The paralyzing freedom of unemployment

Last night, my partner and I watched a new TV show together until 3am.

Even after that, I had trouble sleeping. After some stretching and meditation, I probably fell asleep around 3:45am.

I woke up for the first time this morning around 8:30, my face sweaty against the futon cover on the futon in our office, where I’d fallen asleep after meditating. I got up, moved to bed with my partner, and fell back asleep.

I woke briefly when my partner left, vaguely noting that I had a text with my mother and should call her. Then I slept for another hour before dragging myself out of bed to call my parents. After that call, I finally made coffee and showered and dressed, answered some emails, and otherwise started my day.

Not all my mornings since leaving my job have been this lazy. In the first week I was unemployed, there was a mad rush to get in various doctor’s appointments before my health insurance expired, and since then I’ve been deliberately scheduling coffee dates and coworking sessions to get myself up and moving.

But damn, there are a lot of hours in the day to fill when you don’t have a 9-to-5 or, in my case, a 11am-9pm, gig to keep you busy. And while at first this felt like a glorious luxury, after nearly two years of a 6-days-a-week, minimal vacation, high-intensity schedule… the honeymoon is now over. It’s now time to figure out, or remember, how to structure my days and ensure I get work done when I have very little in the way of hard commitments to scheduled events.

I’ve started getting clients for my tutoring business, of course, but as I’m still working on building up my client list and since the school year just started, it’s a slow build right now. I’m also working on getting started down the road to certification in Education Therapy, which would mean my super-tutor skills (going beyond just presenting the material to help students with learning differences, emotional issues, or other long-standing issues with academics learn more effectively) would be strengthened by further training and officially recognized. I also have a huge writing gig in the works that would be really exciting (I’d be writing a whole book!), but until I’ve signed the contract I’m afraid to count it as real.

My first ed therapy class (I’ll be taking them online, so I can continue working while working towards certification) will not start until early October, and as I said, tutoring is slow as of yet. So what work do I have to do? Figuring out my finances, writing an outline and sample chapter for said freelance gig, and writing content for my tutoring website, both for myself and to potentially attract students. That is actually a ton to keep me busy–I have a stack of books I’ve been meaning to read and mine for insights to use in my teaching, blog posts and self-promotional nonsense to write, and I have an outline and sample chapter to write in order to secure the writing gig. I also finally got around to starting an etsy store to fund my rather expensive ice/tie-dyeing hobby, so every few days there are orders to ship out, or new listings to make.

But aside from the slowly building trickle of private clients, there isn’t a whole hell of a lot on my calendar… which leads to slow mornings like today’s, because why jump out of bed when I have the whole day ahead of me?

I’ve lived this before–science grad school is, for the most part, a self-directed and self-scheduled endeavor–so I know how to manage. I need to build my own habits and routines to structure my days, plot out which tasks need to be completed when. I’ll get there, it’s just about putting in the work.




Thank you to everyone who commented on my last post to welcome me back. I never imagined anyone would still care about me writing here.

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