It was scary as hell but we ventured forth to Egypt for the last week. Since we are leaving Europe, why not make sure to get in that one special trip that you would regret not taking. I am so glad I booked a personal trip package with Ramassides – what a different culture! It was extremely pleasant having a private driver, personal assistant, and tour guide; plus it was absolutely necessary for those unacquainted with the Egyptian culture. It was blazing hot – note: do not travel during summer unless you absolutely have to do so & realize domestic air travel is a nightmare – but we did everything on our list with few revisions. We even had an entire morning poolside! We were able to forget about the coming move for a few days and reconnect with each other. We have always been better as a team but our current situation has the potential for disaster so I worry quite a bit. Personally, being in such a strange place where inner strength is a must for outer strength, allowed me to discard the “you are a terrible person” vision beat into my head this past school year and focus on the strong, capable, caring woman I truly am & who will be desperately needed in the next few months. I also came to terms with the fact that I am exhausted & don’t want to struggle making a life to please someone else. As the team’s ‘responsible adult’, I have to make sure I can continue to function or we are screwed. So priorities while the handsome hubbie takes his annual vacation: a job, a house, and feed my soul. Recentered, recharged, and ready to rumble 🙂
Whelp – I did it. I resigned from my job of 22 years. I took this job as a way to ensure our financial status as I retired at the earliest possible opportunity. [For this particular position, that means 20+ years in service and reaching age 57 1/2 while investing at full rates for all retirement accounts.] I have always told myself that if the time came to walk away, I would know and the message has been received loud and clear. This was never meant to be my forever place in life. There is supposed to be a third stage in the play too. I have always intended to return to the States, slow down, do something else for money, and enjoy life with family & friends as a retiree. However, I must admit that the plan also included having a house set up and my side gig fully operational before I made that leap. Hum…maybe the Powers That Be know I haven’t taken a good look at myself to know where I want to settle. I have changed so much since I left the South that I don’t believe I fit there anymore. So where do I fit? I love being near my family but there truly is such a thing as too close. So where is that magical geographical point? I have 6.5 years until I meet the minimum age required to draw full retirement benefits (which are safe until I apply for them & definitely sufficient for our needs) so what job do I want to do during that time? While this change is scary as all get out, this will be a good chance to readjust to life in the States, reconnect with family, get my side gig going, and take a good look at myself. A lot can happen in 7 years – wish me luck!
While we have made a step toward closing the issue at work, it is entering its 7th week now without a definitive end in site and the mental/emotional toll is starting to show despite my best efforts. While Mother Nature is coming gloriously alive, it is clear to me that I will not be able to experience rebirth until I am free from this place. My husband has finally seen first hand what had brought me to this point but he is just now working through the anger & grief. I try to include him in the decisions but he has a passive-aggressive streak you could see from space so more often than not it is just an exercise in frustration. Short of not taking this step, I don’t think there is truly any way to ensure he is ‘happy’ with the coming change. I am trying so hard to view things from his perspective but I have a hard time being understanding when his entire future livelihood and comfort depends on what I am earning. This is our life and always has been but it is still frustrating. Living here has given him prestige, a reason to be jobless for almost 20 years, and allowed us to live a relatively carefree lifestyle after our mortgage was paid. Here we are in the last six years of pre-retirement and life was looking pretty good to slide into a quiet, financially secure future. Now – bam! – most of that is changing. Therein lies the problem, I think. The next year will not be financially carefree even though my retirement will be secure; I will see to that. We will no longer be ‘visitors from overseas’ or ‘serving with the military’ so that prestige is gone. People will judge him because in their eyes there will be no longer be a reason for him to be without a job. I can see all of this but I cannot relate to any of it. I’ve worked hard to get us to this point but I can’t continue to be the responsible adult in this toxic environment. I honestly believe that I have been targeted and to stay would be foolhardy. My well-being does not depend on anyone else, it never has, and I can – and must – do this! I’m going to take this Spring Break to restore as much of my mental health as possible and get to decision making. It is going to be a rough 3 months.
I ripped off the band-aid and told my little family of my need to escape. Oh my God, the tears and fear as I spent three days repeatedly breaking the hearts of those I hold most dear. After the initial shock, my family has rallied around me and focused on how we move forward from here. During the last week it has been consistently clear that the Universe has cleverly lined this up for me – praise the Lord! – and the relief I feel at this moment is palpable. We have discovered that this move will allow me to directly help them move into their next chapters too. How often does one get the chance to make someone else’s dream come true? While our initial separation will be incredibly painful and the months between now and then bittersweet moments, it is exciting to know that we will continue to be a part of each other’s lives as each of us moves forward with the next exciting chapter. I will forever be a girl whose heart exists in two places but after 20 years away, I am ready to come home. There are so many options for what comes next and so many places I could screw up but I honestly believe Someone is looking out for me. Please continue to remember me to your higher power – this is really happening!
And the hits just keep coming! The times when I would give *anything* to not have to be the responsible adult for basically everything and to not be so far from family has been increasing over the last few years. Recently things have happened that make me want to say fuck it all and to let this all burn. I am most definitely not in a good place and I am not OK. I feel trapped, angry, and (honestly) scared and I can’t continue to take care of my little family as I am. I have to do something and whatever I decide is going to be hurtful for my little family whom I love more than life itself. But I wasn’t raised to be a quitter and we don’t back down when things get tough. So I reached out to my family and closest friends for help carrying this weight and finding an escape plan. Sometimes these treasured souls simply provide an ear while other times it is a shoulder – always ready to provide kleenex when needed. They make sure I am not alone while my husband is away, remind me to eat/sleep/take care of myself, and are always ready to talk it out while keeping it real. They love me enough to make sure I know when I am being less than a good human or a true ass without judging me. While I am constantly reassured of my worth and reminded of the folks not in this little circle that feel the same, it is hard to continue to view myself as a good person right now. I thought I had time but now I realize I have to be ready to move on at the end of this school year. The sun is shining today and chores at home caught up for a change. It is time to dust myself off, let go of the plan I had, and get to work on a more immediate escape plan. Please remember me to your higher power – this is going to be hard.
Still a dumpster fire at work – constantly feel like I am simply running from one thing to the next, struggling to include short notice actions in an already overflowing day, make all the changes being required, meet the very real needs of my students, and step up when my colleagues need help. Everyone at the local level is starting to show the strain of meeting demands that are coming down from above while continuing to keep ourselves together enough to provide students with a caring, routine, & safe environment where some learning might take place. Add to this the regular responsibilites of our personal lives and the stack of ‘to do’ seems to be never ending. I have always taken great pride in my ability to trust my memory and produce an expceptional product. Depressingly many things have fallen through the cracks lately and nothing meets my high standards any longer. I feel incrediblly lucky to be able to complete something acceptable by the deadline. I feel for my little family which gets less and less of my time, has to deal with my short-tempered self, and take on some of the tasks usually done by me. It is a stressor we really don’t need but such is life right now. I identify greatly with Baelish’s ladder … climb, climb, climb, dodge curveball, slip, regain footing, starting climbing again. I am grateful for a steady job, my continued health, the ability to function in chaos, and a comfortable life but I am tired.
Folks always say, “Things could be worse.” I get it and it is true for the first two weeks of 2022 but dagnabbit is it too much to ask for a bit of normal? Yes, yes, I know we have a ‘new normal’ but nothing is routine yet except the 3 Ws. I dearly long for the days when we can establish some form of routine life again, when I can walk out my door without having to consider which pandemic rules are in effect. And work? I can’t even. Bilbo said it best: “I feel like thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped across too much bread.” Maybe it was just dealing with the end of a grading period that came right after a long holiday and right as a wave of COVID started burning through our community but there is nothing OK about my job right now. Everyone is feeling the effects of the constant and continued uncertainty that COVID has brought to every part of life. I know scientific minds are hoping COVID responds as influenza did but 4 years seems like such a long time! What happens when people start to give up? What happens when we start only thinking of ourselves and not each other too? [Dr. MLK, Jr., I Have Been to the Mountaintop: “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them? That’s the question.”] What happens when even the strongest among us snap? Ack – sorry! This school year has simply brought too much change into my life and I am starting to crack a bit. I need to have an espresso, cuddle with my dog while reading for a bit, and then get back to the chores. Let’s see what the next two weeks bring.
I am so glad that we have the entire weekend to properly see in the new year! Plus we have some very suspicious spring-like weather again today so I am going to take a long walk. Snow is predicted again on Wednesday. We shall be having the traditional Southern ‘lucky’ meal of pork, greens, black-eyed peas, & cornbread at some point as well – maybe just us or maybe with friends. We enjoyed the local celebrations from our balcony until almost 0200 – plus a bottle of champagne – so we are a bit lethargic today. Wishing everyone a pleasant weekend as we prepare to head back to the non-holiday routines of life in 2022!