So excited about being able to scoop my hair into a ponytail. Small thing, sure. But it sure is nice.
A lifelong dream of mine was to wear my hair in a bun when I got “old.” I think I am probably that age now, though I don’t think of myself as old – it is all relative, isn’t it? When I left State employment in 2015, my hair was so short, the back of it was actually shaved! SHAVED!
2016 was my year of paying dues. Suffering in anticipation of some future pay day.
I had a job, the job was sheer torture in so many ways. I live about as far west as you can and still be considered in the Denver metro. The job was about as far east as can still be considered the Denver metro. The commute was a slog across the city. I tried going north, I tried going south. I tried going south and east on toll roads. In the end, I drove straight through the hell that is Denver traffic. Twice a day. Some days I spent over 3 hours in the car. It drove me CRAZY. I tried to accept it, I tried audio books, I tried praying. I even tried knitting while stopped – which was a lot. I tried public transportation. It just was no fun no matter what I did.
The days were spent in a small windowless office which felt like a coffin most of the time. I essentially had nothing to do. There were times I saved all my work for one day a week, and it still didn’t take all day. It might have been 4 hours of work per 40 hours. I had endless time with nothing to do. My boss was aware of this and assured me that it would change in time. I didn’t stay long enough for the change. I found the end of the internet. I had always thought it was endless. I never thought you could find the end of the rabbit hole… but I did. Every single day. I read every single thing that I could even be remotely in.
There were positives to the job.
- I worked with a great group of people. I liked them and they liked me. After the end of my State career, it was so refreshing to be with people who weren’t involved in palace intrigue, and strange dishonest strategies to destroy people and gain power. They were just nice, competent, intelligent, hard-working people. We all got along and had fun occasionally.
- I had time and space to grieve the loss of my sister. I spent hours and days in my office looking through every single e-mail, every photograph, and every text. I cried and cried and cried.
- There was a trail across the street from the office and I took a walk nearly every day.
- I got a paycheck every other Friday!!! In addition to my pension!!! I spent hours in my office budgeting and strategizing. I made all sorts of graphics of my debt and the progress towards eliminating it.
I just put my nose down and spent that year getting my life ready for retirement. Oh! And I grew my shaved hair out to the point where it actually goes in a pony tail now! Some day it will go in a bun! (then I will probably cut it off!)
Now I wake up in the morning and thank God I don’t have to go to work. I get up and go to an AA meeting and thank God that I am and have been sober. I get to go to Mass after that. The rest of the day is usually free for me to fill up as I please. I work out for a minimum of 70 minutes a day. Usually on the treadmill, because I am a freak of nature and actually LOVE the treadmill. As the weather turns to spring, I am sure I will head outside more – particularly if I am training for a tri! I knit – a lot.
I get to meet friends for lunches and dinners. When a sponsee wants to meet with me, I ask what time works for HER! And I can work around that. It turns out I have a lot more friends than I ever realized. I never had time for them before. It is so delightful to sit over a cup of coffee or a meal and not be in a hurry for any reason. When the folks at church ask me to do something (which is happening more and more), I say the magic word – YES.
I am so very grateful. I really never saw my life as paying dues for a later date – except last year. But it turns out it really was.
It is now payday. And I am loving it. Thank you God.