Progression Update: First Month

April 24th, 2022

Audio version of the blog to hear tone and to allow you to multitask while listening.

I think it’s about time I give my first progress report.  It’s been over a month now and almost everyday I have been searching LinkedIn and other sites for a job geared towards my end goal.  It’s stressful not having income.  There were things I didn’t realize would occur when I left my previous job. I didn’t think health insurance (even accidental) was going to be as expensive as it is. I didn’t think my student loan payments would go up and refinancing would not workout because of having no income. Yes I knew I had a discount on my interest from my previous company but I thought the monthly payments would remain the same.  I thought the people I worked for and had a good relationship with for nine years would have treated me better after I left.  I felt punished choosing to leave a job to take a break and work on my life goals.  Even putting my loan into forbearance wasn’t an option unless I was fired.  Simple things such as discounts for internet and TV services were gone. I did round things up when creating my budget to plan for this in a way, but still it has been pretty stressful.  

Thankfully, my significant other (SO) was able to include me on his insurance and I settled for vision, dental, and accidental.  I’m accident prone so I thought I should at least have that covered. Health insurance was too expensive for me and the deductible was obscene so let’s hope I don’t get sick (thankfully I’m triple vaccinated but sadly I’m still having to avoid people).  Even looking through the independent health insurance sites they kept pushing me to Medicaid where I was denied and what I qualified for on the government healthcare site was too expensive. If you don’t have a job, regardless if you’ve been working for almost twenty years, paying taxes, and have a high credit score you’re shit out of luck if you choose to leave. I’m sure it isn’t much better for those who get fired.   

I had to deal with some communication issues with my former company, where I felt completely discarded after nine years of employment while I was attempting to stay consistent with my willingness to inform. Soon after I left my job, a couple of close friends “broke up” with me, which hit me hard.  When a friendship comes to what feels like the end and you are one of the people who wants it to continue, it can be extremely tough to sputter a good bye.  I hope it isn’t actually the end, as I want everyone I have or had a close bond with to remain in my life regardless of the breaks that come along. Right after that my SO and I had to make a big decision that we were putting off for awhile and had to say good bye to our seventeen year old cat, Koschque, due to his ongoing and increasing health issues.   This past year I have been faced with multiple situations in which I had to work through grief.  I feel like I would rather go more into this process in another blog, but for right now, all I can say is that no matter how many times it happens, grief does not get easier.  Instead I found better techniques (for myself) to handle it.  The emotional stress clearly doesn’t take a break even when you try to push forward.  Each time, I tried my best to continue with a positive and motivated mindset to continue the momentum I had the first week, but it wasn’t easy. At times difficult to be creative due to being drained emotionally, I still found ways to be productive.  The first week I was on my A game.  I knew the first month would be about finding what works for me.  The second month I would add more and so on.  Initially I timed myself to see how long each task took or how long I spent on it.  

I was conflicted with my sleep schedule changing more and more as my creativity flourished during the grave yard shift while I learned better mid afternoon to evening.  After decades of people continuously surprised at a schedule that doesn’t match morning, afternoon, and night I would feel guilty about waking up around 4 pm and going to bed around 10 am.  I made sure to shut my phone off or put it far away after telling those who I spoke to often what I’ll be doing to not leave them in limbo but instead communicate my intentions.  I also tried to let my friends know what my plan was and that my focus would be on figuring out a schedule that fit me, so I won’t be as available as I once was.  This definitely caused conflicts with some, but others totally understood. No matter how much we communicate with one another, I realized that if it didn’t work for the other person, then distancing would occur and eventually endings of friendships, I just didn’t think it would be as fast as it happened. 

I quickly realized I couldn’t do everything the first month that I wanted to do.  My mental stamina needed training as did my physical. The endurance I once had as a student in my teens and twenties was long gone, after doing decades worth of mundane and monotonous tasks.  Time management was a big thing. A day seems like so much time, but it went quickly.  I decided to create goals for the upcoming months to what I’ll be doing, what I want to complete and what I will add in.  I wanted to make sure I was consistently doing a job search, not because I wanted to jump back into a job but I wanted to see my options; save the jobs I wasn’t ready for but interested in; took note of the qualifications to see what I could work on from said jobs; and apply to jobs that I felt would progress me into a position headed towards my goals.  I realized I needed more experience in certain fields, and what better way of getting that than attempting to get a part time or contract job for the field.   

What have I done with my time thus far outside of preparation for the year?  I started writing a middle school age children’s book, where I have finished the second draft of the first chapter.  I’m working on an online character design art class through Udemy, where I observe the class then practice what I learned for a few days. This week I thought of an idea for another children’s book, but for a younger age group (5-7 years old) and have started writing and working on art for it.  I have of course stayed consistent with my comics, and am trying to create a set group of characters.  My SO told me the variety of comics I have been doing works for the Scenarios portion of my title, but I liked the idea that my friend had about creating a comic strip about my awkward scenarios.  Now I don’t always know when I’m being awkward, so I may need time to recall those, but I believe I will be doing one about me and my cats.  I always enjoyed Garfield comics and the TV show when I was younger, so I was thinking about doing my own version of that.  I started back up on my photography and editing, which has been really nice.  Playing disc golf brings us to different parks, and I’ve been enjoying capturing not only photos of disc golf, but the nature that surrounds us while we play.  I started writing and recording blogs about my life, guidance, and introspection.  This has been therapeutic as I’m not only working through my own thoughts, but potentially helping others, which is something I always aim to do.  I have written two video game reviews as well.  I am very passionate about gaming, and as one of my goals is to make educational games, I thought writing an in-depth review about them would also help with my journey.  I would be practicing writing, creating writing samples, and looking deeper at games while potentially helping others who are on the fence of playing certain games.  Plus I did put a lot of money into my gaming library, so why not look into other ways to expand upon the games and potentially write game reviews if the other goals don’t work out.  I have added more exercises into my routine and started focusing on improving my skills in disc golf.  I have set up a net in the backyard where I have been practicing my release and certain throws, along with bringing the chains out and practicing putting.  Let’s not forget about all the squats I’m doing to pick up the many discs I have thrown during practice.  Each “morning” I have also been reading educational books to help with my goals and hone in on my skills. 

My plans for May are a bit stricter now that I have a sense of what I can handle and the time I have in the day.  I am planning on writing two life guidance blogs and one game review a month to help build my portfolio as multiple jobs are asking for writing samples.  I plan on starting to learn how to code and working on my first educational game. Also I will be having a more disciplined exercise regimen to lose weight and build strength to be able to hang with my SO on the 18 hole courses and the fluctuating elevation courses as disc golf has been a fun hobby for our relationship.  It has really improved our days off together and a shared interest in which we can talk to each other about, plus he loves being able to teach me new things, so it makes me happy to see him happy. I created a schedule and set alarms to help keep me on task with knowing at times one thing may need to be extended and work through the mental conflict I tend to have by accepting my schedule is not fixed but a guide. 

It wasn’t a perfect month, but it definitely was a productive one. My mental health went through some ups and downs but I prevailed by not allowing it to spiral.  I processed everything I needed to by writing, drawing, reflecting, talking, and exercising.  I started a document in which I have been writing everything productive that I’ve done for the day (mostly project related with an occasional non-project related item if it takes more time to do) to help remind myself that I am doing things when my brain is telling me I haven’t done enough. 

I have a small supportive group of friends who helped me by being their realistic yet positive selves presenting me various perspectives and solutions along with spending some of their time to be a part of and support my creative side.  My SO struggled at first to follow through on the support I needed but he continues to work on himself, through issues with me, and also shows patience for me as I try to better understand him and work on my own part of the relationship. My mother continues to be there for me while dealing with her own obstacles.  She shows interest by listening to my thought processes and the actions I’m taking.  She will pop in during the week via text to show she’s thinking of me, which always makes me smile.  Then there are those cats of mine.  They hangout with me throughout the day with cuddles; being a calming presence when I’m trying to focus on my work; and making sure I go outside every day by herding me to the door so they can lay out on the patio. 

Throughout this month and a half I have been connecting with others and also with myself.  I’ve learned a lot about other people’s limitations they set upon themselves and the limitations I am breaking out of.  I realized for this chapter of my life to occur, I had to close another one, but it isn’t the end of the story.  I am excited for what’s to come, hopeful that I will accomplish my goals, and appreciative of those who find time and compromise to have me still be a part of their life.  

Until the next Scenario.

Published by SandraScenarioS

Attempting to do a project for myself to not only make people smile but to improve my skills and learn new ones.

3 thoughts on “Progression Update: First Month

  1. So proud of you Sandra! This all sounds very healthy, healing, and inspiring. Glad you are using and have multiple creative outlets and are taking important steps forward, one day at a time.

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