We've all seen these movies where there is this clock with red numbers and they change with painful rapidity while the characters move with excruciating slowness. Viewers across the country are on the edge of their seat, pulling their hair, shaking their fist, shrieking at the screen. "HURRY! HURRY! HURRY!" As if in answer to all those screaming fans, something inevitably happens that causes the clock to start ticking down faster. I know it is just a tool to build tension but it is still amusing.
And that is what this feels like waiting for my last day at work. Sitting here in my house each evening and looking at the calendar, the counter of the bomb, counting the days down until ... something eventful happens. Mentally, I'm screaming, "Hurry! Hurry! Hurry!" Unlike the plot device in the movie, time creeps along, defying me. Do I really want it to hurry?
I suppose in a way there are two countdown timers I'm watching. In terms of my health, peace of mind, relief.... it should be exciting. For weeks I've thought about what I'll have time to do now. I can write, sew, crochet, travel, spend time working on things in the house, get involved in some new ventures. One friend said NaNo this year should be awesome. Of course, there can be no monetary cost involved in anything I do. Which brings me to things I won't be doing, the other clock.
When I look at the dollars and cents, the disaster becomes epic. I can't get sick. Gone is that nice medical plan that kept me from bankruptcy. Gone is the income that kept my car running, my air conditioner running, the faucets from leaking, and repaired house damage. No hope of ever traveling more than 20 miles after September.
If all those things were so important, why did I walk away from the best economic situation I'll ever have? Because there is going to be a time when I can't do any of those things I love, even if I had the money. The chances are high that I won't be able to walk in the yard or anywhere. I won't be able to type an email, let alone write a story. I won't be able to use crochet hooks and already it is doubtful how much sewing I will be able to do with my neck problem. I don't travel now because of work. Working on the house, well, I've not been able to do that for a while.
So, why did I quit my job?
Pick up a salt shaker and hold it upside down about a foot from the table. Watch as the grains of salt pour out the holes and bounce away on the surface beneath. There is no neat pile of salt. It bounces in all directions and you'll be unable to get it back into the bottle, probably not even in a tidy pile. Time is pretty much like that. It pours out like raindrops or salt crystals, scattering all over the place, disappearing forever, irretrievable. An hour glass you just flip over and you've got another hour. Life is nothing like an hour glass. There are no extra hours or days or weeks. There is just now. And now is all you get.
I've spent a lot of time in the last five and a half years trying to find my life again, trying to regain a sense of who I am and what I'm doing here. Once I was whole person, with a purpose, and then I was a shattered vessel, fit for nothing. I kept working because I thought it was the only way to survive and survival was all I could think about. Just get through today. Just get through today. Just get through today. Every day for 2006 days that's been all I've said. Every day. Sitting on the side of my bed with pain, first grief and then sickness, twisting me in knots and all I could think about was getting though one more day. Just get through today. For 2006 days.
Can you imaging living just to get through the day? So, I quit my job because I can't get through today. After months of struggling with pain so terrible I began to pray that I would not pray to die, after months dealing with a management who denied me time off to get better, who continued to pile more and more on me despite my pleas for help I decided what mattered more than security.
I realized that somewhere buried beneath all of the rubble and shattered remains of my life is a battered body with a beating heart. Soon enough it won't be and if I continue doing what I've been doing, it will be sooner rather than later. I don't know when I decided that was what was really important. Maybe it was in the misdst of a meltdown when I used words I would never use anytime or anywhere. Maybe it was when I looked in the mirror and saw someone I didn't recognize because of the hollow look in her eyes. Maybe it was the day I could hardly walk from my bed to the bathroom. I don't know. I just know that one day in July I sat down and wrote my resignation and something shifted and I began to dig out of my collapsed life.
So, the clock is ticking. I have no idea what happens when it stops. I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter. There is already less debris between me and the blue sky. This is probably the first decision I've made in 2006 days that was done just because I chose to do it. That means something.