Bless My Heart, I’m On Vacation: Round Deux

Yes, I know, I already did this blog.

Or at least the title of it. See Bless My Heart, I’m on Vacation circa 2022. And, yes, I know I am on vacation, again. I mean, it has been nearly eight months since I took that vacation but … why are people so … concerned? Is that the right word? “Rude” feels too harsh and yet, well, I don’t know, tell me at the end. 

(Pardon me while I pull out my soapbox)

It’s me. Hi. I’m on vacation, it’s me.

One thing I don’t love in the world of the laid-off is how many random people feel that this is appropriate:

Me:Oh, I’m going on vacation in a few weeks/days” 

Random People:Yeah, but you’re like always on vacation now, right?” 

Me:Oh, I guess so, haha” and also, “No you effing moron, I lost my job.” 

Except I leave out the bits in bold because I am usually too flustered to correct those random people. 

I mean yes, I agree, minute by minute, I may be doing less work on the daily compared to those who still have jobs. “Still have jobs” basically excludes the entirety of my former company as it was decimated in the last round of Dell layoffs. Dell, the behemoth that acquired EMC2 a few years ago with promises of not changing a thing. Since the pandemic and its convenient gift of being able to blame workforce reductions on loss, Dell has gone a bit bananas, though with a not-so-subtle focus on we former EMC’ers. That’s not important though. 

I mean yes, it is important but my point is that maybe it’s unnecessary to make the leap to “you must have oodles of delightful free time right now.” 

When I got laid off, my company relieved me of my corporate duties. Period. My separation package did not include a personal assistant that would temporarily relieve me of my non-corporate duties such as grocery shopping, prepping meals, cleaning, chore distribution, prescription pickups, sports registrations, pushing the proper buttons on TaxAct, or a number of other daily duties. 

My company only relieved me of my corporate duties. There was no inclusion of a “… andjust sit back and relax until you’re ready to re-enter the workforce” clause. 

In our home, I am the preferred house manager. No need to start a cry for equality (this soapbox only holds one person, thank you). I typically don’t mind being the knowledge keeper of all the things that happen within our familial walls. There is an endless list of tasks that depend on my orbit. Tasks that have remained firmly in place and in need of me, regardless of my corporate status. 

Do I have more time to tend to those tasks? Somedays, yes. 

Somedays, I spend far too much time obsessing or worrying or calculating the cost of my lost income and misplaced identity to jump into a single task with any hope of success. 

Somedays, I stress about how my lack of financial participation will affect my husband and his need to take amazing care of his family. 

Somedays, I think about how when we return from vacation, I won’t receive a paycheck representative of my time off.  

Always on vacation?” 

I certainly don’t feel that way. Does anyone really? Is that even an accurate description for those who have successfully tagged out of the workforce and into retirement? Does anyone who has reached the finish line of necktie- or nylon-wearing days actually lounge lazily 24/7/365? Last I checked, even the retired have to-do lists. Maybe I’m being nitpicky, but if you still have to run your own vacuum, load your own dishwasher, move the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and cook your own meals then no, you are most certainly not “always on vacation.

I suppose this perception rankles me in much the same easy as “Oh, you’re just a housewife?” does.

Yes, thank you. Currently, yes. 

And while being a housewife (and mom) is actually the favorite of my jobs, it is still a job. On those days when each and everything I do is solely dedicated to our home life, I am absolutely exhausted by its end. Am I less exhausted than I was when I was working full-time? Actually, no. My new jobless status doesn’t give me the built-in bumpers that my old life did – the bumpers that I could use to slough off errands or sprucing up or lawncare because I had to get back to my desk. 

These days, the to-do list that lives in my head often multiplies itself to infinity before my first cup of coffee. I wake up with two or three things occupying my brain and, before I know it, two or three tasks become nine or twelve, or eighteen. Then, as the anxiety sets in, I find myself thinking “It’s okay. You can do it, You’ve got all the time in the world, right?” 

It’s as if I am trying to increase my value to an acceptable level that only I track. Again, no need to start a cry for equality. This only happens in my head. 

Am I on vacation all the time? No, not really. 

A trip? Yes, if you count this self-created guilt trip. 

I just wish I could figure out how to stop heeding the call to take it. 

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