Twenty year old Neri was a glass-half-full kind of person. No matter the problem, I could convince myself that it wasn’t the end of the universe, that things could be so much worse, and that there is always a silver lining to even the hardest of issues. But, now that I am rapidly approaching 30, I have noticed that I have lost that spark and I’m just plain old negative about everything.
Just before I turned 21 I made a huge, life changing decision. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend, and instead of running back home to my parents like everyone (them included) expected me to do, I moved in with an acquaintance I used to work with. I was broke, jobless and totally clueless, but that time in my life was one of the happiest. While my parents — my mother in particular — thought I was insane and it was all going to end in tragedy, you couldn’t keep the smile off my face.
The next time I took a leap of faith was when we decided to move back here in 2013. We had toyed with the idea of coming home, but one day my husband announced that he was done with working for Defence, and a fortnight later our house was all packed up and we were on a plane back to Western Australia. I was positive then, too, but I was also incredibly naive. He got lucky and landed a job, but it was half of what we were on prior. Then I got pregnant so my chances of getting a job were killed off.
Fast forward to last Thursday, when my husband emails me to tell me that he’s accepted a new job at a private firm… for less money than what he is on now. I freaked out. This wasn’t part of the plan! There was a timeline. A timeline that we needed to stick to because money is tight and we need time to build up a nest egg before doing something COMPLETELY FUCKING INSANE like going to a lesser paying job.
But that is now all out the window, and next Thursday is his last day at his okay paying job. After that, the weekly budget shrinks by a significant amount.
20 year old Neri, the one who used to have $10 left for food after bills were paid, would have been able to see the positive side in all this. My husband will now have more free time to work towards his dream and I now have a sort-of job writing. This is a good thing for us! But all I can see is the looming hole in bank balance and I just can’t get past it.
While I have managed to score a sweet freelancing gig that should plug most of the gap, I’m still worried. I have submitted two articles now that have yet to be published. What if they actually hate my writing? What if it all falls through? How on earth am I going to get hired in a virtually non-existent job market? I haven’t worked a conventional job since 2011!
I can feel this worry–this negativity–consuming me. Just tonight I lost my shit at my husband because he was playing Heroes of the Storm instead of working on his business plan. The guy deserves some unwind time, but here I am cracking the whip on him because how dare he put us in a worse position for his ‘dreams’ and then just sit there playing games instead of working?! That is not the kind of person I want to be.
I am looking at everything he has done, and even everything I am doing, and all I can see is the potential for ruin. How it’s not good enough. How it’s all going to fail. How we’re idiots for thinking it can work. The worry is turning into anger and the pay cut hasn’t even happened yet. What the hell am I going to be like this time next month?
At the end of the day, it’s too late to change what has been done. We’re on this path now, so I just have to deal with it. Sure, we could have played it safe, but what’s to say that in six weeks time my husband didn’t end up rage-quitting his job anyhow? At least this way he is going into another job instead of unemployment like we moved back to in 2013. And had he not quit now, I might not have toughened up and emailed the media place either.
I just need to keep my shit together and not lose myself into a sea of ‘what ifs’. If 20 year old me can make the most out of situation that was full of uncertainty, then surely this more experienced version should be able to ace this! I managed to land on my feet the first two times, so this should not be any different.
Fortune favours the bold.