Last year this time I was just starting on my journey of not working every day. I was miserable. I’d sit on the porch with my dog and watch the neighbors all hurry off to work and feel sorry for myself. I’d had to go out on a medical leave of absence, and I missed the children I taught. I had worked with small groups of children and enjoyed my job. The children I taught were in Kindergarten or First Grade. They were “struggling readers”, and most of them struggled right on up to grade level as we read together daily. It was my “calling”. I had a gift, I thought. I could reach almost any child and improve his/her reading skills.
That was as long as I was allowed to go to work. I tried working just half days and that lasted about two weeks. When I had been up in pain all night one night, I stayed home and went to see the doctor. Instead of giving me something to fix me, she said I had to quit work completely. Was she CRAZY????
But that’s what happened. I applied for Social Security Disability. My oldest son was living with me at the time (he planned to move out the month after I was declared unable to work, but he changed his move date to 3 months later – while I got accustomed to not working). The people at Social Security sent HIM a questionnaire about my disability and how it was affecting me. I saw what he wrote and was surprised at how he veiwed me. Where I put that a change in my daily routine was I went outside more frequently, he wrote “She stays on the porch!” Well, that was as far as I could get to leaving the house.
I was miserable for months. I’d look at the clock and think about what I’d be doing, if I was at work.
The summer was easier because I’m a teacher and no one else was working during the summer either.
I watched one son move out (the oldest) and in ten days’ time, another son flew home to stay with me. I think all three sons thought I was dying. I did enjoy the attention.
However, I was very much alive and I improved some as time went on. It also got too cold to stay on the porch, so I began finding things to occupy myself. I’m still working on things to do and people to spend time with, but I’m not lonely any more.
Everything isn’t going perfectly, but things are going much better now. I’ve found that I love staying home. If I’m tired, I can lie down. If I’m hungry, I can eat. Between the problem with my lungs and the young children I worked with, who came to school, sick or not, it seemed, I stayed sick. I think I’ve had only one lung infection since I quit working. I’m healthier in that way.
I’ve turned to my writing and found it is a fabulous outlet. I counted up how many articles I wrote while I was working through the years and there are over 150 of them. Poems? Got quite a few of those as well. Short stories and short story ideas are plentiful.
I signed up for James Patterson’s online writing course. Shortly after I signed up, I ended up in the hospital for a week. Less than a week after I got out of the hospital, a Pitbull attacked my little fifteen year old dog and I intervened, which made the Pitbull attack me. March was a bad month because of those two events, but I got through it and now realize how much I enjoy staying home.
My son put on his paper that I hate change. I thought he was wrong and it bothered me that he’d say that. Now I think he is actually right. I did hate staying home at first. Now, a year later, I love it.