As one of my nieces so elegantly put it over the holidays, "so now that you don't have a job, what do you DO all day?" I was sleep deprived and didn't feel like getting into it, so I told her I ate bon bons, slept late every day and watched DVDs. She said, "must be nice." It was Christmas, so instead of saying, "actually I'd rather have a full-time job and I've been applying all over the place and being on unemployment sucks," I said, "yeah, it is nice."
I can't even call myself a former workaholic, because I've discovered that I am a workaholic whether I have a "real" job or not. After spending almost 5 months of 12-14 hours days (sometimes longer) working on press for a congressional campaign, I'll admit to sleeping a lot in the weeks following Election Day. But that didn't last very long. I decided I needed a reason to get up in the morning, so I got a puppy. I've wanted a dog for a while (no one was more surprised than I, being a lifelong cat person) and it wasn't the only reason I decided to bring Lou into my little family, but there are a lot of benefits. The best one: I go for 4 or 5 long walks a day because she's very active and forces me to (a) get out of the house and (b) get some exercise. And having a puppy is like a job. Between Lou and Miss Kitty, I spend a lot of time feeding and brushing and bathing and taking care of my four-legged little ones.
Once I got my groove back, I started writing again. I have a schedule. I get up in the morning and after I walk the dog, I power on the laptop and start working. I've written a few pieces that haven't gone anywhere yet, one for Charleston Magazine's March issue, and have scheduled four speaking engagements and workshops to promote my book so far. When I run out of writing ideas, I run through my to-do list. I've done a lot of early spring cleaning around the house, caught up on all of the things I dropped the ball on while I was working for the campaign, and even managed to spend time socially with friends and family. I'm definitely not an anomaly. I think I actually have more friends who have been laid off or otherwise dismissed from jobs last year than I do friends who still have full-time jobs.
This is the short answer. I love working from home again, love afternoon naps, love being able to go to a yoga class in the middle of the day, love walks with Lou, and love that I always have clean clothes and a clean house, and I'm healthier than I've been in months. But since I'm on COBRA, I'm paying a ridiculous amount for health insurance, have been dipping into savings to cover bills (no idea how anyone can live off of unemployment), and have applied for jobs that I never thought I'd consider six months ago (like corporate management positions). It took longer than I thought to get my creative mojo back, but the muse is taking baby steps and she's beginning to trust me. And I've made a promise that I'll never ignore her for long periods of time again.