Now I am living from paycheck to paycheck. But, wait! I have a job. Yes, I am grateful that I am one of the working stiffs. But for how long? I am no longer the fast, multi-tasker I once was. With no new staff and many jumping ship because of the pressure, we are still required to provide as many services as before, if not more. The work keeps piling up.
I've never worked so hard for so little personal satisfaction. This is the 4th weekend in 7 that I've worked just to keep up. I was supposed to take time off - but I spent the half day on Friday working instead. I also worked on Saturday. Today is Easter and my new car wouldn't start. So instead of visiting family, I am all dressed up and home alone.
Given the terrible situation in Japan and the deaths in Syria, my troubles are paltry. But the truth is that I feel a constant tightness in my chest, I am eating for comfort and have gained weight, and I see no pleasure in my days off, since I spend them recovering my energy for the next week's onslaught. I am also deathly afraid of losing my job, for I know the chances of finding another one at my age with a good salary are slim to none.
How did I lose control of my life so quickly? Sometimes I think wistfully back on the days when I had a mate who would shoulder half the house and yard tasks, when I had someone to play and laugh with in bed, when life was hard work, yes, but also offered moments of leisure with friends, trips to the lake, and vacations to exotic places.
I've tried working just from 9 - 5:30. But that tactic put me farther and farther behind, to the point where I can catch up only if I work nights and weekends. I called a good friend this morning after my car wouldn't start and burst into tears. He didn't know what to say. I knew then that I had reached the end of my rope.
I'm going to try doing something I haven't done in a long time - and that is to chill out, read a book, and sit and do nothing but listen to the birds. Their spring voices are so lovely.
Besides, this is the only vacation I can grab. Does anyone else out there feeling stressed? What are some of your solutions?
Hint: If you are a single woman of a certain age, the best yearly investment is an AAA membership. This investment has reaped more benefits than I can count and has given me peace of mind. From flat tires, locked in keys, towing, and battery problems, Triple A has come to my rescue at least twice a year.
Image: The Scream @Wikimedia Commons