Breakfast musings #1: on change and unemployment

June 6, 2014

Friday morning. If it were up to me, I'd be grunting, refusing to peel myself off the bed so I could get to work. Then I'd remember that it's Friday, already the end of the work week and then I'd tell myself, "it's just one more day!," get off the bed, shower, put on my face, and trudge to the office, albeit unwillingly.

But then it isn't up to me. Well, at least not entirely. So here is what happens.

Friday morning. I'm at the Starbucks right across our apartment complex, slowly eating my sandwich while reading a new book. I sip my mocha. I pause. And I think to myself, isn't this quite nice? It IS nice. Even better than the previous if-it-were-up-to-me scenario. But the thing is, now I don't have a job.

My world was rocked a few weeks ago when the company that bought our company could not hire me because of visa problems. To make a long story short, I cannot get a job here in the US anymore because I do not have a valid working visa because my degree (from that goddamn school) is not accredited here. I do not have a job, not because I'm incompetent or bad at being a software engineer, but simply because I do not have the right visa. In fact, I can go back to the Philippines, get a nice-paying job and vacation somewhere every other weekend. But I chose to stay here in the US.

People close to me expressed varying reactions at my unemployed state. Confusion, surprise, bewilderment, understanding, support, pressure, pity. I hate that last one the most - adding salt to the wound, non?

Truth is, never had I seen myself a housewife. In my mind, I cannot, and I mean, not ever be a housewife. I wanted (and still want) to be a successful professional, proficient in her field, making the world a better place. Now, I'm someone I never ever wanted or even thought I would be - a housewife. (disclaimer: I have nothing against housewives, I just have a different dream) I will not sugarcoat, I hate it sometimes, especially when I see something I want to purchase, when, on my birthday, I wanted to vacation somewhere nice and relaxing, when I remember that I'm supposed to be sending my sister to med school, when I feel like I'm not doing anything significant for the betterment of mankind.

Obviously, it's a struggle financially. I had been financially independent for the past 6 years or so. I earned enough for my needs and then some for small luxuries. It is difficult coming to terms with the fact that now, I don't have a few extra bucks to spend on whatever, whenever. Case in point: yesterday, I saw a camera online that I wanted to buy. I thought, if W had just been able to hire me, I wouldn't be pining over it. I would've already asked M if he could drive me to Best Buy this weekend so I could get it. But then... Reality check. There are a lot of what-ifs and I am still struggling trying to adjust to this "new" life. At best, this has been a humbling experience.

As I said, I hate it sometimes. Keyword - sometimes. I actually enjoy being on "sabbatical" most of the time (that's what I call it - a sabbatical). I get to do what I really like to do - yoga and baking. M so generously allows me to do whatever I want to do (and also buy what I want sometimes, hehe) with no pressure whatsoever, and I am grateful for that. It goes without saying that he already takes care of all things financial now. It's a different environment to be in, very different from what I imagined things to be, I am a different me, very different from what I imagined my 26-year old self to be, but still I am blessed.

I should probably brush up on programming stuff soon but other than that, I'm quite happy where I am. I don't get to buy whatever I want to but I guess that that new camera, and that Lululemon top, and that Ambient Lighting palette, and those Estee Lauder lipticks, and that Chanel foundation can wait. I have enough (and a little bit more) and that is what's important. Most of all, this unemployment thing? It's temporary, just until I get my working visa (or permit), and I'm already working on it. M constantly reminds me of this fact every time I get impatient. I'm going back to school and I think that's exciting (I was a grade-conscious nerd way back). Surprisingly, I have so many things to do each day - there's wedding planning, cooking (yes I cook now!), handstand-ing (well at least learning to), etc. Some days I even run out of time - who would've known?

So yes, I'm trying to enjoy my "time off." I have time to pause, time to read, time to draw, time to write, time to think, time to try new things, time to do anything. I have time to figure things out. What do I really want? What do I really want to do for life? Maybe it's not programming, who knows? But I know that I will soon find out.

I finish my toasted roasted tomato and mozzarella panini, sip my already-lukewarm favorite soy mocha, and go back to my book. This is one of the best parts of my week and I'm savoring every bit of it. And the best-est part? I am exactly where I am supposed to be. The only thing missing is a majestic view but this will do for now. And just so you know, no, I am NOT pregnant.

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