Where has Smokey been?

The short answer: working.

I've been working my ass off at this new job. Normally, I get off around 5 pm so I can go home. However, there have been a few days where I end up staying late. Sometimes, it's only a half hour, which isn't bad. Sometimes it runs later, like until 6 pm. And on the rare occasion, I end up not being able to get away until 7 pm. That SUPER sucks. Especially since my commute, when traffic is cooperative, is at least half an hour. That can go as high as an hour or more if traffic really wants to get nasty. That means I'm spending so much time at work, heading to work, or heading home from work.

It sucks. I wish I had more time to myself so I could recover mentally and maybe get some writing done. I haven't written really anything in the last month or so because of all of this, and it's been wearing on me. I've mentioned on Patreon that I may have to put the campaign on pause since I've not posted anything in weeks. I don't want to just take money for nothing. It doesn't help that I was burning out leading up to the job.

I haven't even wanted to go back and perform maintenance (replace cover images with new pictures, proof older work, publish material that's just been sitting there doing nothing). I just come home and want to sit on the couch and watch youtube. I hate this. I did it a lot back when I was working at the bad place, and I really don't want to fall back into this pattern long-term. I need to get some kind of schedule and habit... but doing anything about that right now seems pointless.

I plan on moving at some point within the next couple of months. I had planned on doing this like two weeks ago, but that didn't happen because the car decided to suck money out of me, and will continue to for a while yet. I want to be able to pay for that, then make the move to an apartment, get settled in, and that's when I would work on setting up a pattern of behavior. Living less than 5 minutes from where I work would destroy the soul-sucking commute. A smaller living space would be easier to maintain. Not having my parents coming and staying with me would remove significant stress.

But... there's another dynamic to this that's got me jittery.

In the span of two weeks, as many people were fired from my job. One of them was the young lady who sat right next to me. She left this past Thursday and it was incredibly sudden. Both of these terminations have made me incredibly nervous, thinking I could be let go at any moment. While the bad place was absolutely awful, it at least had a system that gave you some sense of job security, like you couldn't just be cast out at a moment's notice with no warning whatsoever. Here, it kind of feels like I'm on shifting sand. And that makes me hesitant to move out of the house owned by my parents and into an apartment that is entirely mine. It wouldn't take much for me to end up utterly screwed.

So yeah... that's what I've been dealing with.

I've traded one type of anxiety for a whole slew of other types. Only now, I don't have the free time to write or read or play video games. Yeah, that's something else: this job doesn't let me use my phone at all while I'm in the office (except in the break room while eating lunch). I can't listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks while I work. I feel like I live only to do this job and that is just awful. I need a better work-life balance. And in order to get that balance, I need to move closer. And to move closer, I need to take the chance that I could fuck myself over if I get fired.

If I was making another 20% on top of what I earned at work, I'd be able to put more away into savings. I'd be able to establish a bigger safety net. That would make me feel less anxious because I'd be able to cover my expenses for longer while trying to find another job. And given that it's so hard for me to find a job (it took a year and a half to get this one) I would need to give myself as much run-up time as possible. That and I need to make my cost of living as affordable as possible.

Now you know what I've been up to. It's not just laziness (though that's part of it), it's a complex, interconnected series of thoughts and conditions that I can't really do anything about right this second. I'm spinning my wheels going nowhere, unable to do anything right this second and all I can do is wait patiently while I build up my coffers to cover car maintenance, moving expenses, rent, and other related things.

Now if you'll excuse me, episode 2 of The Mandalorian is available and I gotta get me my Star Wars fix. ...DAMN YOU DISNEY...