A New Chapter

My husband lost his job last week.

We were a one-income family and now we’re a no-income family.

I don’t even know what to write.

I am experiencing great relief and deep panic, all at the same time.

It was once a good job.  And then it wasn’t.

He liked it.  And then he didn’t.

It was comfortable.  And then it was prickly and painful.

It is a great relief to have him home, away from there.  Away from them.

But the future is completely freaking me out.  Not so much because I don’t know what it holds, but because I do.

We have to make money.  Fast.

I haven’t been in the workforce since my son was born, over ten years ago.

That’s not what we anticipated.  It’s not what we planned.  It’s what we did for our very different kid.

I stayed home.  I gained some weight.  I learned how to be a fierce advocate for my son.  And I lost my professional skill set.

You think technology evolves too quickly when you’re right in it.  Try looking the other way for a decade – you won’t even recognize it when you turn back.  I am scared.  And old.

I have also watched my wardrobe transform from business casual to “is-that-stain-somewhere-that-I-can-cover-it-with-a-sweat-jacket-while-I-drive-my-kid-to-school?”

Who will hire me?

I can edit like nobody’s business.  I can write, sort of.  But what about all of those other things people do at jobs these days?

I can learn anything.  I know this.  I am smarter than average, I have a BA, and I work well under pressure.

Will anyone care about that when they see a ten-year gap on my resume?

I can’t type without looking at the keys and I am not bilingual.  Well, I do understand a lot of Spanish.  But I answer it with English.

Where will that get me?

Husband thinks I would be a great office manager.  Anybody know an office that needs some managing?

A friend suggested I ramp up my crafting and sell some things on etsy.  I’d like to, and I will, but that’s not going to pay my mortgage.  The Office Manager job won’t do that either.  In the prime of my employment, I was earning less than half of what my husband has been making this year.

I used to work in Human Resources.  Considering our current circumstances, I can’t rule out doing that again, but I felt dirtier in HR than I did as a hotel maid, years ago, cleaning toilets all day.

I am nervous.  If it were just me and my husband, I wouldn’t be.  We can roll with the punches and adjust along the way.  Alone, the two of us would have a ton of flexibility.

But we have an autistic child in the equation.  Our son needs a schedule and a stable home with room for Legos and stuffed animals.  He needs fair warning about things and he needs routine and familiar surroundings.

Yes, I am nervous.

Unfortunately, we may be have to sell our house.  If we can’t find employment, or some other way to keep from depleting every penny of our savings, then we will have to go.

As scary as it is to think of that, we’re going to downsize like there’s no tomorrow under this roof.

Most of my cookbooks are going.  Dressers and chairs and side tables are going.  Old clothes, extra blankets, and toys are going.  Husband’s old band equipment is going.  Big plastic bins of baby clothes are going.  Fabric is going.  Kitchen crap is going.  Two little bikes are going.  CDs, DVDs, magazines and a file cabinet are going.  Maybe even one big, hard-to-manage Christmas tree is going.  And absolutely anything we have been oppressed by, is going.

We have resolved to clear things out – donate, sell, give to friends.  I am calmed by this decision.  I have never before felt so completely, psychologically freed of any commitment to my stuff.

That is one good thing to come from our new reality.

I hope there are other good things on the way.  We are ready for them.  We really are.

♥♥