Honey I'm Home...Again.
Brother’s and sisters, these are troubling times. I think its euphemistic to say that 2020, the grand turning of the decade that brought with it such an idea of hope and revitalization, has not gone exactly as we might have planned. To put it un-euphemistically, 2020 has taken our expectations and sucker punched them square where it hurts – turning what has been a meteorologically beautiful spring into a time of great uncertainty. Many of us who had grand plans to make 2020 “our year” (plans we also made in 2019…and 2018…and if I’m not mistaken 2017) find ourselves going back to proverbial drawing boards; some living our daily life in the suspended animation of a furlough, while others yet working on a complete rebuild as jobs that two months ago were so secure blew away on the winds of March.
Whatever state you find yourself in (mentally or physically), there are many of us who have found ourselves out of our normal professional routines and now - in some way or another - returning home. Whether we travelled to wait out the fury of Hurricane Corona with our loved ones for long stretches of time, or maybe just a quick jaunt to the homeland with lots of sanitizer and face masks (which you should ALL be wearing, by the way), we have wound up in exodus from the cities we pilgrimed to post-college in search of prosperity and returned back to the suburbia or countryside that shaped us into the anxious, high-strung millennials we are today. Or maybe the home you’re returning to is the new one that you’ve made for yourself; a space that besides coming back to in the evenings after work and occasionally some lazy Sundays you really haven’t spent long consecutive spans of time in.
If you’re like me, for the first week you might have fancied yourself on a mini vacation: sleeping in without an alarm, shaking up your first cocktail at approximately 12:34pm, momma cooking something good that she insists she doesn’t need any help with. But then the next Sunday comes and you’re not packing to leave. There isn’t work to get ready for and you can’t go out to see anyone. The paycheck doesn’t drop on Thursday (and if you were waiting for unemployment from the state of Florida, you’re wondering if you will ever see money again). So you stay put and do your part to curb the spread of Covid-19, but it’s no longer the lackadaisical ride it was before. Sleeping-in goes from guilty pleasure to just plain guilt. For many of us who take great pride in our professional endeavors and proactive attitudes a furlough has us stuck on a treadmill with no momentum, while those who have lost their job face a market in flux. Many of your hopes to find love seem put on hold as we don’t know when it will be safe to go on an actual date again. For those of us with our families, maybe you’re beginning to feel a burden to your parents and are desperate for whatever is coming next.
At least I selfishly hope someone else is feeling this way, because I certainly am. If I may introduce myself my name is Jake (pictured left) and I work(ed) Resort Guest Services at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Like many in the hospitality field in Central Florida, the pandemic that is currently turning the world on its head left most Disney Cast Members on an indefinite furlough until it is safe enough to return to work. After a couple weeks in my house in Florida losing track of the days with my roommate, and at the insistent urging of my parents, I packed up most of my plants and my fish Nico and came back to wait out the virus in the small town of Emerald Isle, NC where I was born and raised. I haven’t spent more than a week here since the summer of 2013, and I now find myself over the hump of a full month sleeping in the room that used to belong to my younger sister.
I never expected to be back home living with my parents, however temporary it may be. And though maybe I should have, I never expected how both similar and different it would be to be back at Ardan Oaks Circle. Somethings have remained untouched by the wheel of time, while others are drastically different. And it’s in this atmosphere that I’ve gone through all the stages of mental turmoil I mentioned above. There is a stigma in America, I think, about returning home to your parents. For many of us, whatever the circumstances and however subconsciously the thoughts may be buried, it connotes a sense of failure - a sense that somewhere in our leap from the nest we have somehow faltered and come up short. Having had the fortune of making several international friends in the course of my endeavors, I have found this to be a very unfair generalization unique to America’s own sense of sullen superiority and ceaseless push to success that has led our generation to be the anxiety-ridden bunch we are. Outside the US, in most countries, individuals remain in their family homes long after college, often until they are ready to go out and start families of their own. There is less pressure on the individual to jump from the nest until they are ready, and less a sense of failure if they fall and have to try again.
But a full analysis of that subject is a topic for another blog; my staying at home is not permanent and I don’t feel like I’ve failed. The above digression is simply to let you the reader know that, like me, it is perfectly natural in our society to feel anxious or down on yourself if you find yourself back home temporarily in these uncertain times. What’s important is how we use this hiatus from normalcy – how we take this truly precious opportunity to take ourselves on a personal, professional, and perhaps spiritual walkabout and hopefully come out of this chaos walking down a path that will lead us to happiness and fulfillment. Personally – while I still battle anxiety, guilt, and depression on the reg – I am finding ways to side-step around these feelings to enjoy this time while using it to my advantage. I have re-strengthened my relationship with my family, planted a bunch of plants, and have taken steps to move my life and outlook more in the direction I think will make me happy. If you’re not there yet or don’t think that’s how you want to use this stretch, that is totally okay. Whatever you decide to do that will bring you happiness in the midst of uncertainty is valid and worthy. I am going to share what I’ve been doing myself, thoughts I’ve had, and musings I’ve come by in the hopes maybe someone relates or has suggestions that will help myself and others to grow. I am also very bored and love hearing myself talk, so blogging is a good outlet for me.
In the future, should you chance upon this blog again, you will see entries devoted to subjects such as “Your Parents Are Crazy – And So Are You,” “What Am I Doing With My Career?,” “My Little Sister Is Getting Married and I Don’t Know How To Feel About That,” “Your Angels Trumpet Might Have Root Rot and What That Says About Your Relationships To Others,” “Wow I Really Sucked As A Friend: Dealing With Guilt of the Past,” “How Do You Show Grandma You Love Her Even Though You Cannot Hug Her and You’re Gay,” among many others. I hope you’ll laugh, though honestly given my interpersonal history with others the most I want is for you relate to something and at the end of the day know you are not alone and you are going to get through this. So get a mask if you haven’t gotten one already, brush up your LinkedIn, and let’s weather the storm together, shall we?