Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A mild case of purse panic

I am referring to the phenomenon that occurs when you are, say, at a restaurant or on a catamaran, and you suddenly think, "Where's my bag?!" then remember you didn't bring one.  I have seen mothers have purse panic for their children when they have left them with a sitter.

Something feels ... "off" when you lug around a giant bag  (or a 7 year-old) then for one reason or another leave it behind one day.  Or maybe someone took it from you with your badge and laptop tether.   (just for example)

The first couple of days off that tether did feel like days off.  I had too much paperwork and too many phone calls to make to think about unfinished business on the job.  But the start of this first week brought a recurring series of "Oh I forgot to/still have to/need to..." moments of purse panic that would launch my heart into my throat until I remembered that however much I meant to see to those things, they are no longer my things to see to.  I don't even know whose things they turned out to be.  And I certainly don't know how (or whether) they got done.

I'd like to get all self-righteous here and say I don't much care, but that wouldn't be true.  I am letting them go, and in just a few more days I won't remember what they were.  There will only be phantom echoes of meeting minutes that aren't being attended to, spreadsheets that aren't being updated.  Itches I can't scratch.  But in the meantime, I wander around looking for a way to be of use, herding tennis balls and re-arranging lists of things to do.

Like an old soldier, I will eventually go back to sleeping under the covers when I no longer have to worry about incoming artillery.  I will be able to do one thing for more than 45 minutes, when I now feel like ought to turn to some other project I am neglecting.  I will lose the urge to write down how I just spent the past quarter hour.  I will stop thinking in spreadsheets.  maybe. 

Where I directed my energy this past week.

Unemployed Workoholic's Week in Review
Supervised the toilet installation
Got into the unemployment system
Figured out monthly cash flow in/out
Milked the last of the insurance coverage
Relaunch work on the Business Finishing School 
Talking to you

And thank you all for that.

On the upside, you would be amazed at what this has done for my blood pressure.


  1. As someone who recently stepped out of the work world for the summer (albeit recuperating and caring for an infant) I can say that you're definitely in danger of remembering that there is much more to life than spreadsheets and meeting minutes. If you get too used to it, you'll have trouble going back, so do yourself a favor and take minutes. Consider this an action item request. I expect a status updte by next friday.

  2. You will also find yourself having those purse moments for months. I think it's part of the grieving process. I know, it may not have been the best job in the world, but it was still a part of you that is now gone, and which you will grieve - whether or not you really want to! But life tends to expand to fill the void - much like clutter, but the good kind. Good luck. This may be one of those time when all sorts of new opportunities present themselves. You just need to be open to see or hear them.


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