As most of you know, I have been laid off from work for the last 5 ish months.
At first I was completely beside myself. What was I going to do with all this time? What will people think of me? Slacker?
I got a job working for my Dad at the age of 12 or 13 – (I can’t remember the exact age but close enough!). Ever since then I have been working. I have never taken seasons off and always been cautious of spending too much time for myself. So naturally, having all these empty days ahead of me I began to panic a bit. The first month went by horribly slow. I made sure to stay active and get out of the house but the days seemed treacherously long.
As ski season kicked into full swing, I found myself getting out more and actually feeling fulfilled at the end of the day. It has been a strange transition having time like this to play with; time that is truly mine.
In my early teenage years one of my brothers tragically passed away. I found I was forced to grow up quickly and always kept my mind busy. I didn’t spend much time alone or let myself be with just my thoughts. Life was much too jumbled at that point.
I didn’t realize how much I needed some “me” time until this lay off. How much I needed to work on my happiness and mind. As months past by, I began to find new things about myself – like how much I enjoy painting. I have never painted or thought seriously about doing something artistic like this before. And I can honestly say, it has changed me. I usually can’t sit still for very long – always ready to get outside or do some sort of adrenaline sport. Painting has calmed my mind and let me explore different parts of myself that I didn’t know existed.
I got a lot of questions from people and a bit of guilt here and there. Repeatedly asked questions of “when will you be getting your next contract?“, “are you going crazy yet?“, and my all time favourite: “you get to play all day well Justin pays the bills?“. To those questions I would simply answer: Hopefully soon but I am in no rush, no I am really happy, and no, Justin works the same as he always has and my EI covers what I usually contribute.
It has been funny watching peoples reactions. I didn’t realize how frowned upon unemployment could be for some folks. I do have an awesome job, however, it doesn’t last all year round. To be a Park Ranger I will sacrifice some normalcies for the job. Yea, contracts can only last for summer and fall but I love what I do. I honestly adore every part of my job and not a lot of people can say that.
Over the winter I have had lots of cool opportunities that I actually had energy and time to complete! Like being a guest for Destination British Columbia and sharing some of my awesome summer experiences: Blog.hellobc.com/throughthelensofabcparksranger! And being able to continue to be an ambassador and contribute to Finding Winter for Mountain Hardwear has been great! I picked up a few more contracts with companies and found lots of time to write and enjoy it again.
In the future, I will likely find some winter work. But for this season I wouldn’t have changed a thing. I surprised myself with how daring of a skier I can be (skied 75 days and counting), discovered how quiet my mind has become and found who Sarah really is.
And Mom, yes – You can say “I told you so”.
Tips for unemployment:
- Don’t sleep in. Find a routine and stick to it!
- Treat activities like work (not in a bad way but make yourself go!).
- Listen to beats like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GglFsVSpl-U
- Be social but not too social. Make sure to not become a hermit but also let yourself have some “me time”.
- ENJOY IT!