Lighten Up

It's common knowledge that many of the studios release their Oscar contenders around the holidays. One, with people on vacation it's big ticket sale time and two, films meet the submission deadline but stay fresh in minds of the members of the Academy. The current crop of Oscar contenders are not necessarily depressing but most of them are heavy. Like Frost/Nixon, the post-Watergate television interviews between British talk-show host David Frost and former president Richard Nixon. Or the Reader, a Post-WWII Germany drama. Or Milk, the biography of Harvey Milk, California's first openly gay elected official who aggressively fought anti-gay initiative(timely)and was later assassinated. They are all heavy. Heavy, this is the perfect word to describe how I'm feeling right now. I don't feel funny, or witty or clever or light. I feel like this plodding, introspective drama alongside the bevy of irreverent comedies and lighthearted romances.

Of course some of this has to do with the husband's job or lack thereof. Maybe part of it is just the season. I am uncharacteristically calm so I am concerned that I'm not more concerned, like worry and anxiety are the sacrifices that make the good juju happen. I worry that I'm not worried, less because I've reached some Zen calm and rather that I'm approaching emotional catatonia. You know you are neurotic when you think too much about your thinking, introspect on your introspection, ruminate on your ruminations and worry about the state of your worriedness.

Money is one of my biggest issues. I was relatively poor growing up. My parents were mere children when they had me at seventeen and nineteen. Later, as they worked and developed careers, we did better. Then when I was seven they divorced and in addition to all of the normal divorce junk, they were two still very young people now running two separate, more expensive existences. Finally in my teens my mom's career took off and we moved to a far more affluent area. We had nicer things, family vacations and no one ever turned our utilities off for not paying the bills. I will tell you without reserve, having money is better. It's more comfortable. You have more options. Certainly, it doesn't make you happy if you aren't but it can buy you a lot of therapy and pretty things and better views.

I falsely attach a great deal of security and safety to money. It is probably because of my background that I worry about money far too much. I spend it carefully, I hoard it but I'm remiss to even giving myself a hard time about that because that insecurity saving has led to things like cars bought with saved cash and leaving a high paying but unfulfilling job to go start a day spa and fuck around waxing chachas and probably living longer because I have less stress.

I know we'll be fine, I really do. It's this uncertain time in the middle that freaks me out. I am a planner, ask my husband. If I can do it today(pack, plan that menu for a party two months away, clean the house a few days before even if I end up doing it again...) I will. I like to know where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing all the time, I even schedule unstructured time. OCD much? So right now I feel like we are in a holding pattern. Everything we can do we have and continue to do. Most companies are not hiring until after the holidays if they aren't already in hiring freezes and budget cuts. I want to enjoy this time with my husband but since I don't know what comes next I can't shake this itchy, uncomfortable, pacing feeling. I feel like I should be doing something and I don't know what.

I certainly don't feel creative. I haven't stopped writing but after everything I've written lately, I am reminded of the grandpa from Moonstruck saying at a tense quiet uncomfortable silence, "Someone tell a joke or something." Seriously, I know FormerlyFun is my moniker and all but I'm really hoping on not living up to it.

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Anonymous said... December 5, 2008 at 6:03 PM  

One of my least favorite things to hear = 'When one door closes, another door opens.'
Except for the time someone said that to me and followed it up with, "If you really understand that, then why are you always running up and down the hallway screaming until the other door opens?"

Spatula said... December 5, 2008 at 6:25 PM  

I feel antsy and spaced out and worried when I am between freelance gigs. And every single time I look back and think, why did I worry instead of enjoying the break time? And then the next break rolls around, and I worry/zone out again.

Don't give yourself a hard time about worrying too much or not worrying enough. Just take it one day at a time. Do what you can do - the rest is in (fill in your spiritual belief)'s hands. And I also find writing in a journal helps. Which is different than blogging. Some things you just can't post.

I totally schedule unstructured time too. I call it "white space", which is English for "I am a designer nerd". The first thing I do when I am in between contracts is make a daily schedule, including fun and relaxation. That way I can relax without feeling guilty that I should be doing something a productive citizen would be doing.

Anonymous said... December 5, 2008 at 8:56 PM  

Chris, I wish I had some words of wisdom for you. I can only say that I'm sorry that this has happened to your family and wish you a quick recovery. I'm a regular lurker (found you via your Dooce ad a while back) and always enjoy your lighthearted and clever entries. But if you need to post some more somber musings for a while I'll understand and will still be here, keeping up with what's going on in your life. Take care.

P.S. My verification word is winfistr. My first thought was something like windsurfer, but then of course the fist part took over and the whole thing went in a freaky direction. Too much sharing?

Bluestreak said... December 6, 2008 at 8:22 AM  

For what it´s worth, I enjoy reading your serious stuff as much as your funny stuff. I can very much relate to the uneasiness you feel because I just quit my well paying yet unfulfilling job for I don´t know what yet. And I´m not good at the not knowing part either.

But don´t beat yourself up too much for not worrying enough. It´s probably because inside you understand you and your husbands capabilities.

Anonymous said... December 7, 2008 at 2:04 PM  


We haven't actually met although I do read your funny quote every day over at AYSR.

I just wanted to say that those who say "money can't buy you happiness" don't often add the second part of that statement which should be "but not having any money can sure as hell make you unhappy."

I would also say that it will all work out ok, but you already know that and my saying it wouldn't make this in-between time any easier.

I am really enjoying your blog.

A Free Man said... December 7, 2008 at 3:24 PM  

Hey Chris,

The Huffington Post is looking for stories from real people of the current economic meltdown. You should send one in, being on the front lines of all this crap.

gap said... December 7, 2008 at 5:11 PM  

"living longer because I have less stress."

Living longer is overrated.

Anonymous said... December 8, 2008 at 2:10 AM  

hey FF, I hope this all works put for you and your family. I hope your hubbie lands a much better and more enjoyable job with more money. I hope you all live long and stress free. Having no money is pants, but it is better than having no family. Anything an SSG can do in the UK just let me know. It is good to hear this side of you too.

Rassles said... December 8, 2008 at 9:00 AM  

You have FOUR blog posts for me to read.

This is ridiculous.

You there, Chris: You must be the chicken and the egg. If you do not want to be Formerly Fun, then stop heading that way. Seriously, you wax vag for cash. You're funner than most. Everyone's allowed to be bummed and bored. You need something to measure against the fun when it happens anyway.

Gypsy said... December 8, 2008 at 10:52 AM  

Even in the doldrums and worrying, you're still fun to read. Does that make you feel any better?

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