laid off.
But I’m excited. I’ll be working from home 4 days a week (SO THRILLED!) and commuting to Seattle one day a week (I CAN FINALLY SEE SOME OF MY FRIENDS MORE THAN ONCE EVERY TWO MONTHS!). See how wonderful this is?
Gee Ashley, why didn’t you tell us all the good news sooner?
Because of anxiety of course.
Let me give you a little back story into all the crazy.
Adam has a fantastic job at a very large company with offices all over the US. This company works in such a way that when you want to move up in the company (about every two to three years) you apply for jobs at another office, thereby becoming this nearly-nomadic-military-like-but-with-a-whole-lot-less-war-and-calisthenics, individual.
Being with Adam I resigned myself a long time ago to knowing that in these beginning stages of his career he’s going to move. Often. Soon he’ll find himself high enough in the company to manage regions instead of one location, and then all we need to do is live in the region, thereby stopping all this damn moving.
So this fall when people started talking about relocation options there were two very different locations that were brought to the table. I wont even mention what cities they were in because it no longer matters, he didn’t get the job.
Which is FINE. This happens. You apply for something, and even if people chatter for two months about how it’s a guarantee you’ll get it, that doesn’t make it so. Things happen, plans change, office politics come into play and it doesn’t end up being in the cards.
But the point is, my anxiety has crippled me for the last 2? 3? 4? months over the possibilities of MAYBE. Maybe it would be one city I was happy with, the easy option, or maybe it would be a city that might be a serious adjustment. Maybe my new job would be a simple process to keep if we moved to city A, or maybe it wouldn’t work in city B and I would have to move on to something else. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
It doesn’t matter which was easier though, because neither was set in stone. Neither options were a tangible reality, and yet my mind was already a mess. I had moments where I was an inconsolable blob of sobs just thinking about the POSSIBILITY of job hunting in one of these two cities. I had moments of complete and utter panic thinking that if we moved to option B I would have to give up my job. Even though he had yet to get a job in that city, I had yet to start my new job, and I had yet to have a conversation with my new job about if living in this fictional city would be an issue. These were all just options, nothing more, OPTIONS and not yet reality and I was already playing it all out as if I needed to move today.
I envisioned certain options which would force me to leave behind my new job. I envisioned options where we became landlords and got shitty tenants that destroyed our house and we couldn’t afford to fix it. I stressed about a hypothetical period of unemployment surrounding one relocation. I was frantic about finding a rental house in another fictional universe, and terrified that we might not find something in the neighborhood we wanted to live in for another string of maybes. The possibilities weighed on me daily, hourly even and sometimes it was hard to see anything other than doom everywhere I looked.
All before he had the job.
It has been a roller coaster of stress, tears, depression, anxiety, and more late night conversations surrounding ‘what if’ than I want to admit.
But in the end I continued to work through the anxiety, work on my skills, I got help in the form of medication, and I tried so hard to work on handling the anxiety better each time it took me to the WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE place it loves to go to.
Could I have handled this whole thing better?
But I did improve as the months went on.
If nothing else, I am happy it worked out the way it did. By Adam not getting the job our lives are staying exactly the same. In a way I think it is better to have nothing change, to have not even gotten my first choice city because I can stand here now, my life the same as it was a week ago, a month ago, same as last summer even and see that the anxiety over this process truly wasn’t needed. I can look back and see that all that anxiety forced me to feel as if I was living my life on borrowed time instead of enjoying myself as I should have. Hopefully the next time I find myself drowning in 'what if' I can remember this very realization and tell anxiety to take a chill pill.
There will be a move in our future. I can promise you this. Olympia will not be our forever home. It could be in two months, six months, or a year, but it will happen.
And the kicker is I can’t predict for the life of me where it will be.
Anxieties worst nightmare.
All I can do now is hope I can really remember these last few months and the realizations I’ve had surrounding what a waste all that worrying provided, and instead plan to tackle the next round of maybes in our future with a better outlook.
And stock up on wine.
LOTS and LOTS of wine.