The blogosphere is all atwitter with news of celebrity death matches, literally. Apparently, Michael Jackson trumps Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon, but he's the only one with a royalty-inspired moniker so it makes sense.
Rather than feeding into all the hype of a story that was actually broken by TMZ.com (even NPR used it as a source), I'm offering up this little reflection on my continuing life after being laid off from my job. It might not be as scintillating as revelations on child molestation or anal cancer or the Publisher's Clearinghouse sweepstakes, but it's honest.
For the past 25 years, I've created and thrived on routines. In elementary school, I consistently finished my homework by 4:45 and forced myself into a regular bedtime. In college, I developed a steady route between the local bars based on the spots with the best specials. For the past several years, I've carved out Wednesday nights for dance class, Saturday mornings for calling my grandmother and Sunday evenings for cooking.
So you can imagine how shocking it's been that I have made the transition into the vagaries of unemployment with little difficulty. Lest you think my Type A personality completely absent, I do still set an alarm clock every night, only now rather than sticking at 7:05, the dreaded time drifts wildly depending on the previous night's activities or lack thereof.
Whereas I once found tremendous comfort in routine, I now am finding ways to embrace the art of scheduling randomness. My ridiculously outdated PDA has become my constant savior (thanks Dad) and I am quickly becoming an expert on lunch menus and free in-town parking spots. No longer chained to a desk all day, I'm free to hit the grocery store at off-peak hours and I rarely stress being out late on a "school night."
The uncertainty of unemployment does always loom over one's head with its threats of mounting debt, loss of benefits, isolation and feeling like a drain on society. At the same time, it gives you enormous chunks of time to consider wild possibilites like launching a nonprofit consulting firm, writing a book, starting a concierge service business or creating a website devoted to burning Jewish questions.
In the past six weeks, I've given more serious thought to all these endeavors than I probably have for my entire adult life. Being cut off from the demands of a daily job and the soul-crushing frustrations of the daily office grind, absolutely frees your mind into the peaks and valleys of creativity, with all its commensurate pros and cons.
As much as I'm looking forward to getting a regular paycheck again, I'm also extremely curious to see which of my hustler brainstorms will carry over into the next phase. Who knows, maybe Amalgamated Missel Concierge Services will net me thousands or Ask a Heeb (Ask a Jew was taken) will become the Dear Abby of the 21st Century?
And yes, look for the launch of Ask a Heeb in the coming weeks. You can submit questions here or on the Shtetl Fabulous Facebook page.