11 July 2009

Back to Life, Back to Reality

It's been a strange 7 months. To be completely honest, I feel like they've flown by, even when I did feel like I was slowly losing my grip. I've been stir-crazy, enough to jump at any chance even to make a trip to the grocery store, and now, I have an honest to God job and it's a little frightening.

Take away the fact that I have to drive almost an hour to get to the office. I once managed to sit through 4 hours of standstill traffic (because a semi driver forgot that houses don't exactly fit underneath bridges) and not snap, but that was because I made the best of it. I talked to the other stranded motorists and even helped a guy whose car had died in the middle of the fun-filled, 95-degree day. Dare I say it, I even had a little bit of fun. Granted, I was riding on the high of an excellent interview (from which I got the aforementioned job), so I'm not sure how much credit to give myself. So I know I can handle the commute, at least in terms of actually driving it.

Now, the waking up at the ass crack of dawn may be a little more daunting. I'm not really too much of a morning person, but once I'm up, I'm up. I may be quietly, secretly-planning-my-revenge-on-the-bastard-that-made-me-get-up-this-early awake, but I'm functioning. What really chaps my ass, though, is that I can't stay up until 2 a.m. Well, I suppose I could, but that would mean all sorts of craziness. I tend to get loopy when I don't have enough sleep. Oh, and everything is funny to me at that point, and I don't think that laughing in someone's face at my desk in very professional, considering he or she is probably there to request some type of monetary benefits.

Forget that I have to live in Cookeville, TN, for 2 - 3 months for training. It's like summer camp, only the state will pay for my room charges. And I'm not required to go to big bonfires, although that does sound like a big heap of fun right now.

If you can overlook all of that, you'd think my trepidation of reentering the workforce is unwarranted. But let me remind you: I've essentially been a hermit since December. (Even if you have the time to socialize and attend events, you're kind of limited when you don't have steady income, especially when you require some type of fuel to get from point a to point b. Plus, you start to feel like a mooch when people offer to pay for you. Yes, I appreciate the thought, but it's kind of embarrassing.) I don't believe I've lost my interpersonal skills, as shown by my ability to talk to people I met about 15 years ago at my paternal family reunion last weekend. And I am excited. Cheerleader excited, actually. I did a little dance in the elevator when I found out that I had gotten the job, and I even got a little old man to join in on the fun. But I'm also a little nervous about how everything is going to go.

As my first day gets closer and closer, the knot kind of tightens. I mean, it's not there all the time, ready to pounce like an over-eager panic attack, but when I think about actually getting out "there" again, it makes its presence known in a big way.

It's all about "the fear." There's a sort of repugnance about losing the lack of responsibility of youth, and a certain reluctance to become an adult always rears its ugly head. We equate adult with boring. People sometimes marvel at those who manage to never grow up; I know I do. Then again, they annoy me most of the time because they usually give no consideration to the consequences of their actions, on themselves or on others. But there is a fascination that I won't deny. The 58 year old man who just quits his job and moves Africa; the 49 year old woman who still lives in her parents' house, complete with her old high school room and its dated decorations; the 83 year old man with a twinkle in his eye and a slap on the ass for his young nurse; the 25 year old mother of two who still parties like she did in college. Do they just not give a damn? Afraid to get old, perhaps?

I have spent the last few years basically bouncing around. I'm a notorious anti-planner, with flights of fancy (ex. buying a motorcycle on a whim - seriously??) and a lack of organization.* My mom calls me a free spirit, and while it does describe me fairly well, I'm thinking she's just being nice, since she is the queen of FILE IT NOW! I kept on going back to school because that was where I was comfortable, where I had some sense of control. And I finally realized that a few weeks ago. So here I am, poised atop this ledge, and all I can think is, "When can I grow up?" Not in the sense of losing my playfulness and love of life and new experiences. But to be totally self-sufficient. To be strong and capable.

And that's what I think I am nervous about. This job is a first step, and they say that is the hardest one, whoever "they" are. It would be easier to rely on my parents, sure, but it's not really that fulfilling. And they're not going to be here forever, so I'd have to pick up the mantle eventually. But now, it's my decision to move on.

And with that, I leave you with the remix:

* And this is where it's weird. At work, I'm an anal retentive bitch. I use stickie notes like nobody's business, and I immediately file things. When I'm writing my stories, I have little folders for each character, location, etc., full of pictures and ideas. And yet, everywhere else, I'm an organizational screw up.

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