And then there was that one day I woke up on a Monday, and I didn’t have to go to work. I also didn’t have to stress about getting work done for the day that I return from like vacation or something. I was IN THE CLEAR, people! It was weird. I mean, I guess I did this before between my first job and this last one, but THIS time, I had to-do items to scratch through, things to plan, and goals to accomplish.
And boy, was I busier than I expected I’d be. Guys, get yourself mentally prepared. This post is lengthier than usual. But it’s also the most entertaining one thus far, if I do say so myself.
Let me lay some foundation for you:
- I bought a new laptop (because I haven’t had a personal laptop since college).
- My apartment was a damn mess.
- I quit in the middle of the month, so my insurance hadn’t run out yet.
- I still hadn’t filed my taxes. (Procrastinator probz)
- I was going to Bali next month for a friend’s wedding.
- I had a children’s book I wanted to write.
- I had a blog I wanted to start!
- I had things I wanted to learn!
Y’all, I had a lot to do.
Let me start by saying that buying a planner for the first time since college saved me. I freakin’ love my planner. Honestly, I feel like I could dedicate a whole post to the amazement that is this planner.
Anyway, I started the morning by writing out everything I planned to get done that week. I got down to the nitty gritty by hour* because well, the planner allowed for that:
- 7 AM – meditate and read
- 7:30 AM – workout
- 8 AM – shower
- 9 AM – breakfast
*For the record, I barely ever succeeded at meeting those stringent hourly morning hold-myself-accountable requirements. In fact, I 100% didn’t work out.
Then, I started penciling in lunches and dinners and time with ex-coworkers who were so surprised when they found out that I was leaving. (Thanks for takin’ the time to keep up with me post-leaving, friends.)
Um, I took for granted what all goes into setting up a laptop. Also, Jesus, Microsoft Office requires a yearly subscription?! What kind of blasphemy is that?! I just want the product. (Says the girl who always pays yearly for Amazon Prime and Spotify without thinking twice.) Smart business people. So smart.
I also finally purchased an external hard drive because it seemed like the smart thing to do.
Guess who forgot all of her passwords for every account she’s ever used? *Raises hand*
QUICK, how do I keep my laptop secure?! FYI – Microsoft Defender and Malwarebytes (free) were recommended to me.
So, to be honest, my apartment was always pretty messy while I was still working, but I think I couldn’t tell through all of my TEARS. Ok, ok, too much. But really though – I realized quickly after I quit that while working, I stopped noticing all that I was forsaking in my day-to-day. I just never had time to notice so I guess I compartmentalized it. But JESUS, my place was a mess.
They say that your space is reflective of your mind. I believe that to be the case. Overwhelming, af.
Truth nugget: Some days, I didn’t know where the heck to start. So, I just curled up on the couch, gave NO f*cks and ignored it.
Truth nugget: Other days, I ALSO didn’t know where the heck to start. So I just curled up on the couch but WITH ALL the f*cks this time BECAUSE WHY CAN’T I FIGURE OUT HOW TO CLEAN MY OWN PLACE?! I told myself I shouldn’t need help. It’s a freakin’ apartment after all. But I was so overwhelmed! All the shame. All the tears.
Truth nugget: And then there were days where I finally told myself, “Okay, this is gonna suck, but just do 15 minutes. FIFTEEN.” And I set a timer. You guys, this truth nugget is gold. It’s a gold nugget. Is that a mining pun? Yeah, I guess so.
I had to take it square foot by square foot and be patient with myself because it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.
I also found someone to clean my place for after I tidied up. I swear to God they’re wizards – no one makes my bed like those professionals! I mean, didn’t witches, with all of their magical powers, have BROOMS after all?! Also, I love that they can reach the top of my fan and DO THE DUSTING FOR ME! YASSS.
It feels SO good coming home to a clean place. And I mean, if clean space equals clear mind, why not just pay someone for it? It’s cheaper than therapy, guys. SERIOUSLY.
Ignore the fact that I still have a therapist too, though. It’s like I’m made of money or something.
Well, my insurance was expiring here soon and I paid my monthly premium so you betcha ass I’m gonna go to Warby Parker and get me some new glasses for $10. (I don’t remember how much the co-pay actually was but it was something that cheap.)
Dentist, doctor, etc. Get all of that done. MILK YOUR PREMIUMS WHERE YOU CAN, ya feel me?
But then I had to decide. What was my insurance situation going to be going forward? Having to make this decision brought me so much stress. So much. Did I want to stay with my employer’s health insurance and pay the non-subsidized rate (through COBRA)? AKA, if I was paying $200 a month before while I worked there, do I now want to pay $400 a month for the same insurance? Or should I sign up for marketplace insurance since my leaving my job was considered life change enough to sign up mid-year? Or should I not get health insurance for the rest of the year and take my chances. Also, what the heck was the difference between a copayment and coinsurance?! America, amrite?
Y’all, this was so stressful, for real. I was so afraid of making the wrong decision. Terrified.
Like I said before, when I get stressed, for some reason, more often than not, I resort to becoming Annie-the-ball-on-the-couch and just drown in my worry. I isolate myself. I know it’s not rational. As if avoiding the issue will make it go away. I don’t know.
Anyway, I finally reached out to a few friends on the matter. Hearing what they had to say helped, but it didn’t rid me of my stress and worry. But you know what did?
I waited until the freakin’ last week of the month to do it (because procrastinator probz, people) but I finally called the health insurance company that was handling my possible move into COBRA. I found out that I had until 12/31 of that year to elect into my COBRA plan. Whenever I elected in, I’d have to backpay all the premiums through that date but that I’d will get reimbursed for any out of pocket expenditures covered in that time by my plan.
So what you’re saying is… I don’t have to commit to making a decision right now?! If something awful happens to me, I can retroactively elect in?! SIGH OF RELIEF, you guys. Sigh. Of. Relief.
The guy on the phone also helped me log into and navigate around the site I’d be using for whenever I needed to elect in. That man was a good man. Nice people on the other end of customer service calls are the BEST.
So I breathed in some gratitude and didn’t pick an insurance plan.
But Annie, you’re going to Bali. What if something happens to you?
It’s okay. My cousin told me they have such cheap, genuinely good clinics and stuff there if I need it. Also, I don’t even think my health insurance would work there. Plus, I could get travel insurance. Plus plus, I can elect into my plan whenever until 12/31. Y’all. I was golden.
Another huge point of stress for me. I brought this one on myself, people. I brought this one on myself. You see, this set of taxes included a W2 from my first job. My first job – where I worked in multiple states for not long enough to actually put to memory. So what was Turbo Tax trying to make me do??? Pay extra for state taxes for three other states. NOT TO MENTION, I had an HSA (Health Savings Account) at the job I just left. Having a Health Savings Account literally requires you to fill out like 5 lines on ONE additional form (otherwise you don’t get as much a tax refund as you should) and what does Turbo Tax do? They make you pay extra for THAT too.
I’m impressed by your genius business decisions, Turbo Tax, but you’re kind of a bully.
Stubborn Annie decided she was going to file her taxes that year BY HAND. No big deal. It’s just following directions. It was going to be easy.
HOLY SMOKES was I wrong. You guys, I cried a lot during these weeks. I have a very business background. I’ve worked a lot with data and numbers and stuff in the past, but this?! This was so difficult. I got so stressed that I missed the deadline even.
Straight. Up. Missed. it.
And once more, cue the shame.
Truth nugget: Honestly, why do I feel so much shame all the time? It’s like I live in a world where NO ONE in the world has ever made the mistakes I’ve made. Come on, Annie.
It took soooooooo many hours of reading instructions, filling out the forms, double checking my numbers, comparing to the Turbo Tax estimation, sending them (with a lot of shame, but way more desperation than shame) to people who could do a once-over, printing out 500 versions of the documents because I forgot to sign in one place or date another place, folding everything into their respective state and federal envelopes and finding the right addresses until finally, I was done.
Moral of the Story? Use some type of tax software or hire a god damn CPA. Trust me. Your time is worth more. Also, your sanity is worth more. You are worth more than ALL OF THAT mess I went through. Don’t be like Annie. Spend the money.
Okay, so I was trying to plan for Bali in the midst of stressing about insurance and taxes and the level of cleanliness inside my apartment. The planning was supposed to be a nice break from real-life but it was kind of not fun. Two of my friends were going with me and none of us lived in the same state. Or the same time zone for that matter. In fact, one of us three? LIVES IN AUSTRALIA. I was so overwhelmed by everything I had going on (see above) that I wasn’t excited anymore for Bali. I was just so anxious about how much planning we still had to do.
I asked for recommendations via Facebook, researched the hell out of the paradise via Google, and compiled all the suggestions given by friends and family into a Google Doc (TripAdvisor is where it’s at, people). The hard part was making sure to pick things to do that everyone going had some level of interest in. We tried to schedule Google Hangouts and be collaborative on that Google Doc but neither proved to be that useful with the time crunch.
Finally, one day, I cracked and let one of my friends know just how overwhelmed I was. I had all this weight on my shoulders to plan Bali for us (that no one even asked of me. I literally took that responsibility on ALL by myself.) She so kindly understood and suddenly, that weight was lifted. It wasn’t on my mind anymore, and I could focus on the rest of my life that needed mega-organizing.
Truth nugget: I realize now (mainly after writing this out) that I have trouble asking for help. Idk. Can you guys relate? This is interesting and something I’m curious to understand about myself better.
When I was in 8th grade, I wrote a children’s book. I never forgot about this children’s book. I looked through my bookshelf back home throughout the years to see if I could find it, and I never could. I always thought this book could be something. In fact, I was SURE of it! But I simply never acted on this feeling.
But now? Now I had this fire inside me. This excitement to do all the things that I always put off. One of those things was write this children’s book. So I went home and opened box after box of old stuff from my childhood. And what was in the literal LAST box there was to open, you ask?
My children’s book from 8th grade.
You guys, 8th grade Annie was pretty genius.
So I spent some of this time in my first few weeks of unemployment before Bali trying to rewrite it. I’d randomly call my friends and people I haven’t even talked to in ages to read my latest versions to them. I was so excited about this. I got great feedback and it gave me LIFE. Seriously though, some people’s reactions brought me so much joy that I almost cried. CRIED. But do you expect anything else from me at this point? Lol.
I even started storyboarding for it. I was just SO PUMPED.
I had an idea for a blog/newsletter (not this one) about 2+ years ago. Back then, I started playing through ideas of what my domain name would be. I was so serious about it. Asking my friends for their feedback even. I probably had a list of 20 possible domain names. I even painted a whole vision of a successful future in my mind, fully equipped with Ellen DeGeneres wearing t-shirts from my obviously-gonna-happen-because-of-my-successful-blog t-shirt line. (I imagine getting on The Ellen Show a lot, apparently.) But then my passion all fizzled out. I got busy with my consultant life, and I just… never acted on this either.
But now that I had quit, I was all in.
I figured out my domain name so quickly. How it was available I have no idea.
Truth Nugget: Probably ‘cause it was always meant to be mine.
I registered for a bunch of free webinars (Thanks to my Facebook feed somehow KNOWING I wanted to start a blog. Insert skeptical face here.)
I started to organize my old writing that I’d ultimately package up for each of the newsletters.
But I was stressed here too because now that I had the domain, I didn’t know what to do. It scared me. There were so many possible options out there. Analysis paralysis. Decision making woes. What if I paid for something I didn’t need to pay for? What if I laid the foundation incorrectly and it ended up costing me way more money (and time) in the long run?
Luckily, one of my friends had already gone down this path before and offered to help. You might be thinking, “OK, great. I’m glad you have the help, but I don’t know the people you know.”
I have this posted on the wall above my desk:
I mean it when I say I swear – I swear you have everything you need right now to take the next step. Because truly, if you needed more, well, you’d have it. Which means that:
- You might have a friend or a colleague or a family member who has insight about (or even an “in” into) exactly what you want – you just don’t know it because the connection is kind of loose.
- You also might have all the wits and all the knowledge base to do the research yourself and get what you need together.
- You also definitely have the courage to ask strangers about what you’re needing too. Honestly, I bet you have people you only KIND of know in your life who have the good heart to want to be there for you. You just need to give them the chance. You have everything you need within you and around you. I promise you that.
Truth Nugget: Ummm, that’s advice that Annie who doesn’t ask for help also needs to take. Oh, how we can always dish it out better than we can take it.
Things to Learn
I still had things I was so excited to learn! So what did I do?
I got in my car, drove downtown, and GOT A LIBRARY CARD, FOLKS!
And after a long afternoon there, I got some hand-held library books for the first time in fooooooooooorever (cue the song from Disney’s Frozen). AND I started reading two of them – one about inventions and one about project management. I also got an Adobe Illustrator book for when I’m ready to start illustrating my own children’s book.
And that’s it! That’s what the first few weeks of umemployment looked like for me.
Lol. Honestly. Now that I’ve written all this out, I realize how ridiculous it was of me to think I wouldn’t go crazy with all I had going on. It’s so interesting, isn’t it? How hindsight really is 2020. And also, how unemployment somehow became more busy than the life of the employed single girl? What a life.
P.S. Next week: It’s Bali time!