Leslie: Are you making room for grief?
Aaron: I don’t have to. Grief makes its own room.
I’ve published this conversation before, but it seems especially apt now. For reasons I promised to keep confidential, I have left Decision Software. But what I will say is that they are an amazing company and it was a very amicable parting. They were kinder than any company I’ve ever worked for, going above and beyond what they needed to do to make my separation easier. Of course, if you are close to me and want the real story, I will tell it. But there’s not really much more to it than that. I think the reason they went above and beyond is that I was good for them and vice versa.
It was actually very nice that I could leave for Houston at a moment’s notice because I actually left the week before my mother died, so I could have stayed a lot longer than I actually did. I just didn’t tell anyone until now because telling people that my mother died was hard enough without being unemployed on top of it. The difference is that I made so much money while I was at DSI that I don’t have to worry about finding a job right away. I have four months’ worth of living expenses saved up, which will give me plenty of time to find a new job, because my rent and bills total $795 flat.
I didn’t buy a car, I didn’t move out into my own place, I didn’t blow any money on anything, which has totally worked in my favor. Even though he is a conservative Christian, I listen to the Dave Ramsey podcast like a fiend, and his words about an emergency fund stuck in my head. I felt that because I was single, there was no better time in my life to get my financial house in order… because now, my main goal in life is just to be happy, and any job will keep me from losing that four months of savings. If I wanted to reduce it to three months for another professional certification, I just might. We shall see what we shall see.
Alternatively, I can’t afford to go without a job altogether, but I have enough money and my bills are low enough to work part-time so that when school starts in January, I can be there…. and that may be the best response to grief I could have…. to stop doing what I need to do to make money and start doing the things I need to do to make money later on. There would be no better tribute to my mother than to walk across the stage and get my diploma after playing catch-up all these years.
I am so lucky that I have so much work experience not to need a degree for most computer jobs, because many, many people have taken the same route I have… using the phrase on the job description that says “degree or equivalent work experience.” I have 20 years’ worth of helping people solve their computer problems, and it truly works in my favor. Right now I am signed up with two different freelancing services, one called Thumbtack and one called Outsource. Thumbtack is for computer support. Outsource is for writing- all kinds, even blog entries. It’s a shame I’m not good at either one of those things…….
The best thing about freelancing is making my own schedule, and being able to work from home. The worst thing about freelancing is working from home. Anyone who works from home will tell you that it’s a blessing and a curse.
I also have a head hunter that’s been sending me possible jobs every day, and that part is nice, too. My resume is all over the place, except for positions that require relocation. It’s just not going to happen. I don’t want to move again, and DC is my favorite place on earth. I will never move if I can help it, for a multitude of reasons.
The only thing that really bugged the shit out of me the other night was that I parked for about two or two and a half hours in Adams Morgan and it was $20.00. Note to self: TAKE THE METRO. I have $20.00, but not for that. Perhaps I should go back to the parking garage and see if I was overcharged, or whether it was the time of night I was asking to park. I don’t mind paying the money if it was truly owed, but if their automatic system was wonky, that’s different.
I’m not worried, though, because my entire bill at Madam’s Organ was only $9.00, and that was including the tip. Apparently, they do not give free refills. 😛
When I got home, I slept through the night and all day Thursday. It’s my reaction to grief, to get away from it and dwell in my dreams. My mother and my friends visit me and we talk a lot. It’s not about being sleepy. It is escaping the weight of the world, and I feel much better today. I was up by 0600, as per my usual. I just didn’t start writing right away as I normally do. I just had no idea what to say. What is there to say except “my mother just died and that fact is with me every day, all day, and there’s really not another story to write?” Probably why I decided to reveal I don’t have a job. I wanted to write about something else besides death.
Although losing this job was a kind of death, twofold in its loss. The first is that I really miss the people. The second is that I don’t have a place to go every day. Well, actually, I do. Coffeehouses are my office outside my office. I use Starbucks the most often because I save the most money that way. In using Starbucks, I get free refills on coffee and tea, and I gather stars quickly for free drinks, especially if I order beforehand on the app.
The gift card my mother gave me still has over $12.00 on it, and I still haven’t spent it… ditto for the IHOP gift certificate. It’s like once they’re gone, so is she. I did take her out of my phone, because I couldn’t bear to look at her picture and her phone number every day. However, I haven’t erased her Netflix profile. I kind of want to know what she was watching when she died, which was a lot due to her broken foot.
The interesting thing is that I know she’d WANT me to have coffee and double blueberry pancakes…. just another thing where I cannot even. The key card for my hotel room where we stayed the night before her funeral is still in my wallet, and I doubt I’ll ever take it out.
And here I am, writing about death again, when all I really wanted to do was write about life.