When I was in college I worked at the university library. For a while, I was one of the people who arrived before the library opened to get ready for opening. We didn’t have a staff entrance. We entered and exited out the front doors. When I would arrive in the mornings there was always a couple of students waiting at the doors for the library to open. Many times they would try to follow me into the library and I would have to stop them. This process is the origin of the stress dream I’ve had off and on for years.
At some point in my time at the university, I started dreaming that I arrived at the library to open and there was a large crowd waiting to enter. I would unlock the door to go in and try to lock the door behind me but the crowd would surge forward. There were too many of them for me to keep out. Eventually, there would be hundreds of them surging forward and taking over the library.
I thought that dream would stop after I moved away and left the university. I was wrong. I’ve had some version of that dream at every library I’ve worked at since. I’m writing about it today because I had the dream last night. Last night’s dream was not an opening of the library dream, but a closing the library dream. The library I was at was a weird hybrid of my current branch and the old version of my former branch but all of the people were my current coworkers. It was time to close the library. Someone else was supposed to lock the doors and clear the library. For some reason, they left and left me behind without doing either of these. I had people in the library who wouldn’t leave and more people trying to come in before I was able to lock the doors. For some reason, there was also someone there to fix the building alarm at the same time. Eventually, someone came back to help me clear the building and lock the doors.
I’m never sure what prompts the return of the dream. I used to joke that the dream was a sign that it is time for me to leave the job. The new wrinkle in the dream would probably prompt a therapist to see abandonment issues. Any dream interpreters out there?
It’s Monday. It’s Monday and it’s dreary and rainy. It’s Monday after my alone weekend with no obligations. It’s Monday and I’m working 1-9 instead of my normal 9-5 so I have more time to dread rejoining the real world. It also gives me more time to decide to write about some personal struggles of late.
The real world has not been great lately. It’s been a tough couple of years. Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of my mom’s death. A month after my mom’s death I accepted a transfer to a new job and left the place I had worked for 15 years. Changing jobs that soon after was probably not a great idea. I wonder if my mental health would be better if I had done my mourning in the more comfortable confines of my old job and with my friends there. The good thing about the change was and is the shorter commute. The shorter commute gave me more time with my daughter before she left for college. Now, less than two years after the other major life changes, my youngest kid has gone to college and we are empty nesters.
So, in two years – death of a loved one, job change and our youngest kid moved away. A lot of sadness and stress coupled with more time home alone. Unfortunately, more time home aloe means more time to dwell on the stress and the sadness. I have trouble leaving the stress of work at work. So, I end up at home alone for two hours with the stress of work added to the loneliness of having no one at home to talk to. I should probably find reasons to leave the house and occupy my brain to distract myself from the stress, but it’s easier to sit on the couch and watch TV.
So, what do I do? Leave the house when I get home, even if it is just to take the dog for a walk. Figure out a way to leave work at work. Decide if the stress is enough to consider another change. If so, be willing to do what it takes to make that change happen. Consider taking the step of finding a therapist to talk through my issues. Win the lottery so I never have to go to work again.
I know that I’ve posted pictures from two different trips this summer. I know that as far as my job goes I’ve been on vacation twice this summer. I know that this means that no one will feel bad for me, but it doesn’t change the fact that I need a vacation.
I can’t find the post I read that talked about the difference between a trip and a vacation, so I can’t link to it, but I agree. I have been on two trips this summer. I loved the trip to England and Paris. I loved spending time with my family. I loved having both of my kids on the trip. I loved visiting all of the sites. It was also very tiring. It started with a long flight from Baltimore to London. Every day we were there, we had specific things on outr schedule to make sure we saw everything we needed to see. We had a schedule to follow. Some days were very long days. It then ended with another long flight back to Baltimore. The second trip was accompanying my wife on a work trip to India. If you’ve read this post you know that was not relaxing. It also involved even longer flights to and from DC.
Most summers we try to take a trip as a family. We love to travel and I wouldn’t give up my trips. The difference most summers is that we also take trip home to Kentucky to visit family. These visits are different and more what I would call a vacation, not a trip. For the most part, we don’t have a schedule while we are there. We might have a few things we want to do while we are there, but there is no specific time or day we need to do it. I send a good amount of time relaxing and reading a book while we are in Kentucky. Sometimes I go see a movie, sometimes I don’t. It depends on my mood and what’s showing. We spend time hanging out in my brother’s pool. We wake up when we wake up and go to bed when we feel like it. There is no rushing around. There is no place we have to be and no specific time we have to be there. This is vacation.
This is what I’m missing this year. Time to relax and refresh. I am now less than three weeks away from my daughter moving away to college. I’ve started thinking about the possibility of a career change. I’m finding it hard to turn my mind away from the stress of life and work on my off time. I need the relaxing time away to help turn my mind off. I’m not going to get it this year so I need to learn to “vacation” on my time away from work, even if I am just sitting in my house. Next time I take time off it will have to be more vacation and less trip.
My daughter finishing high school means that there is an upcoming graduation ceremony. A graduation ceremony means company is coming. Company coming means while everyone else was enjoying the unofficial start of summer, I was trapped in cleaning hell. All day, every day was spent cleaning. There were a few breaks in the cleaning for other stuff.
Friday – I worked all day on Friday, so it’s not really the weekend for me, but after work had some significant things to report. I was going with my daughter to the senior recital of one of her friends. It was at the church we attended for years. On the way in, I commented that people there would remember me. My daughter scoffed. We walked in, and the first person we saw from the church recognized me and hugged me. One point for me. While we were at the dessert reception we heard that there were power outages around our neighborhood. As we were driving home, we noticed the houses on our street had power, so we thought we were good. Unfortunately the four houses at the end of the street, including ours, had no power, so we took the dog for a walk in the dark, played a board game by flashlight light and went to bed early.
Saturday – There was no fun to be had on Saturday. There was, however, this post on the library’s Facebook page. If you click, you can see my pretty face and my favorite book. Be sure to like it so my employer thinks I’m popular.
Sunday – More cleaning, but there was a break in the evening when my son visited. We had dinner and then watched Game Night. I had seen it before, but I was the only one. I still enjoyed it and even my wife, who hates comedies, said she liked it. The fun was overshadowed by seeing posts online that Ellicott City was flooding again. I feel terrible for the residents and business owners who had just cleaned up from the last flood and now have lost everything again. I have to think this is the end for some of those businesses.
Monday – More cleaning. My daughter escaped and went to the annual carnival at the fire station. I miss the days when this was an annual trip as a family and not an annual thing he kids do with their friends. I didn’t even stop by to get carnival food this year. I finally did just stop working when I finished cleaning the kitchen around 5 last night and watched an episode of 13 Reasons Why and then the hockey game. If the house isn’t good enough for the people visiting by now then they need to just stay in a hotel instead.
Now I get a reprieve and a normal couple of days before I have extra people(and stress) in the house for 3 days on top of graduation and preparing for our trip.
I’ve been wishing all winter for a snow day. I’ve posted about how much I needed a snow day. Tomorrow the library will likely get a snow day. Problem is, I am scheduled to be on a 9:30am train to Philadelphia tomorrow. Figures that we would finally get a snow day when I am not going to work and when it might disrupt my travel.
I already deal with travel stress. I was spending way too much time debating over taking the Septa from the train station to the hotel or calling an Uber. I even considered walking, though the weather will make that less likely. Now I’m all stressed out over the possibility that the snow will cancel my train. I have no idea how much snow it takes to cancel Amtrak trains. Maybe it will just be a delay. It might be on time. Thing is, I don’t know and I can’t control it. It’s going to snow tonight and tomorrow. It’s going to snow over the entire route the train will take. This may or may not delay or cancel my train. I can’t change the weather. I can’t control the train schedules. It really does me no good to stress and worry about it. So, why can’t I stop stressing and worrying about it?
This is something I deal with quite a bit. Stress and anxiety over things I can’t control. I need to figure out how to stop this. Meditation? Medicine? I don’t know what it will take, but I know I would be much happier if I could just learn to stop this. There is no major commitment for me in Philly tomorrow, so if I’m hours late it won’t really matter. I would miss some stuff if I had to leave Thursday and that would suck, but it is not the end of the world. Why am I so stressed?
I think it’s time the world adopt my idea I’ve been pushing for a while. Clement weather days.
Every winter schools, offices and businesses close down due to inclement weather. Everyone gets a day to stay at home. Most of us are happy. When you have small children, you spend time outside building a snowman or just watching the kids enjoy the snow. It all sounds nice and fun and it is, but there are problems with this scenario. It is cold outside, eventually you will have to shovel the driveway and the kids will grow up. I still like my snow days. I have no problem with the new reality of spending them with my daughter binge watching some sitcom on Netflix. I will still enjoy them next year when she’s away at college and I will be watching TV alone. I will still enjoy them, but I will still have to shovel snow eventually and it will be cold.
Today it is in the 60’s here. This is after a long stretch of very cold weather, some snow, and a little bit of ice. We had wind chills of below zero. Today feels like summer in comparison. Today is the day I want to stay away from work. Not the days when you don’t want to go outside. So, I propose clement weather days. When it is forecast to be 60 degrees and sunny in the middle of winter in an area where it is usually cold schools, offices and businesses will close down so everyone can enjoy the brief respite from winter. I think it would improve the mood of the entire community and relieve winter stress.
Sure there will be the same issues with this as there are with snow days. Some years schools will call a clement day early and it won’t get as warm as forecast or it will rain. Not every plan is perfect.
I think this is a winning idea. I might win a Nobel for this one.