Ever since I gave up ‘proper’ work to work for myself at home, I’ve been happy. Happy to be on my own. Happy with my own company, my own space, my own peace and quiet. And happy with the variety and buzz of my work.
But over the past couple of weeks, something has changed. At times I feel bored and lonely and inexplicably sad.
Since the summer, I haven’t had as much work as I’d like. I’m working at about half my capacity and it gives me time to think, to feel bored, lonely and sad. I’m still earning as much as when I worked in an office, but I’d like to contribute more to the family finances – three big kids cost a serious amount of money – and it makes me sad that I’m unable to. But it’s not just that. Being busy makes me happy. Not being busy makes me sad and means I lack purpose.
I try to fill my time. I spend far too long faffing on my own and other people’s blogs. If I can’t get enough work in, maybe I could increase the readership of my blog? (I couldn’t – I’ve been blogging for over four years and my readership has been very stable for the last two and half, it’s never going to take off and become one of the big, must-read blogs at this stage).
A phone call from my mum unsettles me and I don’t know why. I worry about the minor health ailments of various family members. She tells me my sister is going to ask me something. But what? I worry what it might be, what if I can’t help? What if I have to say no? Will it put me in an awkward position? How will that make me feel? How will that make her feel? Will she resent me for it?
It is some time before I realise I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT SHE IS GOING TO ASK. My sister has never put me in a difficult position. It’s probably something nice and positive, but I’m only seeing the negatives right now.
An email comes through from my son’s violin teacher. My stomach falls and I feel sick. What has he done? Has he missed lessons? Is he falling behind with his practise?
No, HE JUST NEEDS A NEW BOW.
I am worrying about things that don’t need worrying about and still I can’t shake the sadness.
I could run away from it. Go out. Do something.
But I don’t do that. Because I work in school times, Monday to Friday. If I haven’t got work, I just stay at home. It would be wrong to go out and spend money if I’m not earning and it would be wrong to go out in case some work comes in that I need to do urgently.
I know what’s wrong. The sadness isn’t inexplicable. It’s tiredness. Waking up between 4 and 5 every morning, worrying that my boys haven’t packed for Scout camp and hoping I’ll have enough time to get from my daughter’s cross country to pick my son up from his after school rehearsal, is always going to take its toll. People ask if I’m tired and I tell them I’m not. Because my tiredness doesn’t feel like tiredness. It manifests itself as inexplicable sadness. I’ve been there before, but I can feel like it for several days before I even remember what’s causing it.
So I will go back to looking for work, faffing with my blog and hoping to wake up later until the inexplicable sadness passes.