Boy, ain't that the truth.
Back in the days of my son's active addiction, I would find myself waking up in the morning and wondering how life could possibly go on in the midst of our crisis. Instead of reaching for the snooze button, I wanted to reach for a pause button, so I could put everything else in my life on hold while I focused on getting my son better.
But there was no pause button back then. And there isn't one now, either.
When I first lost my job in December of 2014, a lot of people expressed their sympathy to me. While I appreciated their kindness, I told them that losing my job was just a tiny blip on the radar compared to all the things I had been through with my son. That's still true, but my life has certainly been getting a bit more challenging recently.
It's been 486 days since I've had a regular full-time job with benefits. I admit that I never expected to be out of a job this long. Thank God for the freelance social media gigs I've been able to pick up. Unemployment benefits have helped, too, although those will disappear in two weeks.
Money isn't everything, but it does take money to survive in this world. When your job goes away, it doesn't take your bills with it. Those keep showing up. Figuring out how to pay them can sometimes be like solving the story problem from hell. And I've never liked math.
On top of the continuing unemployment saga, some other things have creeped into my life lately and raised my stress level more than just a tiny bit.
My wife's parents are not doing well. They're getting old and need more care than they're willing to accept right now. If they lived closer, it might not be as stressful. But they're in northern Michigan, nearly 300 miles away. That makes running over to check up on them a little bit inconvenient.
My younger son is also going through some issues that seem like another one of God's tests. It's kind of funny. As a parent coach for the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, I'm supposed to help parents who are going through struggles with their kids. Unfortunately, right now I feel like I'm the one who needs coaching.
I've been great at dealing with stress over the last few years; maybe because there's been less of it in my life. The last couple of months, though, have been, to say the least, interesting. It all seems to have started with an outbreak of shingles, which they say can sometimes be brought on by (ahem) stress. In fact, this morning I felt twinges of the intense nerve pain that comes along with shingles. (Residual pain is not uncommon.) Perhaps this is my body's way of telling me to chill the fuck out.
I'll get through this little bump in the road, and these things, too, shall pass. I'm incredibly lucky to have the best support system I could ask for in my wife. She's constantly telling me that things will work out and that great things are coming our way, and I'm pretty sure she's right. (For the record, she's right most of the time.) I just have to remind myself of that every once in a while.
In the meantime, I'll tackle the family issues, continue doing my freelance work, and keep looking for that job I'm passionate about. Because, like Robert Frost said: life goes on.
"Go forward, be brave, and keep the faith." --Ryan Adams