I graduated from Uni in the summer of 2012. It’s now February 2014. I do not have a job or a regular income. Does this worry me? No. Does this worry other people? It would seem so. And it’s that that bothers me.
I’m not going to go off into a rant of ‘My life’s my business! Not anyone else’s!’ because that’s pointless. And it’s not me. I am bothered by other people’s opinions; what they think of me, how they perceive me, whether they approve or not. When someone asks me whether I have job yet or what I work as, my heart drops at having to turn round and say ‘no’ or ‘nothing’. Last year part of that reason was because, yes, I was using things as an excuse. Why get a job when I’m not worried about money? If I can’t enjoy myself when I’m young when can I? Those sorts of things. So yes, I suppose I was slightly ashamed at admitting I wasn’t even LOOKING for a job. It made me seem lazy.
I had also got stuck in the rut of ‘nothing to do, so do nothing’. I had whole days where I could do whatever I wanted…dancing, sewing, scrapbooking, exploring, meeting friends…but I never did. I would spend all day deciding what to do, then not doing any of it because it got ‘too late to start anything now’. My Grandparents would say I shouldn’t be spending all day with them…helping them sort through their still unpacked belongings, chatting and listening to their stories. I should be going out and meeting people. Spending time with people my own age.
Coming up to Christmas I started to think of Resolutions. I decided to start early, and to start taking opportunities. Be more outgoing, and get out of that rut. I started going to see my friends more often, driving having given me that freedom. I got involved at the Attfield production despite not having an official job to do…mainly just to get out of the house. I needed a break. A break from what? From the monotony my life had become. I know it was my own doing, and that was the really difficult bit to explain when asked about a job. I began to think…’a New Year…a new me’.
Then my excuse became a reason. I had been saying that I was spending my time helping Mum look after my Grandparents. But really all I had been doing was going through boxes of ornaments they have nowhere to put. Or talking to them while someone else did everything. But, it was a better answer than ‘I’m not doing anything’. Then over Christmas things changed somewhat. A mixture of illness, new medications and change of routine has meant that actually my time at Atodiad is more structured, and necessary. Someone always has to be available…for medication every 4 hours…even just to make a cup of tea. Simple things that we take for granted. So OK, I’m not busy 24 hours a day. I don’t have an income. But I know when I’m not here it’s doubly hard on Mum. Things take twice as long. She gets stressed. It’s that support.
I’m not writing this for sympathy, or for help, or even for acceptance. I’m writing it because I’m fed up with having to justify my lack of employment. I don’t do what I do because I HAVE to…I WANT to. I want to support my family, and on the whole I enjoy it. Yes, Grandma can drive me round the bend…but then, whose Grandmother doesn’t occasionally?! Especially when they live so close. But we always have a giggle. Yes I complain about them, but I wouldn’t really change it. They have both done so much for me and Mum over the years. Surely it’s time to give something back?